Ah…workplace collaboration… the Holy Grail, The Silver Bullet, The Bullseye to make your company successful and your people blissfully happy to come to work every day and lead productive lives! If only it were so simple… The fact is that there is no magic elixir for workplace collaboration. However, companies are faced with the prospect of choosing between the red pill – the real truth behind what it takes to land a successful collaborative way of working. Or the blue – the blissful ignorance or illusion that can be created by standing behind a new glittery enterprise platform. The latter leading to a success rate as low as 10% (Gartner)1. Like most ingenious things in life, the answers are simple, which is why they are often overlooked. The answers lie with the people in your organisation.
A recurring theme in why workplace collaboration programmes fail is due to the fact the people are simply not consulted. Not consulted in the process to identify “the problem” that is being tackled or the in the launch of the “solution”. When you are not consulted it feels like something is being done to you against your will. People need to feel part of the solution and that they “are on the journey” with you. A big element of collaboration is the social element and that can feel like organised fun if the people aren’t brought along for the ride. It’s like that feeling you get when you go in for the handshake and the other person goes for the hug or when someone in a shop asks you for help and you have to clumsily explain you don’t work there. It’s awkward, it is gangly and nobody wants to be there afterwards.
There are many tools available on the market but Talking you your people, understanding them, the challenges they face and their cultural environment is vital in getting it right. Not only does it help you pitch what you are doing to them in the right way and garner adoption, but it will also help you identify the right kit to do the job. SoftChoice surveyed 250 IT manages and 750 business end-users to find the impact of collaboration rollouts within organisations and found;
Isn’t it funny how these programmes are trying to create collaboration and communication and it’s a big area we often forget in the process? But 96% execs admit that ineffective communication is the reason for workplace failures (eConsultancy)3. As Pink Floyd said, “all we need to do is make sure we keep talking”.
Over and above feeling like they weren’t consulted, employees often feel that they haven’t been given the correct tools. The main reasons why employees say they will use a tool are (SoftChoice)2;
That is the requirements checklist for the technical tools right there. Getting the people involved in the selection process as well is priceless.
Why employees won’t use it (SoftChoice)2;
The last 3 points speak volumes. People are overwhelmed by the sheer volume of tools available (that they may not need or have asked for), that using existing tools and their features is hard enough without adding more into the mix.
Consult the people
Communicate to the people
Educate the people
44% of IT leaders say it was difficult to implement a collaboration tool. A good place to start is by using their customers to guide them by simply asking “what it is that you need?” In the immortal words of Vanilla Ice “STOP! Collaborate and listen”.
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