Strengthening team morale and engagement with better collaboration

A man video conferencing using an iMac computer.
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The option to work in a hybrid setting has quickly become one of the biggest factors for job seekers. It’s no secret that remote and hybrid work saves workers money and time related to commuting, allowing them to focus on other life commitments.

However, remote work poses a challenge with replicating team bonding and camaraderie with colleagues in the ways being in the office does. This compounds an already existing challenge firms face, poor collaboration and misalignment between teams, which have a severe impact on team morale. In fact, a recent survey by Lucid Software found that 43% of UK workers are seeing talented staff leave their organization due to collaboration issues. In testing market conditions, businesses need to take action now if they want to avoid an exodus of skilled workers.

Transparency, effective collaboration, and team connection are integral components of a thriving and successful organization. However, a recent report from Gallup found that only about 1 in 5 employees were engaged at work. Dispersed teams can only effectively operate with open, constructive dialogue created by a culture that welcomes employees to share challenges. Therefore, there needs to be a shift in thinking behind the tools provided to facilitate effective collaboration and promote a culture of belonging, unity, and increased productivity. Together, these factors can help to build the foundation for a dynamic and cohesive team that propels the organization toward sustained growth.

Bryan Stallings

Bryan Stallings is Chief Evangelist at Lucid Software.

Providing transparency

A recent study found that 26% of respondents said a lack of transparency makes them feel less connected to their colleagues, but with communications channels open, the team can become a more tight-knit and high-performing unit. If employees feel they have a true view of their organization, they’ll feel empowered with a sense of ownership and pride among team members. Workers recognize when their contributions are valued, leading to increased dedication and commitment to the organization's goals.

Showing transparency in business decisions and results serves as a powerful catalyst for strengthening team morale and engagement. Managers can practice transparency in a number of ways, such as by inviting team questions and answering them, and talking to the team openly about the business environment. When leaders show they are sincere and transparent, the team will follow suit. Improved visibility ensures everyone feels like a valued member of the team, which cultivates a culture of trust and inclusivity. This sense of belonging encourages team members to be more open and transparent themselves, enabling them to express their problems and anxieties more freely. The sooner issues are raised, the sooner they can be solved – and team members will consequently feel respected and trusted.

Being transparent also means accepting mistakes or difficult business situations will happen, and having open conversations around those mistakes lead to collective learning and growth. This approach reduces employee anxiety and ultimately fosters a resilient and positive outlook on both setbacks and achievements.

Incorporating effective tools and practices to facilitate better collaboration

Collaboration is key to strengthening team morale and project outcomes, and when it comes to tools - quality, not quantity must be the focus. Following an attitude of adopting any and all collaboration tools during the COVID-19 pandemic, managers are now struggling to rationalize these purchases. This also leads to an overwhelming experience for employees. Lucid found that 45% of workers used five or more productivity applications at work, and 42% found it frustrating to have too many tools at their disposal. Instead of adopting unnecessary solutions, leaders should take a step back and listen to the concerns of their employees. Collaboration anti-patterns and meeting dysfunction lurk beneath the surface because organizations don’t know how to identify what’s wrong.

Some leaders think the quick fix to poor collaboration is to hold more meetings. Truth is, workers will then spend excessive time in the discussion phase of a project without taking any meaningful action. By redefining collaboration beyond meetings and embracing tools that enable working asynchronously, teams can free up valuable focus time and reduce the burden of endless virtual meetings. This shift empowers individuals to engage in high-quality work and problem-solving, allowing them to feel more in control and satisfied with their role. The benefit of this model has been proven to be a winning combination – with Harvard Business Review finding that a 40% reduction in meetings not only made employees more productive but increased job satisfaction by 52%.

High morale promotes a healthy working environment, and adopting visual collaboration is one route to achieving this. Interactive, visual platforms enable teams to easily communicate complex ideas, share context, and plan large-scale initiatives seamlessly. When employees feel they can understand and contribute to projects without friction, they are more likely to be engaged with the work they are doing.

Building team connection

Fostering real, human connection is an essential part of strengthening morale and engagement. 94% of employees are more productive when they feel connected to their colleagues.

Focusing on the value of each individual is a strong place to start when building these bonds. By recognizing the unique strengths and differences of team members and encouraging them to pursue projects they are passionate about, leaders can cultivate a welcoming culture that increases motivation and dedication to individual tasks. For example, some team members may thrive in seemingly risky, experimental projects, while others excel in ongoing initiatives. Embracing these differences ensures that every team member can contribute their best, optimizing overall team performance.

But of course, we can’t neglect the basics when it comes to improving morale, and managers should focus on purposefully incorporating moments of human connection with team members. Ultimately, recognizing humanity and empathizing with each other is what will make for a happier workforce. This could look like a virtual coffee catch-up, or ensuring meetings always start with a brief discussion of non-work-related topics. This helps strengthen team bonds and eliminates feelings of alienation, particularly for remote team members.

Closing thoughts

Collaboration is at the core of every business operation. By focusing on enhancing transparency, human connection, and high-quality communication, leaders can empower their teams to function at their best. Visual collaboration tools are a fundamental part of this process, allowing teams to communicate complex ideas with ease and encourage more creative ways of thinking when working together. Happy teams are productive teams, so putting collaboration first must be a priority for business leaders.

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Bryan Stallings is Chief Evangelist at Lucid. Lucid Software is a visual collaboration suite that helps teams see and build the future. Bryan Stallings is Chief Evangelist, and specializes in leading progressive teams and organizations to success.