Sometimes, a team may miss a deadline or fail to reach a goal. We’re all human and it’s normal to make these mistakes occasionally. However, if a team is regularly missing deadlines or underperforming, this points to a more significant issue – a lack of team alignment and collaboration.
One study revealed that 26% of leaders said poor cross-team collaboration was the most significant challenge employees faced in project management.
A company’s success depends on each team within its structure. When team members disagree on shared priorities or aren’t in sync, achieving organizational goals becomes difficult.
Read on to learn more about team alignment and collaboration and how to foster them.
What are team alignment and collaboration?
Team alignment means employees or cross-functional teams work towards a common goal. Everyone is on the same page and better understands how they can contribute to the company’s success.
Without communicating clear expectations and aligning team members on the goals, you may face miscommunication or conflict. Team alignment is more critical than ever if your company has remote and hybrid teams.
Team collaboration, on the other hand, happens when teams or individual team members work together on tasks or projects. They direct their efforts toward shared company goals to achieve them quickly.
However, good team collaboration doesn’t mean each member performs the same tasks. They tackle different things using the knowledge or skills other colleagues may not have.
Let’s now explore the benefits of team alignment and collaboration.
Team alignment and collaboration: Benefits
Promoting collaboration and alignment produces positive outcomes for companies and team leaders. Here is what it brings to the table.
Fostering team alignment and collaboration allows you to give clear direction to employees. That means they know what to do to execute their tasks. In this work environment, everyone is meaningfully working towards the same objective, which increases their performance.
Most employees want to know they are making a difference in your company. Better team collaboration and alignment connect an individual’s work to the company’s strategy. When that happens, employees are more likely to become engaged and effective.
According to Gallup, higher employee engagement leads to the following outcomes:
Improved team morale
When team members work together, they can complement each other. They use their skills and strengths to boost the team’s efficiency and effectiveness. Not only does this improve team morale, but it also creates a collaborative company culture.
That culture is crucial for different work models, especially if you have remote teams. People who work from home often need to feel part of a group. If they see they can rely on their colleagues, their employee morale will go up.
Higher employee retention
Aligned teams want to keep working for the same company. They face no communication barriers and are on the same page with everyone. That encourages them to establish positive relationships with your company and promote you as a stellar employer.
It’s clear from the above that good team collaboration and alignment positively impact employee experience. Let’s now see how you can foster them.
How to foster team alignment and collaboration
You ensure your employees work efficiently as a team leader or project manager. You can achieve that if you improve team alignment and collaboration. Here are some tips on how to do that.
Ensure all employees understand their roles and how each contributes to the organizational purpose
The first step is to define roles within teams clearly. Each team member should understand their part in a project’s success. When they do, they can contribute and work with their colleagues.
This is especially useful for cross-functional teams. Every team member has different skills and backgrounds. They will understand how to apply those skills to achieve team goals if you communicate their role.
Clearly define objectives and key results (OKRs)
Both hybrid and remote teams benefit from the OKR framework. How? The framework establishes a clear goal and the metrics that measure success. A team leader can set goals with employees, making them an active part of the process.
Your OKRs can single out objectives like:
- Revenue growth
- Improved customer retention
- Better engagement on social media
Whatever your goals, the OKR framework ensures your aligned team can track their progress and work toward the same outcome.
Create a culture of feedback
Although beneficial for their professional development, getting feedback from your manager only isn’t enough. We suggest you include:
- Peer feedback – when you stress the importance of team collaboration, the entire team should be able to provide feedback to each other. After all, they work together and know each other’s strengths and weaknesses.
- Leadership feedback – your team members can get constructive feedback from higher-ups. The leaders may identify opportunities for improvement or give a fresh perspective.
- Subordinate feedback – as a manager, don’t just provide feedback – be willing to receive one. The upward feedback allows subordinates to share their thoughts about your style and performance.
Have regular check-in meetings
Check-in or one-on-one meetings allow you to connect with an individual team member. Employees should have time and space to tell you about their issues, ask anything, or clarify specific objectives.
You can schedule one-on-one meetings in person or through platforms like Microsoft Teams. Be prepared to explain the organization’s goals or listen to new ideas from team members.
Coach your team
To achieve team alignment and collaboration, you should develop your coaching skills. Every employee needs support. As a coach, you should:
- Encourage employees to achieve team goals
- Improve their strengths and minimize their weaknesses
- Listen to their needs
- Ensure they develop as professionals
Promote transparency and open communication
Team collaboration and alignment depend on transparency and open communication. It’s easy to forget to update your team on important information, especially if most work remotely, but you must set reminders to avoid that.
Team members should know about major news and project updates. You can inform them during your individual or team meetings. The more transparent your company is, the better team alignment and collaboration will be.
Focus on collaboration, not competition
A company culture that features healthy competition can engage and motivate employees. However, you shouldn’t take it too far because it can sabotage team collaboration. The point is to focus on the potential of the entire team.
If you want to beat last month’s number, make it a joint effort. Motivate the team to collaborate to generate better results. That will build stronger team relationships and improve loyalty.
Create a safe working environment
Employees feel secure, comfortable, and at ease in a safe working environment. That’s when they perform their best and work hard to reach their goals. Employee satisfaction should be a top priority if you don’t want to lose them.
To create this environment for your aligned teams, you can:
- Encourage open discussions
- Allow employees to show appreciation for each other
- Hold a workshop that highlights individual personalities and work styles
- Celebrate individual and team wins
Use the right team alignment and collaboration tools
Technology can help you maintain team alignment and collaboration and improve how employees work. Employees can use team alignment and collaboration tools to automate tasks and communicate easily.
For instance, you can boost speed with instant messaging. Platforms like Slack allow team members to chat directly and improve their productivity.
Employees should understand company goals to perform successfully. Team alignment brings them closer and prepares them to work towards a common goal. When you have a group of people working together, it’s easier to accomplish any objective you set.
The same goes for team collaboration. Employees can unite their skills and knowledge to create better solutions and overcome challenges.
Behind every successful company are aligned and collaborative teams. It’s time you foster alignment and collaboration within your organization.
FAQs: Team Alignment & Collaboration
What is alignment in the workplace?
Alignment in the workplace means every employee understands the goals and knows how they can contribute to achieving them.
Why is alignment important at work?
Alignment is important because it encourages collaboration among employees. It also communicates the objectives to everyone and motivates them to pursue them together.
How do you align team goals?
You can align team goals by:
- Using objectives and key results
- Encouraging team collaboration
- Holding regular meetings
- Being transparent
- Defining clear roles