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3 free tools to perk up employee teamwork

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in Leaders & Managers,Management Training

If your organization hasn’t moved beyond “reply all” e-mails as its sole means of online employee interaction, promote any of these three options to spark more interaction and productivity:

1. Launch a wiki to encourage collaboration. Wikis are simple web pages that can be edited by anyone at any time. Wikipedia, an online editable encyclopedia, is the best-known wiki. More organizations are turning to wikis for project management and as affordable intranets.

It’s the right tool for your employees when: (a) they need to organize and post meeting notes, department projects and company calendars; (b) they need a central location to share documents; (c) they need a cheap project-management tool accessible through a web browser.

Contact your IT department about setting up a wiki. Or, consider using free software available online at sites such as www.pbwiki.com, www.mediawiki.org or http://moinmo.in.

2. Standardize IM usage to foster interaction in efficient, legal way. Like e-mail, instant messaging can be a great productivity boost. But in the wrong hands, it can be a colossal waste of time and a risk to your network.

While 35% of employees use IM at work, only 31% of organizations had an IM policy in place as of last year, and 13% retain IM business records, according to the American Management Association.

Advice: Don’t shut down IM traffic, as some employers have done. Establish a policy and training to make sure employees know how and when to use this tool. When in doubt, an IM policy should mirror your e-mail policy.

3. Go electronic with your company newsletter by turning it into a blog. Blogs keep co-workers in touch with company and departmental news. And your employees have become used to reading and interacting with blogs.

Tip: Use a free blog tool such as blogger.com. For your first post, poll employees to see what information they want on the blog: company news, new hires, surveys, guest columns, etc.

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