Is Collaboration all it’s Cracked Up to Be?

Replacing any employee is costly for a company- very costly. However, choosing to resign from a role and begin the job hunt is no picnic for a job seeker either. As a result, “retention” is a hot topic receiving significant attention in both the media as well as in board rooms. Many of the top reasons cited for employee dissatisfaction and resignation are the result of issues rooted in management– noncompetitive compensation, unsupportive leadership, lack of infrastructure and support to meet expectations, and minimal room for growth or decision making.  However, unhappy employees aren’t always created from the top down. One highly influential piece of the job satisfaction equation is the collaboration with the people who sit beside you- your coworkers.

Ideally, your coworkers’ value collaboration and are on your team- literally and/or metaphorically. In the best situations, they are working alongside you to execute the company’s mission, successfully complete a project, or help your department achieve its goals. In the worst situations, however, they are the reason you wish you worked remotely. Regardless of how much you might like your boss,  if they hire and require you to work with the wrong people, no amount of money will keep you from walking out the door and pounding the pavement in search of a new job.


The All or Nothing Clown

It’s hard to decide what is more irritating- The coworker who responds to nothing or the coworker who responds to everything. In today’s high tech fast paced workplace most of us rely upon email to communicate more than any other medium.  It, therefore, seems reasonable to expect some sort of response, even if brief.  It’s hard not to be annoyed if all you get is radio silence from a colleague. On the flip side, while it is helpful to receive feedback on your team’s progress, you don’t have the time to be interrupted by a constant influx of emails from the team member who feels the need to respond to everything- including things he is not directly involved in.

The ‘Reply All’ Clown

 One email can inform an entire team about a change in deadlines or expectations, as well as keep the team updated as to the project’s progress. Perhaps, though, after reading the message, you need further clarification about an issue; or maybe you’ve come up with a solution to solve an issue. What should you do? Reply to the sender or generate a separate email to share your insight with the team member with the problem. What you should not do is Reply All if your response does not apply to all. Continuing a group message to discuss details that should be discussed offline or to share the latest cat video you discovered is both distracting and irritating.

The Social Network Clown

It’s no secret that business professionals are using social networking. Of course, we are not advocating spending the entire day checking your Facebook page. However, a reasonable amount of social networking is to be expected. Some studies suggest that social apps and networks actually make employees more productive at work even if they are using it for personal reasons. That does not mean we want to hear you doing it. Shut off your notifications! Every tweet, beep, bing, and the chime is pushing your coworker to the edge.

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