By guest contributor Emma Grace Brown
Senior living owners and operators today should be well-versed in the concept of collaboration. Some researchers say that working with people of varying backgrounds and different areas of expertise will generate stronger ideas. When put into action, your employees should feel the effects of collaboration and be comfortable with speaking to you about their ideas for the company. If you want to create a more efficient work environment, consider these six ways to improve collaboration efforts, courtesy of Grow Your Occupancy.
1. Nurture Effective Communication
Communication is the foundation of teamwork, both within and across department divisions. Consider training programs to help your team understand the benefits of using positive body language and maintaining eye contact when they speak. These techniques show that the speaker is self-assured and interested in the conversation. Additionally, keeping your arms to your side makes you appear more confident and relaxed, whereas crossing your arms can appear aggressive or distant.
2. Improved Software Tools
Collaborative software tools can boost communication through email, digital voicemail, chat forums, and instant messaging. Remote work relies heavily on software tools that allow video conferencing and document-sharing. If you give employees the ability to call conference meetings or collaborate quickly online with minimal effort, you’ll find they communicate with each other more often.
You should also take advantage of tools that will greatly streamline your interaction with customers. For instance, an online invoice generator simplifies record-keeping while also facilitating faster and more efficient payments from customers. And best of all, it’s free!
3. Encourage Feedback
If you create a work environment that promotes consistent feedback, you’ll notice that operations will improve all around. You also show your team that you have faith in their ideas and respect their opinions. For those team members that are shyer about speaking up, offer a platform for them to share their thoughts anonymously or in private.
Another way to effect positive leadership with your team is to make time to connect one-on-one with each of your team members. In the busy senior living community environment, this may seem impossible at first blush. But the benefits to trust and empowerment within your team are worth it. A team that feels comfortable offering feedback is one that can collaborate effectively.
4. Reward Efforts
Openly reward your team when their collaborative work pays off. If you see a project come to fruition, give them positive feedback in front of the office. Have weekly or monthly company meetings where you discuss successes and recognize the employees that made them happen. Offer incentives for important goals and follow through with your promises in a timely manner.
5. Build a Creative Environment
There are many ways that you can build a creative work environment. Get to know your employees and try to incorporate their interests into the office culture. For example, if your senior living community or headquarters office allows pets – and it doesn’t interfere with staff duties – allow office pet days.
If you allow pets, find fun ways to incorporate them into the workday, such as having a walking meeting outside. Search online for a Walk Score map first. This is a great way to locate and evaluate at a glance the areas near your office that are best suited for walking. You, your team, and their pets will all feel energized and engaged with the occasionally walking meeting.
Avoid micromanaging employees. Allow them to take risks, and you’ll create an environment that fosters innovation. Also, promote opportunities for continuous learning, and when you have employees that are actively learning new ways to benefit the company, ask them to share them with the other employees. This creates an environment where everyone feels comfortable learning from one another and asking each other for help when they need it.
6. Strategize Cross-Team Collaboration
Cross-team collaboration is the creation of an interdepartmental team to work on a single project. You can boost collaboration among departments by:
- Choosing team members that understand each other
- Assigning a leader to delegate
- Aligning project goals and communicating them to the team
- Encouraging members to understand each department’s goals
- Setting a timeline for the project
Another way to foster collaboration is to create a process map using a template. A process map will allow you to define project goals, brainstorm ideas and solutions, and determine the steps involved. This can keep your team organized and improve efficiency.
Obviously, collaboration hinges on good communication. When you encourage people to work together and help them better understand one another, you create a work environment that nurtures productivity. Your goal as a leader should always be to make sure your team members are happy at work.
Ready to take your senior living sales success to a new level by elevating your executive directors to community sales leaders? Grow Your Occupancy provides the sales coaching, accountability coaching, and sales-skill coaching essential to fill that important role. Learn more about Grow Your Occupancy’s sales coaching and training here. Or book your free 30-minute consultation today.