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By Mike Broemmel

Human resources and a culture of collaboration

A priority objective of a professional in human resources is to develop a culture of collaboration between employees. The word "team" is bandied about ever more frequently when it comes to the workplace. There are some tactics that a human resources specialist can readily employ in order to further a culture of collaboration in the workplace.

Support a sense of community

The reality is that a sense of community, collaboration and teamwork often germinates on its own account. Employees end up enjoying working with one another and the need to compete is outpaced by a desire to get along and collaborate.

A sense of community and collaboration that generates on its own can fade and dissipate quickly. For this reason, a human resources professional needs to support that naturally occurring sense of community.

A nascent collaborative environment can be furthered through social activities, team building activities and educational availabilities. When planning an event based on one or more of these activities, involving employees in the decision making and planning process also enhances the collaborative environment in the workplace.

Selecting team leaders

Another strategy necessary to enhancing a collaborative environment in the workplace is identifying the best team leaders. All employees have unique skillsets. Not all employees are suitable for a position of team leadership in a collaborative work environment.

Perhaps nothing jeopardizes the creation of a collaborative environment in the workplace more than a team member poorly placed into a position of leadership. In the end, the person selected will become frustrated. The other members of the team are likely to become discontent.

The selection of a team leader can also be a collaborative process. Ultimately, the final decision needs to rest with management. However, this decision can be formulated by including feedback and commentary for all members of the team. A likelihood exists that team members intuitively will have ideas about who can best fill a leadership role. Indeed, managers often find that employees identify an appropriate team leader on their own initiative.

Build on heritage relationships

When a human resources professional sets the objective to develop a more collaborative work environment, he or she does not need to reinvent the wheel. The relationships within the workplaces that foster the collaborative concept already likely exist.

Developing a truly collaborative environment can be accomplished, in part, by building on these pre-existing or heritage relationships. The relationships can be used as examples for building further between members of the workforce.

Follow up matters

A human resources specialist must keep tabs on the growth of a collaborative environment in the workplace. He or she cannot merely attempt to set the ball in motion and then stroll away from the process. Monitoring includes regular sessions with the team as a whole and with team members individually to obtain feedback about the effort to create a truly collaborative work environment.

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