Whether it’s because the tech industry attracts more than your average number of introverts or because the nature of the work often requires concentrating on computer screens instead of human beings, many tech companies struggle with getting their employees to open up with one another beyond the bare minimum. This is true whether it’s walking by one another in the hallway or working on the biggest project for the quarter.
While companies can usually find ways to make it work despite the lack of streamlined collaboration among employees, the final product usually leaves much to be desired. Like the difference between a building constructed on-site and a prefab, the difference between a product created through strong teamwork and one fashioned in the aftermath of dysfunction is glaring, even if both achieve the same end goal.
Here are the top ways in which tech companies can encourage more collaboration among their employees to improve the quality of the finished product:
Give them the platform they want: a virtual one
Rather than put an emphasis on team meetings – as important as they are – tech companies ought to be utilizing software to strengthen collaboration among several employees. Using an idea collection platform accessible from anywhere at anytime gives employees a way to work together without physically having to work together. Furthermore, it acts as an information archive to reduce redundant efforts, even over the span of several years.
Mandate group-oriented progress reports from everyone once per week
For the sake of employee sanity and your own, specify how these reports ought to only be about 100-250 words or so; if the employee wishes to include further information, it can be attached as an expansion of a 100-word summary. Weekly updates from everyone, available to everyone, will keep employees on the same page.
Identify any trouble spots
Most work groups with more than four or five people are going to have at least two individuals who, at least occasionally, don’t see eye to eye in big ways. In today’s tech startup environment, this frequently manifests itself not in the form of a dramatic argument with yelling across the office, but rather the two individuals avoiding one another as much as possible. Make it clear to employees that no disagreement at work is big enough to become personal, and that failing to see eye to eye is inevitable. The important thing is to identity such situations as soon as possible before a minor feud slowly forms into a grudge which has few solutions which serve everyone’s best interests.
Purge the problem makers and promote the problem solvers
Many young business leaders in the tech industry shy away from creating a work environment with distinct hierarchies, and instead implement a system wherein rank plays a role that helps to craft teamwork in an organic way. Snags to these team-building efforts can come in the form of what some refer to as unsociable employees, who often obstruct efforts to have one individual give direction to another. Though no doubt talented and good at what they do, these types of employees ultimately get in the way of creating the best product possible. The first step should be diplomatic – attempting to help them adjust to internal processes and practices of interaction. If that doesn’t work, show them the door.
Give them a comfortable work environment
Lastly, one of the simplest things a tech company can do to better encourage teamwork among introverted employees is to provide a comfortable work environment. The right office equipment and layout can do wonders for ensuring employees have an easier time communicating with one another throughout the work week.
One of the most crucial elements of running any business is ensuring the employees are acting in the best interest of the enterprise. While this is easy to observe on an individual level – whether someone is doing their job correctly – many managers fail to appreciate how the way these employees work together can affect the bottom line in the long run. Improving teamwork and collaboration among employees is to improve the quality of the final product.