Collaboration Is Key: Choosing the Right App
Collaboration drives workplace performance. According to a study from Stanford University, employees who perceive that they are in a collaborative environment are more productive and motivated, stay on task longer without the need for self-regulation, and perform better on tasks overall. A collaborative environment helps to turn what may seem like mundane tasks into fun tasks.
It’s not only researchers who are reporting the benefits of collaboration. Employees themselves back these findings, with 86% of employees and executives reporting that a lack of collaboration or ineffective communication lead to workplace failures.
These findings give more credence to phenomena that those in the business world have seen first hand: collaboration is the key to an innovative and effective team. Building such a high-performing and collaborative team is a challenging yet essential task.
Luckily, these trends have not gone unnoticed in the tech sector, as shown by the ever-increasing number of team collaboration solutions on the market. Tech companies are busy trying to produce tools that can help businesses increase their teams’ productivity and overall engagement through collaboration. Many of these come with impressive claims related to the benefits they bring to businesses. To the untrained eye, however, it can be difficult to differentiate between the plethora of options.
So what sets team collaboration apps apart from each other, and how can you choose the one that works for your team? To help you with these questions, consider the following factors which will easily differentiate the collaboration apps:
Function or Form?
One of the most fundamental challenges team collaboration apps face is the balance between function and form. Does an app focus on being as visually appealing as possible in order to encourage people to use it more frequently, or does it focus on providing high functionality?
Ideally, a good app will strike a balance, but this isn’t always the case. Before making a choice for your team, weigh the importance of both carefully.
In fact, apart from being quicker on the uptake when it comes to new approaches, your team members could value the form, i.e. the look and feel of the app over the function. While it’s in your interest to make sure that the collaboration tool you choose is the most useful in the end, it’s also important to take into account how likely your team members will actively use it.
49% of Millenials, for example, report that they prefer to use social tools for collaboration at work. This means that if your workforce falls into this generational category, they will likely be open to more social, innovative and aesthetically pleasing tools. Given that Millenials will soon make up the majority of workers, it’s important to not ignore their stated preferences.
Driving Performance is Different for Every Team
Ultimately, a collaboration app should help drive performances by increasing your team’s collaboration. In order for this to happen though, you must ensure that the app is designed to answer the specific needs of your team.
Each collaboration app has certain strengths and weaknesses and can support certain types of teams better than others. Some are geared toward large, multi-layered organizations and focus on streamlining inter-team communication and managing complex projects. Some support smaller teams that value direct peer-to-peer communication and small group chat formats.
When weighing your options, consider the following questions:
- How big is your team and what is the internal structure? This will help to determine what type of communication structure you need in an app.
- How mobile is your team? This will help to understand what value to put on mobile communication features.
- What collaboration challenges does your team face? This will help to pinpoint which specific features to look for in an app.
Once you have the answers to these questions, it’s time to do some research. Don’t forget to reach out directly to the app companies. Remember, it’s their job to sell you on their product.
Collaboration and Engagement
The best team collaboration apps not only provide teams with features that help them get more work done together, but also help to increase engagement. Engagement is a key element to the efficiency and productivity of your team, as well as employee retention, and yet one recent Gallup survey shows that 70% of U.S. workers are not engaged at work.
This high level of disengagement leaves organizations prone to higher turnover and lower productivity. When choosing a team collaboration app, research how the app can increase engagement in your specific circumstances. Each app engages employees in a slightly different way, meaning not every app is a good fit for a given team.
Some employees, particularly younger ones who value social networks in the workplace, value an open team chat solution. These apps typically come with different channels that provide a free-flowing communication environment. Others may find this type of app difficult to navigate, and thus disengaging, and prefer a more straight-forward messenger.
Make sure that your collaboration app choice reflects the preferences of your team. The right choice can help to increase engagement, which when taken together with better collaboration can lead to significant benefits.
The old cliche states that “communication is key,” but in the modern workplace this may better be stated as “collaboration is key.” Ensuring that your team is collaborating efficiently will help guarantee their engagement and drive their productivity. Providing them with the right collaboration app is an important step in this regard.
Choosing the right app for your team means you must first differentiate between the numerous options out there. What are their strengths, and what are their drawbacks? Do they emphasize form or function? How geared are they toward your team’s specific needs? These are just a few of the questions that can help you determine which collaboration app is best for your team.