“Coming together is a beginning; keeping together is progress; working together is success.” – Henry Ford

Collaboration is a vital part of building a business. If the company encourages collaboration your team members will feel a part of something much bigger than themselves. This creates an environment in which people can communicate effectively, innovate to solve problems, and work cohesively.

That said, here are six ways to foster better collaboration in the workplace.

Define clear roles and responsibilities

In order to build an organization that runs efficiently you need to define clear roles and responsibilities for every member. Sure there will always be some crossover but you want to avoid it the best you can.

You need to be able to define both individual and collective roles for everyone and their teams. The bigger the organization the harder this becomes. For example a large sales organization will have multiple teams within the sales umbrella. There will be the sales development representatives prospecting and qualifying leads. The account executives will be responsible for the sale and the account managers will be responsible for maintaining customer relationships. At a high-level these are teams that are among most sales organizations. As the sales executive, it’s your responsibility to make sure each individual is aware of their role as well as the team.

Invest in the right talent

Better collaboration really comes down to the talent. If you want to have a team that works well together and produces amazing results you need to invest in the right people.

So how do you know who to bring on? Well you can reference the point made above one more time. You need to define which roles you need to fill in the company.

Let’s say your a startup building a mobile application focused on augmented reality. You want to launch on the App Store only since you don’t like Androids. Who would you look to hire in this case? Are you going to go out and hire a marketing team and an accountant? Or are you going to look for an iOS engineer and a 3D designer? Yes this is an obvious one but you’d be surprised how many people fail to invest in the right talent at the right time. Remember – define the gaps and fill them with the right talent.

Build healthy relationships

Collaboration and healthy relationships go hand in hand. If your team doesn’t like or respect one another what makes you think they’ll work well together?

A big part of building healthy relationships is improving your teams’ ability to peacefully resolve conflicts. People may get upset, feelings may get hurt, but if you’re able to come out of a stronger team you’ve done your job. It’s important to encourage constructive criticism and create an environment in which your team feels comfortable sharing their thoughts and feelings.

One way you can accomplish this is by leading a feedback session once a month. Allow your team to give feedback on anything and everything on their mind. In this case, always start with yourself. Allow people the chance to share their criticism with you and your work. This will break the ice and create a comfortable environment for people to share their honest thoughts. If you hold these sessions monthly, your team will constantly improve on giving and receiving constructive criticisms.

Encourage innovation

In order for teams to grow they need to be encouraged to brainstorm new ideas and truly question the status quo. Teams need to be taught to believe that all obstacles they face can be overcome through innovative solutions.

This attitude will keep your team motivated even through the toughest times. It’s important to always ask your team members for their thoughts and reward those who come up with creative solutions. The more connected your team feels to their leader the more they’ll innovate and strive to exceed expectations.

Use the right tools

In the age of technology there’s always going to be an “app for that”. When it comes to team collaboration there’s a multitude of solutions you can choose from. Below are a list of solutions that you may find useful when it comes to fostering better collaboration in the workplace:

  • Slack is the heavyweight amongst messaging applications. Slack operates in channels which allows you to track and archive conversations. This way you keep teams and projects in order to get things done.
  • UberConference provides conferencing solutions for businesses of all sizes. If you’re just getting started, you can use their free version to take care of all your conferencing needs.
  • Dropbox is a great platform for storing and sharing files across teams. If you work with a lot of documents, Dropbox Paper is another great tool you can utilize.
  • Basecamp is a simple an affordable project management software that helps your team keep everything in one place.
  • Calendar harnesses the power of machine learning to give you smarter suggestions for when, where, and how your meetings can take place. Calendar offers team solutions that allow you to fully automate your scheduling process.

Encourage your team to socialize outside of the workplace

Most people will tell you not to mix business with pleasure. Well you need to take that saying with a grain of salt. If you want to build a team that works well together, they need to be able to get along in more than just the workplace.

Organize events that encourage people to get together, destress, and talk about non-work related topics. You can take people to a sporting event or even encourage them to join a recreational sports league.

If you want to keep things casual, try to make an effort to take people to lunch. If you want to take it a step further, have people over to your residence for a meal. This will help build a personal connection and encourage others to do the same.

Collaboration is imperative for any businesses survival. If you want to foster better teamwork and collaboration make sure you take note of the six tips listed above. You won’t be disappointed.