Team collaboration tools, such as team chat and messaging, have been one of the biggest trends in office technology over the past decade. The goal is to make communication more fluid, keep everyone on the same page, and reduce inefficiencies like long chains of “reply all” emails.

Statistics show that using applications specifically designed to promote teamwork has multiple positive benefits, including: 

  • Organizations that communicate effectively are 4.5 times more likely to retain top talent.
  • Companies promoting good communication are 50% more likely to have lower employee turnover.
  • 33% of workers say the ability to collaborate with their team makes them more loyal.

But a big question that employers thinking of implementing team collaboration tools ask is, “How can I do it effectively and not have it become a non-productive chat tool for office gossip?”

When done the right way, implementing team communication apps can greatly improve workflow and productivity. At Technology Visionaries, our team provides IT consulting for businesses throughout North and Central New Jersey and we show our clients that a well thought out and organized approach can help them reap the most benefits from any type of new office application.

It’s easy to make the mistake of just jumping in with a new cool team tool and having everyone excited about playing with it, but you need a plan if you want to implement team communication productively.

Tips for Implementing Team Collaboration Tools

Taking the time to set up a framework for your team collaboration goes a long way towards implementing it successfully. Here are some expert tips on getting the most out of team communication tools.

Choose Your Tools Wisely

There are multiple team collaboration tools on the market, and they can either be used together or separately to facilitate a workflow. You want to have a fluid framework of communication and reduce the chance of any duplication between apps.

Example:

Slack is a tool that allows channeled communications and easy file sharing back and forth between people both inside and outside your organization. However, it doesn’t have the “drag-and-drop” interface of a project management tool like Asana, which allows you to progress a project card through stages until it’s complete.

Both tools can integrate, so you could get Slack notifications when an Asana project needs attention.

Trello is also a project management tool just like Asana, so you wouldn’t need to have both of those tools, or you’d end up with duplication of efforts and people confused about which project was where.

It’s a good idea to get help from a cloud services IT team that knows these programs well and can look at your workflow and make suggestions as to which you may want to implement.

Train Employees & Put a Communication Plan Together

When it come to employee training, you want to go beyond the mechanics of how to use the tools and train them on how your organization is going to use them. You want to put protocols into place, such as:

“Each new customer project is entered by X person or department”

“New chat channels will only be added by X and requests for one should be sent to them”

“Upload design files to the appropriate client project card in X application”

Taking the time to put a communication plan together and train your employees how to use it will keep your efforts from turning into a wild freeway of messages with no lanes of traffic and cars going in every direction and instead make it an efficient highway where everyone knows which lanes they’re using to get from point A to point B.

Executives/Owners Should Be an Example

If you’ve just completed an entire introduction and training on how employees are expected to use a new team collaboration tool, but you’re “breaking the rules” you just set because “you’re the boss and you can”, it’s going to send a message that you don’t believe collaboration is as important as you just told them it was.

Executives, managers, and business owners will gain more buy-in from employees if they lead by example and use team collaboration tools themselves, showing employees the “best practices” that were just implemented.

Emphasize the Importance of Effective Communication

While 75% of employers feel that communication is “very important,” only about 18% include a communication component in their employee reviews. When you begin adopting a culture of proactive and productive communication and reward those who can do it effectively, it becomes part of your corporate identity and can benefit every facet of your operations (both online and offline).

Institute Controls like “Do Not Disturb”

While the flow of communication can be great for a company’s efficiency, too much of a good thing can cause the opposite effect. Team collaboration tools have “do not disturb” features for a reason.

Train your staff to set their app to settings that won’t interrupt their train of thought with sound or visual alerts for messages while their attention is on a particular task or for a certain time of day. 

Another helpful control setting is to only get certain types of alerts when your @name is mentioned in a communication, which makes it easier to prioritize responses.

Need Help Choosing the Best Team Collaboration Apps?

Our team of experts at Technology Visionaries can help you choose the best team collaboration tools and put a plan into action that will bring you the benefits of teamwork and enhanced communication without inefficiencies.

Schedule a free consultation online today or call us at 732-587-5960.

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