How The Wrong Tools Hinder Your Team’s Collaboration

Founder of Simply iCard, which developed ExpresDUO. Designs global IT strategies for the Fortune 1000.

Without effective collaboration, the modern world would be wholly different and certainly not better off. Imagine no electric bulb, no assembly lines and no air travel. In fact, in the absence of collaboration, we’d all be relegated to listening to Garfunkel, wearing only Gabbana, and laughing at The One Stooge.

There’s a reason why phrases like “two heads are better than one” or “teamwork makes the dream work” are part of the American lexicon. It’s because working together is a proven recipe for success.

In short, collaboration is king.

Your Keys To The Kingdom

With so many of today’s enterprise companies comprised of international teams and remote workers, efficient collaboration isn’t just a matter of preference—it’s a matter of survival. So it’s no surprise that the market for collaboration tools in 2021 was over $21 billion and is only expected to increase.

Solutions like Microsoft’s Viva Connections, ExpresDUO, SharePoint and Teams help companies create a dynamic digital workspace where business-critical news and resources are readily available to employees, while tools like Teams help employees stay connected with each other in real time.

Collaboration tools allow your employees to exchange information and focus on a shared task, regardless of location. The benefits of using collaborative tools are too many to name but include:

  • Increased employee engagement.
  • Increased productivity.
  • Encourages information sharing and removes knowledge silos.
  • Projects and tasks can be assigned and tracked.
  • Real-time communication.
  • Cloud-based tools can be accessed from anywhere.

When it comes to the many tools available, though, there’s one question not being asked: Are they helping or hurting collaboration?

The answer: both.

Don’t Give A Chainsaw To A Surgeon

Employees collaborate and perform their jobs more efficiently when they’re given the right tools and trained to use them properly.

Unfortunately, too many of the right tools can just as easily sabotage efficiency. When employees are forced to juggle multiple apps and intranet sites to communicate (especially if each tool has its own learning curve), the collaboration will suffer, which likely leads to employees feeling isolated and less engaged, which then leads to low productivity. No matter how small or large your company is, those lost hours translate into missed deadlines, fewer engaged employees and, ultimately, lost revenue.

Think of it this way: Outside of work, your employees are consumers used to having customized, easily accessible content at their fingertips at all times. So, why should the approach toward workplace technology be any different?

Organizations that create a unified employee engagement platform where collaboration and engagement build off one another in an endless cycle are laying the groundwork for success. The trick is simply knowing where to start.

Must-Haves You Must Have

With literally millions of apps and solutions on the market to choose from, it can be difficult for any organization to build a custom, employee-centric platform without it looking like the entire project was outsourced to the Rube Goldberg Institute.

The good news is that it doesn’t have to be difficult. In fact, the following guidelines will help your organization ask the right questions and prioritize your must-haves:

• Ease of use: Do your employees react to new solutions with eye rolls rather than open arms? That’s because, at least from their perspective, every new app or tool introduced is just one more thing to learn how to use. So, finding solutions that lower the bar of difficulty and are designed specifically to be user-friendly is key. The more intuitive the solution, the more value it immediately adds to existing workflows.

• Easy integration: Remember, your employees live in a world where most products work right out of the box, so a seamless integration into your current environment means easier adoption and greater use. Avoid solutions that require employees to do any extra work (e.g., download apps, migrate data, etc.) in order to use it. An easily integrated solution saves employees time, promotes idea sharing and likely adds to a friendlier workplace culture.

• Customization: One overlooked, but no less important, aspect of employee engagement is workplace customization. There’s a reason why many consumers have brand loyalty. Something familiar is always safe, it’s reliable. Reinforcing your company’s brand across every aspect of the digital workplace experience—including SharePoint sites, emails and chats—helps to establish and reinforce that same sense of recognition and loyalty in your employees.

Collaboration Remains King

According to a recent Zippia survey, 75% of employees rate workplace collaboration as being “very important.”

Collaboration has always been and always will remain king, but unified employee engagement platforms are imperative for your business to survive and thrive in today’s market.

Whether you’re building a custom platform or using a no-code solution like what our company offers to combine existing M365 tools, the effort will be worth it in the long term and the short. Engaged employees will always be more efficient, more creative and feel more empowered. They want the work that they do to play a part in your company’s success.

So, build that unified platform and encourage collaboration. Do whatever is necessary to allow the Simons, the Dolces, and the Nyuck-Nyucks of your organization to collaborate with their teammates and find genuine success.

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