6 Collaboration Skills and Why They’re More Important Than Ever

EPISODE 86 | Ellyce Kelly, professional services consultant for Visix

Collaboration has always been a buzzword in the workplace, but it’s come to the forefront lately with more people working remotely because it’s an essential tool to streamline and motivate processes and people. And it’s not a top-down initiative anymore – employees are begging for better collaboration skills, tool and technologies to help them do their jobs and balance their work/life habits.

In this episode, we talk with Ellyce Kelly about which collaboration skills can make the biggest difference to your teams, practical tips to encourage collaboration and how digital signage can help.

  • Learn what collaboration is and why it matters to people and profits
  • Understand the benefits of good collaboration and the dangers of ignoring it
  • Hear real-world stats about how collaboration is affecting workforce dynamics
  • Get practical tips to bolster good collaboration in your organization
  • Discover how digital signage managers can apply and support collaboration

Subscribe to this podcast: iTunes | Google Play | YouTube | Stitcher | Spotify | RSS

Download these tips in our handy infographic: 7 Tips for More Effective Collaboration


Transcript

Derek DeWitt: The Oxford dictionary defines collaboration as the action of working with someone to produce or create something. Okay, fair enough. Collaboration’s always been a big buzzword for HR and job listings. And with the rise of the hybrid workplace, it’s become a topic that every employee survey is asking about. It’s also become an important consideration when people decide to apply for a job or to stay in a job, and so having good collaboration skills is essential for both the employee and the employer.

To talk about why collaboration matters now more than ever, and get some tips for how to improve our collaboration skills, I’m talking with Ellyce Kelly, professional services consultant for Visix. Hi Ellyce.

Ellyce Kelly: Hi Derek. How’re you doing?

Derek DeWitt: Excellent. Ready to collaborate on an episode about collaboration?

Ellyce Kelly: Derek, you know, I think collaboration skills are probably one of the greatest assets a human can have, so I’m very excited about this, ,yes.

Derek DeWitt: So collaborate with us by listening. And don’t forget that you can also subscribe to this podcast, Digital Signage Done Right. And thank you for listening.

All right. So, we’re gonna start off with what is collaboration in this sort of business context? And what do we mean when we say this term collaborate skills?

Ellyce Kelly: So, collaboration happens any time two or more people are working together, right, towards a common goal. You know, we have different skills that complement those around us and collaborating helps us make the most of that. We’re not all great at the same things.

Derek DeWitt: True. True.

Ellyce Kelly: So good collaboration helps people work together very efficiently and effectively. And how you can see those results is going to be to increase productivity. You’ll have reduced, you know, wasted time on redundant tasks. And it basically, it enhances each person’s impact on a project.

Derek DeWitt: You know, how it is. Sometimes you get together in these teams and, you know, one person kind of takes over and then, you know, somebody else kind of feels like they’re ignored. So good collaboration should be everybody’s got a voice, and everybody feels like they have buy-in to the project, whatever it is.

Ellyce Kelly: Absolutely. And collaboration can happen in pairs. It can happen in teams. It can be in departments, locations and even company-wide. And you also have cross collaborations. So you’re, you’re mixing people from different teams for some projects. And I think that that’s, I think that’s very impactful.

Derek DeWitt: Right. Especially because each team very often, again it depends on the company, but I think in larger companies, each team is kind of led by a manager or sometimes a team of managers and so each team has its own style. So, it’s kind of nice to get that – I’m gonna use a buzz term that I know Debbie hates but –cross-pollinization.

Ellyce Kelly: Oh, that’s a great buzzword.

Derek DeWitt: Synergy is what we used to say back in the eighties.

Ellyce Kelly: Yes, I remember.

Derek DeWitt: I know very often when people talk about collaboration they’re very often talking about, it’s kind of amorphous, like it’s kind of a mix of soft skills. And I think what we’re seeing today is that what in the olden days used to be kind of just the purview of people in the managerial level and up this kind of stuff is starting to filter down to the lower levels.

Ellyce Kelly: Absolutely. And so, you know, back in the day, managers were responsible for, you know, communicating clearly, actively listening, sharing knowledge, of course great at conflict management, and even inclusion and transparency. But, but now you’re seeing that you really need that mix across the board, not just managers, but everyone on your team.

Derek DeWitt: Right. Exactly. The manager might not be good at, for example, remembering to include everybody or being good at conflict management. So, if someone else on the team is good at it, great, they can take that task.

Ellyce Kelly: Not everyone needs to be great at collaborating skills. You know, it can be challenging because each person is very different, and they have different strengths. They have different weaknesses, very much so on communication, styles and preferences. And also, just personal and professional goals.

Derek DeWitt: Yeah, that’s true. And you know, it’s funny, I’m a, I’m an extrovert. I actually get energy from interacting with other people and it’s beginning to dawn on me very slowly that there are a lot more introverts out there than I had originally thought. When people say they’re introverts, I go, mm-hmm, yeah, sure you are. But I think actually there, there are a lot of people who are shy or rather introverted. And so, they may not necessarily, they may have some of these skills or be good at these things, but they’re not gonna be the first person to jump in and go I’ll do it.

Ellyce Kelly: Yes. And as a fellow extrovert, I completely agree with you. And there are a lot of introverted people. Now, I’ve seen actually more of that I’ve noticed, probably in the last 20 years, just being very aware of people and how they, you know, how they like to work. And I think that you really find that collaboration will bring out some personality and some more talkative introverts than you maybe had expected before, or maybe even had experienced before. Where you may have hardly ever said anything, you know, in the past to each other, now you have this sort of comradery or, you know, you have a bond now that, hey, we’ve collaborated on all of these projects. And I think that’s just a really neat thing,

Derek DeWitt: Right. Everybody kinda gets to know each other a little bit better too. You know, it’s like, hey, after we got done with that project, Joe over there, I’ve been working with him for 10 years. I don’t think I’ve ever heard him talk that much.

Ellyce Kelly: I love that. I love when that happens.

Derek DeWitt: Now it seems to me that the way to make collaboration really work though is – ’cause it can’t just be a soup, a free-for-all. Everyone has to have a clear role in the process, right?

Ellyce Kelly: Yes, absolutely. And that has to be practiced at all levels of the organization. So, you know, company culture influences collaboration. It certainly requires a spirit of cooperation and really respect from all parties and at all levels,

Derek DeWitt: Right. Don’t roll your eyes when you hear an idea that you don’t particularly like.

Ellyce Kelly: Oh never. You shouldn’t be doing that as an adult anyway. It is a balance of skills and strategy and processes and of course technology.

Derek DeWitt: So, the benefits of good collaboration, like we said, obviously things are gonna be more for efficient. You’re gonna see higher productivity. The relationships between employees, and between employees and managers as well is, these are gonna strengthen and get healthier, I guess you could say. And I think that contributes to higher engagement and higher motivation on the employees’ side, which ultimately makes people happier, so it contributes to their wellbeing as well.

Ellyce Kelly: Absolutely. So, you know, for the organization as a whole, it fosters a culture of sharing ideas and expertise. So you benefit from all of these different perspectives. You’re leveraging multiple people’s expertise and you’ll solve problems faster and really that results better outcomes.

Derek DeWitt: Yeah. That’s, that’s actually quite interesting. You know, there was a, there have been a couple of studies done in the past about, you know, how do we solve certain problems in the world, right, in the world at large. And one of the number one solutions is that cultures where women are not particularly encouraged to become educated, if those cultures changed that approach and educated women – that’s half the population – problems would get solved better. And it’s not because they’re women, because they think differently or whatever. It’s literally just get more brains on the, on the problem. And when you have more people working on something, there’s a better chance that tasks and people’s specific skill sets are gonna match up.

Ellyce Kelly: Absolutely. You become more aware of everyone’s own strengths and weaknesses, so people’s soft skills are revealed. So you’re not just, you know, assigning projects based on hard skills.

Derek DeWitt: It kinda ripples out, and it starts to affect the way that communication happens at all levels of the organization.

Ellyce Kelly: Well absolutely, because people are getting constant feedback and ideas from team members. So you have this increased knowledge sharing. You teach or learn every time you collaborate. I mean, think about it – every time you’ve collaborated with, with your teammates, you walk away, you’ve learned something, I would think. At least nine times out of 10. But it does, it gives everyone opportunities to grow and, you know, and to develop, which is a motivator.

Derek DeWitt: Yeah, that’s true. You know, a lot of studies, especially with hybrid workforce and remote workforce, big topics these days, there’s a lot of talk of how younger employees really want chances to develop and professional development and increase their skills and get training and stuff. Yet, this is it’s not formalized, and yet this is also, just creating this collaborative culture is also a way to accomplish that. It’s just not, I don’t know if it’s quantifiable or not, but it does help create a feeling of, wow, I’m glad I work here.

Ellyce Kelly: Right. Absolutely.

Derek DeWitt: And I especially think it’s nice because a lot of this is at the employee level instead of, you know, the old-fashioned top-down sort of way. So, it is more inclusive just in its very structure and, and it feels more organic.

Ellyce Kelly: Absolutely. It, well, it sets up an environment and a framework for better communications, thus better results. So, it gives each person a voice in the process. Everybody’s getting an opportunity. So, you know, for, for everything something does, they’re usually relying on at least a couple of other people to handle some part of that process, so everybody needs to have good collaboration skills.

Derek DeWitt: Now. I mean, I speculated that this would be appealing to employees, especially younger ones that say that they want more opportunities for growth from their employers. This is all just us talking here though. Do we know? Like, are there any studies out there about this? Like, do employees actually want this?

Ellyce Kelly: So yes, there is one out of Queens University that 75% rated teamwork and collaboration at work as very important.

Derek DeWitt: Wow. That’s a, that’s a lot of people.

Ellyce Kelly: It is. It’s a lot. So we have an infographic with some more stats that back this up, so it’s got, so I’m gonna give you at least three of these bullet points. There’s several on here, in fact. So 39% of employees believe that people in their own organization don’t collaborate enough.

Derek DeWitt: Don’t collaborate enough. Wow.

Ellyce Kelly: Don’t collaborate enough. That’s a pretty big chunk. I mean, we’re, we’re pushing almost half with the 39%, right? And then 86% site lack of collaboration or ineffective communications for workplace failures. That is a huge percentage. That means some companies are not doing a great job with communicating effectively or having any collaboration skills.

Derek DeWitt: And, and there are real world consequences. Like, wow, what happened with that order? Why was there such a screwup. Oh, you know, this guy didn’t do this, and this woman didn’t do that and…

Ellyce Kelly: Absolutely. And then 33% of employees say that the ability to collaborate makes them feel more loyal.

Derek DeWitt: Well, I think that’s important, especially because, as we’re trying to hang on to employees, it’s another way to sort of keep people happy so that they continue to wanna work for you.

Ellyce Kelly: Absolutely. Well, if you think about it, you could, you could even compare it to a marriage, right. So, if you don’t have good communication skills, probably not gonna last. Same is true with a company and their employees. You want to attract and retain good employees; you’d better have some good communication skills.

Derek DeWitt: Yeah. That’s for sure. Do you think it’s… I think all this stuff’s probably even more important, like I sort of hinted at earlier, with people working remotely.

Ellyce Kelly: Mm-hmm, absolutely. The hybrid workforce has a very big hurdle with lack of in-person socializing and teamwork. So there’s another study – you know I love studies Derek – there’s another study, the Buffer Study. 20% of remote professionals find collaboration and communication the biggest struggle of working at home. The biggest.

Derek DeWitt: Really?

Ellyce Kelly: Yes. So, I find that to be very, very interesting.

Derek DeWitt: Yeah. I would’ve thought it would’ve been, you know, the kids running around or the dog barking or something.

Ellyce Kelly: Yes, me too.

Derek DeWitt: Well, why do you think that is?

Ellyce Kelly: Well, it can be hard, I believe, to get a feeling of mood or energy when you’re virtual, right. It’s just difficult. You can’t rely on reading faces. You can’t see gestures, like you would in person. People sometimes try to be brief in meetings versus in-person conversations, which I think can cause some confusion or even just disengagement.

Derek DeWitt: Ah, that’s probably true, actually. I noticed this with my text messages and my emails. I tend to be rather curt because I’m trying to be, especially if I’m using my phone because my thumbs are apparently huge, and I constantly mistype things and it just annoys me. And I’ve noticed, lately especially, a lot of misunderstandings and miscommunications because apparently, I just didn’t give enough information. That’s not good. I need to, I need to collaborate better.

Ellyce Kelly: I think you’re, you have excellent collaboration skills, Derek. You do. So, it’s especially important to show good communications and collaboration skills when onboarding a new employee, but it is an ongoing practice. It’s a skill, not a task.

Derek DeWitt: Ah, that’s, that’s nicely said. Okay. So, I know we have a list here of the top six collaboration skills we should focus on. I know there are tons and tons of listicles out there, but we’ve kind of distilled it down to six. So, let’s go through those six, shall we?

Ellyce Kelly: Absolutely.

Derek DeWitt: All right. Number one is know your team.

Ellyce Kelly: Yes. So, when you have a new project, you need to look at what each person can contribute in terms of both soft and hard skills, when you’re putting that team together. And then you of course wanna share that information with everyone so they know what each person is going to contribute and what is expected of them. And you wanna make sure that there’s a personal element to build camaraderie. You wanna include opportunities to socialize and sort of a, have a “get to know each other” session. Really important in, in getting the collaboration moving forward.

Derek DeWitt: I even, I even came across something recently that said like, you know, if you’re having an online meeting, just schedule 10 minutes before and 10 minutes after, apart from the actual meeting time itself, for people to just kind of sit around and chit chat, like, like they would in person.

Ellyce Kelly: Yes, absolutely. And that’s especially important when you do have different personalities. That gives those folks an opportunity. You can’t just really sit there and stare at each other, right? So you, you can, you know, usually the extrovert will engage someone who might be an introvert, and then you’ll find that, that just, it just gets easier and easier as time moves forward.

Derek DeWitt: Yeah, that’s true. And you also, I think, can find out how each person likes to communicate. Like some people are like, email, that’s what I want. Other people are like, I hate email. Like me, I never check my email. I’m constantly in trouble about it because I, I forget. I go two, three days without checking my email, ’cause it’s just not on my radar.

Ellyce Kelly: Well, and Derek, we get, how much email do we get? Too much, right? We get a lot of email, and some folks like to write very long emails that no one reads. And so, you know, you might just wanna hold a quick video conference instead. And it’s just, it’s, you know, the same. Some, some folks don’t, don’t like to use email, they prefer to use chat or some other communication. So, you just need to make that known between every, you know, for everybody on the team so that everyone, you know, that’s gonna, somebody doesn’t like email, then don’t email them. Call them, chat with them. Whatever it is they like, you have to, you know, you have to make some changes to the way you might communicate, but it, it’s for the better.

Derek DeWitt: All right. So clearly know, know who’s on the team. And then I think number two is, is very obvious. You’ve gotta set clear goals and objectives. If we don’t know exactly what we’re trying to accomplish, then how can we know if we’re successful or not?

Ellyce Kelly: Absolutely. So, everybody should understand the purpose and the vision behind the project. And your goals should be S.M.A.R.T. This is an acronym so: Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant and Timebound.

Derek DeWitt: Meaning, like, there’s a deadline.

Ellyce Kelly: There is a deadline. I think that they just couldn’t come up with something better for timebound. That’s what they came up with. So, you wanna invite people to estimate, you know, how long their own work will take so that goal setting is collaborative. You want to set milestones to measure the progress against the goals along the way, make sure everybody’s on board with where they are in the process, right. And make sure we’re going to, to get to that timebound, to that deadline. And you wanna make sure that each person knows how their own contribution will be measured.

Derek DeWitt: Ah, I think that’s very important because, especially if it, if it happens periodically throughout the collaborative process and project, you know. Like, this is how I’m successful. My boss will think I’m being successful when I meet these benchmarks or these milestones, or I do these things in this timeframe. All right. Number three is you’ve gotta emphasize clear communications, which is, which is interesting. Because I think everybody thinks that they are clear in their communications, but that’s not always the case.

Ellyce Kelly: No, that is true. And I think that, you know, this is gonna be pretty obvious when I say this, but good communication prevents confusion. It prevents conflict and it prevents resentment.

Derek DeWitt: Ah.

Ellyce Kelly: Ah. So, nobody should be surprised by a deadline that they didn’t know about or something that they were supposed to do differently. So, you wanna create some guidelines up front, and you wanna get team input. So, you don’t wanna just make all these guidelines and say, okay, this is what we’re doing. So, you know, that’s, that’s, I think that’s critical. Is there a meeting schedule? Do we need to publish agendas in advance? You know, I do not like going to a meeting Derek and there is absolutely no agenda. Even if it’s one that’s just been thought out, right. It’s just like, all right, we’re just gonna have a meeting because I think we’re supposed to, it’s terrible.

So, another guideline would be how to report progress and how often. So, and then you also have to determine, you know, which portals should be used for what? So email, chat, project management software, etc. And it’s good to have everything documented, so especially if you add new members to the team, then they have a guideline where they can catch up.

Derek DeWitt: Number four is lead by example. And I assume that that mainly refers to managers and executives and C-suite and all those folks.

Ellyce Kelly: So yes, executives and managers have to act, and they have to communicate collaboratively. They also have to take responsibility for mistakes or errors. And that actually goes for everyone.

Derek DeWitt: Yeah. Own your boo boos.

Ellyce Kelly: Yes. You never want to assign blame. I mean, think about that. That’s a huge demotivator. What you need to do is you need to talk about what didn’t work and then fix it. And you know, being adaptable, this is, this is a word that I love. I love the word adaptable. Because I think that just in life, we all have to do that. So, if something needs to change, then change it. You can always change it again, right?

But inaction can be also a huge demotivator. You know, if you can’t make a change that people have discussed, make sure everyone understands why. It might just not be a fit for that particular piece, you know, of your project. And then if some, if you or someone, anyone needs training in soft skills, like, like collaboration skills or hard skills, then get it for them.

Derek DeWitt: Right. Yeah. We’re humans. We can, even though, you know, we may be older, some of us, we can still learn.

Ellyce Kelly: Everybody can learn. Absolutely.

Derek DeWitt: The whole idea of being adaptable kind of leads into number five, which is learn to compromise.

Ellyce Kelly: Yes. You have to be open-minded. You have to stay open to new ideas, even if you’re repeating a project that you’ve done before, because different perspectives are a bonus. They’re, they’re not a challenge to your authority. You’re going to learn something. Right?

Derek DeWitt: That’s true. But that’s true. I think you do; you get some people who are like, no, this is the way we did it last time, and this is how we’re gonna do this, and are you talking back? And it’s like, no, man, I’m trying to, I wanted to say this last time and I didn’t, so now I’m saying it this time.

Ellyce Kelly: And you’ve got to put feedback channels in place, right? And you have to be a good listener. So don’t just send out a survey. Conduct one-on-one conversations. You’re going to get more feedback and probably more honesty that way. And then you have to check in periodically with everyone. Even if you tell people you’re always open. Oh, my door’s always open, right, so you can bring any suggestions to me. But not everybody’s going to come forward unless they’re prompted. So, another way that you would be compromising, right? You have to be considerate and respectful when you’re responding. Think very carefully on what should or should not be a public response.

Derek DeWitt: Oh, that’s true. If you’re gonna dress somebody down, maybe, you know, do it in private.

Ellyce Kelly: Yes. Yeah. Because everybody has different levels of sense, you know, sensitivity. Some people might even see the slightest negative amplified if you say it in front of others.

Derek DeWitt: Ah, some people are like that. That’s true.

Ellyce Kelly: Yeah, absolutely. And peer recognition is important to people, but public shaming is horrible.

Derek DeWitt: Sure. That makes sense. ‘Cause, you know, we are, I know we, we all feel like individuals, and we are individuals. But, you know, our species really did evolve to work cooperatively. So, for most people, what other people think of them and how they’re perceived affects them greatly.

Ellyce Kelly: Absolutely. It does.

Derek DeWitt: It’s interesting. When you say you need to do this kind of compromising, especially when we’re talking about people higher up the hierarchy if it’s an organization that’s organized like that. Now I think sometimes you get like the boss has a clear plan in their head. Maybe they’ve communicated it effectively, maybe they haven’t. But they don’t really find a way to incorporate other people’s suggestions, right. I mean that’s not collaboration.

Ellyce Kelly: No that’s project management.

Derek DeWitt: Number six ties into something you said earlier that I thought was interesting: using technology. And so really number six is leverage collaboration tools, which I assume you mean technological mainly.

Ellyce Kelly: Yes. And in fact, WebEx had a hybrid work research study that showed employees want better tech at home and at work. Check these number out Derek. So 94% of employees want tools to improve their meeting experience at home. That makes sense with where we are in the world today. Right?

Derek DeWitt: Plus, it would also suggest that 94% of people don’t think that they have those tools.

Ellyce Kelly: Correct. And they might, they might not. And then, you know, 96% said that they needed intelligent workspace tech to improve their work environments.

Derek DeWitt: Wow. So, so that means everybody, let’s just say it’s everybody, everybody wants it.

Ellyce Kelly: It’s everybody at home and in the office that thinks that they need these tools. So I thought that was interesting.

Derek DeWitt: I should think that, you know, given the last couple of years, there must be more recent studies to see how that’s changed.

Ellyce Kelly: Yes. So there’s a Gartner study, a survey that showed 80% of workers are using collaboration tools to work in 2021.

Derek DeWitt: So, you’re talking like, like apps, like, like Slack and, and Microsoft Teams and things like that.

Ellyce Kelly: Yes. And I’ll tell you something else that you really, really need is you’ve gotta get everybody training on these platforms. There are so many of them and it’s, it seems like everyone’s using something different. And that’s true, not just inside of your own organization, but when you’re working outside and working with other organizations. You’re going to benefit from getting everybody trained on all these different platforms

Derek DeWitt: And you know, once people get comfortable with it, they, you can use it for not just specifically for tasks for a particular collaborative project, or to enhance collaboration skills. You can use it for like the social aspects that we were talking about, as well.

Ellyce Kelly: Yes. And so there’s a study by Knoll, and they found that employees increasingly desire social connection and engagement as part of their collaborative experience. And so, collaboration apps can help with that. You know, make sure everyone is using cameras on all meetings. I mean, that makes a huge difference if you think about it.

And, you know, make time for socializing. You actually said this earlier. You know, maybe 10 minutes prior, 10 minutes after. And I think the prior is, is, you know, super easy. But build that in to the meeting time and then make sure everybody has a chance to socialize and interact.

And then build in some fun. Like get to know everybody. And you can use get to know activities. I think those are great, especially if you maybe have everybody complete a little survey, you know, ahead of time. Managers can do this. And then, you know, you can maybe guess who do you think this is by saying a few of those, those little bullet points in what they submitted. And that’s kind of fun too because you don’t always know the answer.

Derek DeWitt: I’m told that you actually have a bonus seventh thing to talk about, which is that you need to celebrate success.

Ellyce Kelly: So, this is my favorite favorite subject in all the world, right? So this is why you get the bonus. So, employee recognition is a huge motivator. So according to, to many surveys, you’ve got 44% of employees, get this, that switch jobs because of not getting adequate recognition for their efforts, 44%.

Derek DeWitt: So that’s, that’s the main reason they quit is like, I’m just not getting recognized, so I’ll go someplace where they appreciate me.

Ellyce Kelly: Where they appreciate me, exactly. And then 52% of employees want more recognition from their immediate manager.

Derek DeWitt: Ah, that’s very interesting. ‘Cause I do think sometimes you, you get these personalities that are like, I don’t, you know, that’s not really my style. And so, it’s left to someone two or three levels up the chain to come in periodically and go good job, good job. And it doesn’t feel as, I don’t know, relevant or personal? It’s like, oh of course the boss is gonna come in and say those things. It’s meaningless to me. He’s not thanking me; he’s just thanking us in general.

Okay. So, all general stuff about collaboration skills, but how can we apply them to digital signage since the name of this podcast is Digital Signage Done Right? So, what are some ways that we can directly apply these to using our digital signage?

Ellyce Kelly: So, you want to make sure you know your team. So, design employee spotlights, and then make it fun. Guess who, so two truths and one lie. So sort of what I was talking about earlier, you know, the guessing, I think that that brings a lot of fun to it.

And then of course you want to set clear goals and objectives. Make sure you show the mission, you know, the goals, the value on screens. So, for the organization and just for specific team projects. And my, one of my other favorite things in the world, show KPIs and progress to goals with data visualizations. It’s so easy to do that, but it’s a great visual. It catches people’s attention and it’s, it’s information that you need to share anyway.

So, you also want to lead by example. So, managers should be feeding messages to the folks that are managing the digital signage. They want to give them the goals, the kudos, the KPIs, the business outcomes that might result from these projects. And so, you also want to democratize your digital signage messaging and you wanna let more people contribute to make it more collaborative.

Derek DeWitt: Oh sure. I mean, there are some clients I know ’cause I’ve spoken to some of them that do just that. They, they have a template, and they just say, okay, anybody can make these messages. We have an approval process. But it takes the burden off the people who are in charge of the digital signage. And it does, I think it makes people feel kind of like, hey, that was my message. I did this.

Ellyce Kelly: It does. And I think, I think that’s great. You also, we said this before, but you want to learn to compromise. So, you want to put in those feedback systems. Put them in place for your audience to grade the quality and the quantity of your digital signage messaging. And you wanna take their suggestions on board and then you want to act quickly. Do not do these feedback systems and you know, get, get feedback from your team and then don’t do anything about anything that they said.

Derek DeWitt: Right. It just vanishes down the black hole. Which of course the next time you ask for feedback…

Ellyce Kelly: Yes. And you’ve wasted their time.

Derek DeWitt: Yeah, exactly. And the next time you ask for feedback, you’re gonna have a lot less engagement, ’cause people are gonna go, why, you just didn’t do anything with it last time. Why should I, why should, even though it’s just a moment of your time, people are gonna go, why should I bother?

Ellyce Kelly: Right. Time is important to everyone. We all need more of it, right? And then of course you wanna leverage your collaboration tools. So, make sure you advertise your collaboration tools and then training resources on screens. You know, and if you can, publish your digital signage message playlist to those apps. So like Microsoft Teams. Or at least put it on your intranet so that people see the same messaging across different platforms.

Derek DeWitt: Yeah. I think that’s a really key thing is all the different places that you’re, you’re sending out your messages, digital signage, intranet, so on and so forth. Having a consistent look and a consistent language helps really unify that communications effort.

Ellyce Kelly: It does. And then of course you want to celebrate success. So show kudos and recognition messages. We’ve already talked about it, the survey. Remember 44% of people are switching jobs because they’re not getting adequate recognition. So definitely make sure you are showing kudos and recognition on those digital signs. Everybody loves a shout-out.

Derek DeWitt: Yeah, I think they do. I mean, I know some people will get kind of, oh, I’m embarrassed that you, you know, made this essentially a public piece of praise. They may say, I wish you had just done that privately, but almost everybody, I think, they appreciate it. They may not act like it, but they do appreciate the public, hey job well done.

Ellyce Kelly: I, I have seen a lot of smiles on faces that maybe I wouldn’t normally have seen smiles on when they’ve been recognized for something great that they did. And I think it’s, it’s critical. It is.

Derek DeWitt: Yeah. And why not? You know, after all.

So collaboration skills have always been important. And certainly, for the last 20 years as the younger generations have entered the workforce, they have been requiring it, like you said.

I think of all the statistics, one of the most surprising is almost half of people who leave a job to find another one are leaving primarily because they don’t feel they’re getting recognition enough or that they are not heard at their workplace. So maybe you could even say collaboration skills are even more important today than ever before.

Ellyce Kelly: I believe that is a true statement.

Derek DeWitt: Well, interesting stuff. Boy, you sure read a lot of surveys.

Ellyce Kelly: I love survey, Derek. They’re fun.

Derek DeWitt: Well, they, they are nice and bite sized. Oh, look at that number. Well, I’d like to thank Ellyce Kelly, professional services consultant for Visix, for talking to me today about collaboration skills. Thanks Elise.

Ellyce Kelly: Thank you, Derek. It is always a pleasure to talk to you.

Derek DeWitt: Indeed. And perhaps we will collaborate on another episode of the podcast in the future.

Ellyce Kelly: That sounds like a great plan.

Derek DeWitt: Oh, and, and I don’t want you to go quitting. So I’m gonna just tell you, great job.

Ellyce Kelly: Aw, thank you. Right back at ya.

Derek DeWitt: And great job to all of you for listening. As a bit of an extra treat, please don’t forget that you can see a transcript of this episode on the Visix website under Resources | Podcasts. And there will be lots and lots of links to the studies that Ellyce referenced as well as other things about collaboration skills, digital signage, and internal organizational communications.