Whether you operate a single-office startup, lead a company with multiple locations or manage a remote workforce, decision makers everywhere should be focused on identifying ways to create and sustain a more connected and collaborative culture. 

Culture has become almost a cliché these days—a catch-all term that is casually used to refer to almost any aspect of workplace environments and employee engagement. While it might feel overused, the reality is that it’s actually still underappreciated.

Culture isn’t an abstract concept with fringe benefits, it’s a very real and powerful brick in the strong foundation of every thriving business. Culture isn’t just a way to make employees’ experiences more pleasant, it’s equally a defining attribute that can help with efficiently and effectively accomplishing business goals and have a direct impact on the bottom line.

From modern-day tech tools to talent development and mentorship programs, there are a variety of proven methods that successful businesses use to strengthen their internal culture and cultivate boundless collaboration. In the process, these organizations break down barriers between departments, improve internal communication and ensure employees are equipped with the resources they need to drive business goals.

Implement workforce collaboration technology

In a survey from Adobe, 81% of people who responded said the top item on their priority list is access to tools that help them more efficiently connect to colleagues. Advances in technology are making this feasible for companies of all sizes to implement. 

For example, video conferencing tools can close the gap between teams in different geographic regions, helping to create stronger working relationships across the company. These networking and bonding opportunities are valuable, and the ability to meet people from different regions and put faces to names is critical to the growth of organizational culture. Pulling teams together—not just in one building, but across regions, or even the nation—can deliver a dramatic cultural, and consequently, bottom-line ROI.

Enterprise collaboration software platforms, like Slack and Chatter, also enable different departments to work together in new ways. By combining social media-style messaging, project management and CRM functionalities, solutions like these foster unprecedented engagement and productivity across the organization.

Of course, it’s worth noting that in order for today’s modern tech tools to function effectively, a strong and reliable network is a critical prerequisite.

Consider the importance of interior design

It isn’t just your tech architecture and network infrastructure that can make a cultural impact, but the design of your workspaces, too. Workspaces that offer flexible, modular formats instead of rows of cubicles are preferred. Great work spaces leave grim and gray utilitarian blandness in the past in favor of open, airy, lively and engaging environments—with plenty of collaborative spaces that literally and figuratively bring people together.

Follow the leader

Business leaders who are looking to create a more synergetic culture need to recognize the important role they play in making that happen. First, embrace the programs and invest in the innovative tech solutions that facilitate that process. 

And second, make a real effort to be visible. Visit regional and satellite offices as much as possible. While technology can connect us in new ways, actual facetime is still better than FaceTime. Larger companies may want to consider letting leaders remain in their home market instead of bringing all high-ranking executives into a single market. That sends a powerful message both internally and externally. 

Take employee feedback seriously

Seek out (and listen to) employee feedback regarding cultural programming. In particular, pay attention to junior-level employees who tend to be more tech savvy. Some of the best connectivity suggestions come from younger team members, and leaders who are committed to finding the right solutions that work for their organization need to be willing to listen, do the research, and (at times) be a pioneer.

Break silos through effective employee programming

One great way to break down silos and boost employee loyalty and productivity at the same time is to support employee resource groups. Groups for veterans, young professionals or LGBTQ employees, for example, provide a great way for team members to reach out and connect with peers across the company to share experiences and perspectives. The result is a more supportive and connected company culture, with greater social engagement and professional guidance. 

Talent development and mentorship are valuable, but often neglected tools for fostering collaboration and cultural growth. Developing a structured mentorship program helps bring new hires into the fold and quickly builds enduring personal and professional connections. Mentorship programs support the recruiting and talent acquisition process, improve onboarding and lead to less turnover. Mentored employees are also more likely to take advantage of employee resource groups and find it easier to create a personalized professional plan and make progress along a well-defined career path.

By investing in the right technology tools and creating a strong, collaborative and connected culture, your company will have the strength and flexibility to do remarkable things.