How Can You Inspire Teams to Make Progress on Meaningful Work? The Answer Is Simple.

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Disengaged employees are one of the most challenging roadblocks to workplace collaboration, which results in billions wasted annually and increased employee attrition rates. How smoothly your business operates depends on the engagement and efficiency at which employees work together. This precedent for collaboration is led at the organization level and trickles down to the team and individual levels, eventually showing face in the customer experience.

The Progress Principle by Teresa Amabile and Steve Kramer asserts that the most vital ingredient for engagement and job satisfaction is the act of achieving progress on meaningful work. It sounds simple, yet increasingly employees are barraged with new apps, new information, and new modes of communication at every turn, both within and outside of the work day. Inspiring your teams to make meaningful progress can be quite the challenge. As it turns out, the average employee is interrupted every 11 minutes, requiring about 25 minutes each time to return to the original task at hand. And according to Basex, office worker interruptions end up costing U.S. businesses $588 billion annually. It is likely that interruptions are costing your business real money, not just the Monopoly kind.

Along with these new applications come organizational considerations – costs for disparate cloud services, inability to control an infrastructure that includes a wide array of unsanctioned collaboration apps unknown to IT departments (a phenomenon known as Shadow IT), and potential security vulnerabilities, all putting your data and your intellectual property on the line. Could it be that adding a multitude of applications to the workplace is actually hindering collaboration, rather than facilitating it, as it was intended? You see it often: employees haphazardly sharing sensitive company data to free presentation software, or uploading company files to an unsanctioned file-sharing program they downloaded. Or, maybe there are too many applications and employees don’t know which one is the “official” app blessed by IT, so they send an item to a colleague on an app seldom used, and it’s never read by its intended recipient.

Collaboration shouldn’t be a maze of different applications, all with separate sign-ons and 1000 passwords to remember. It should be a fully integrated experience in one simple, unified place. For the most part, anyway. There will always be the exception – a shiny new cloud application that helps fulfill a specific and niche function that can be adopted and regulated by the IT department for easy-peasy [insert task here] management. But the majority of collaboration should take place on a platform that everyone knows, trusts, and uses, and that has security features made specifically for business environments. It should be flexible for organizations that may be geographically dispersed across the globe, or may be co-located. And this solution should be extensible so you can plug in what your organization needs as it innovates, grows, and evolves. Establishing trust and transparency in your organization and providing employees a suite of unified tools in one place is vital. This collaborative utopia can enable employees to perform all the tasks central to their jobs – saving time searching for and switching between separate solutions. This is where workers can network, delegate, and practice time management and project management. They can post to communities and forums, share blogs, create activities, and check off to-do items as they complete meaningful work. They can create content, store it, and share it easily in the cloud. They can send emails with personal assistance capabilities, chat, and participate in online audio/video meetings as if they were face-to-face. They need a solution with all the capability that teams need to communicate, collaborate, and get work done. And it needs to grow and evolve with the unique dynamics of your organization.

A unified solution drives a number of benefits including financial and productivity efficiencies, and even increased employee retention. I’ve touched on the benefits of unified collaboration tools and secure solutions that were built for business environments. Advanced analytics can also boost productivity with lightning-fast, accurate search. Cognitive intelligence can provide instant access to expertise and personal assistance. These systems can learn from your behaviors and adapt to your needs, creating new efficiencies that traditional computing systems previously couldn’t. Additionally, stability on a reliable cloud platform and customization to partner solutions is key for future growth, so that all of the key benefits can be cross-leveraged and maximized for your business and its individual needs.

Still looking for the answer? Well, luckily for IT leaders beholden to applications of the past, I’ve co-authored a whitepaper which delves deeper into IBM’s collaboration solution, IBM Connections. It details how Connections can bring focused collaboration to both teams and organizations. The paper explores team dynamics, Connections’ capabilities with a use case, financial and productivity benefits for organizations, and Connections’ flexible, affordable bundle offerings, with customer quotes and stories sprinkled throughout.

See a birds-eye view of IBM Connections core capabilities below:


Learn how to empower your organization to collaborate more effectively with the people and content that matter most in the whitepaper, IBM Connections brings focused collaboration to teams of any size.


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