3 Ways for Small Business Owners To Improve Company-Wide Collaboration

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If you own a small business, you’re keenly aware of every employee’s role in your enterprise. What may be missing, though, are the significant gains that come from group efforts. Consider these ideas from Knowledge Vault for transforming your company culture into one where everyone works separately (or even remotely) to one that shifts from solo work to collaborative work with ease.

1. Foster a Pro-Communication Culture

It should go without saying that if you want your employees to feel comfortable sharing ideas and offering constructive critiques, you should foster an environment of open communication, non-judgmental discourse, and respect. Positivity begins with the business owners and leaders, but it’s also reinforced by your meetings, training, company policies, and feedback you give to your employees.

If your employees work in the office, do your best to create a comfortable physical environment. If your employees are remote-only or hybrid teams, ensure that they have what they need to thrive including proper office equipment and a way to communicate with everyone. This could include Slack or another popular workplace messenger app to ensure that no one gets left out of a discussion.

It’s also important that you and your team are open to hear difficult feedback from coworkers, including points like, they don’t feel heard, are not comfortable with one another, or simply don’t trust each other. You cannot address problems if you don’t know they exist, so this kind of open communication is vital, even if it is painful. Ask one another how you can gain each other’s trust, and own up to your mistakes. Never make excuses.

2. Consider Your Collaborative Platforms

The fact that life has increasingly moved online in the past decade has increased the need for high-quality virtual platforms and messaging systems. Consider the size of your entire company as well as the usual number of people in your collaborative teams to determine which platforms will suit your business.

Here are a few options that are especially suited to remote or hybrid work:

  • Zoom: you likely know and love (or hate!) this virtual meeting platform. Video calls are necessary in the age of remote work, and they can often save an employee who has to stay home with a sick child or care for an aging relative.
  • Slack: this app is essential for day-to-day communication with your office staff as well as for collaborative efforts in smaller teams. 
  • Trello: make project management easier by using a visual board to envision everyone’s duties and due dates. Everyone is able to see their personal to-do list and understand where the project is in terms of completion.
  • Workfront: collaborate in real time with this project management software that also comes with some handy automation features.

3. Keep Your Project Teams Small

LinkedIn reports that creating teams of over 15 individuals (although 10 is better) can decrease employees’ motivation to collaborate and work as a group. Too-large groups result in a few hardworking employees assigning duties to the rest of the group and picking up slack. It may also cause a phenomenon where some employees render themselves invisible by not communicating or offering any input — and letting others do the heavy lifting for them.

Make it a point to split large teams into small groups. In groups of three to eight, your employees have more incentive to speak up and work with their teammates. The Art of Teamwork recommends assigning five or six employees to a collaborative team. Employees may feel more comfortable collaborating and expressing their thoughts when working in smaller groups as well.

Finally, take the time to cultivate healthy communication practices. Company culture isn’t invented overnight. It takes time to build, and it takes into account your employees’ personalities, your leadership style, and your vision for the future. If you feel that your business isn’t as collaborative as you had wished it would be, use the tips listed here to adjust to a culture that works for everyone.

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Edited by Temitope Adelekan


5 Key points to remember when planning SharePoint Migration

A new era has begun in collaborative working with the arrival of Microsoft SharePoint. This feature-rich platform is available as on-premises deployment and via cloud services. MS SharePoint has many cutting-edge features for collaboration, document sharing, and content management which can help organizations change their traditional ways of sharing files and exchanging public folders into a more robust platform.

With the intervention of MS SharePoint, one can create intranet portals for information sharing, enterprise search, and content management in the organization. In addition, one can create custom views and combine MS SharePoint with MS Office for more effective content management and document sharing abilities. SharePoint can be used to provide extranet portals and public websites. It also improves coordination between employees and reduces collaboration costs considerably. Below are the key points to remember when considering sharepoint migration.

Five key points to remember when planning SharePoint Migration

While moving data from file servers to SharePoint, the organizations have many things to keep in mind such as:

  1. Know the SharePoint platform very well

It may not be a wise decision if the organization decides to migrate to SharePoint just because all other organizations are doing so. Before migration, advantages and limitations of SharePoint should be studied very well. Check first if this new platform is going to benefit the organization. To know more about SharePoint, one can gather information from Microsoft sites, expert articles, case studies e.t.c. It would be a great idea to consult or work with a SharePoint experts for a positive outcome when planning for your next migration.

  1. Define and establish the goals of migration

Decide on what the organization intents to achieve by moving to SharePoint. The infrastructure costs, return on investment, and future maintenance costs are some of the important factors that need to be considered before the migration. Decide on what suits best for the functioning of the organization—on-premises deployment or cloud service. It’s not necessary to move all the data to SharePoint. Ideally data that is required for collaboration only need to be migrated. Analyze the data and decide on how much of it needs to be moved to the SharePoint, and plan the SharePoint infrastructure/subscription accordingly. Unused and unwanted data can be archived or deleted before migration (according to the policy of the organization). Then, find out a strategy for the migration. Plan what to migrate, when to migrate, and how to migrate. Usually for large scale migrations, professional tools are employed. So learn about some tools and find the best one for your organization. SharePoint migration solutions like LepideMigrator for documents are available for free trial.

  1. Decide on the strategy of migration

Organizations migrating to SharePoint adopt various strategies. The first approach is to move the data in small chunks. The most required data will be moved first. Also, employees who are more open to changes will be allowed to use SharePoint in the beginning. Gradually all the data will be moved (in accordance with the requirement), and SharePoint will be exposed to all employees. In a second approach, SharePoint will be implemented, but the organization will be waiting for the employees to familiarize themselves with SharePoint. In this case, the organization will be shifting to SharePoint very slowly. Another method is to perform a quick data migration to SharePoint retaining the file servers and public folders in read-only mode. After editing the data users will have to save it in the SharePoint. So users will be compelled to move to SharePoint.

  1. Anticipate obstacles and issues during the migration and after the migration

SharePoint is totally a different platform with its own architecture, permission structure, some limits and boundaries. It does not support all file names and file types. There are limitations to file sizes too. Many illegal characters and end strings are not allowed in file names and URLs. Some file types (file extensions) are blocked by SharePoint. Naturally, data migration cannot be smooth unless you change all these. During the migration server down time or connectivity issues should also be anticipated. Performing the migration with limited resources and doing it without obstructing the office working hours are also challenges. Many professional migration solutions helps you conduct pre-migration analysis so as to foresee the SharePoint compatibility issues. Tools like LepideMigrator for Documents help you deal with low resources and working hour related issues. And at last, employees adaptation to SharePoint environment is also an issue for organizations migrating to SharePoint.

  1. Understand the importance of SharePoint administration and end user training

SharePoint requires good collaboration habits and disciplined approach from users. So it is suggested to follow a well-planned methodology for everything that is performed in SharePoint. This will make SharePoint more clean and organized. Many administrators underestimate the potential of SharePoint. An organization is moving to SharePoint not just to replace file shares or public folders, but to take full advantage of its advanced collaboration and content management facilities. So, it is important to give users training so that they will be able to use the platform to its full potential. Absence of SharePoint awareness will lead to total mess in the SharePoint environment over time.

Conclusively, MS SharePoint is such an attractive collaboration platform that many organizations rush to adopt. When one stops using the old platform and embraces a new one, many unexpected challenges may arise. In other to reduce unforeseen situations, careful planning and use of migration solutions like LepideMigrator for documents can help organizations fix most of such issues.

This article was written by Ajit Singh and edited by Temitope Adelekan

Ajit Singh is a Manager – Marketing Operations with Lepide Software Pvt. Ltd. He is a positive person in every aspect of life and he believes, sharing ones expertise not only helps others in their professional endeavors but it makes the world a better place.

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