Teamwork is more than just a nice idea — it has real, measurable results. For example, a Stanford study found that compared to working alone, people who work collaboratively stick to their tasks for 64% longer and are less fatigued, more engaged, and more successful. In fact, the researchers discovered that just the feeling of being part of a team can make people more motivated to tackle any challenges that arise.
For recruiting teams, good collaboration both within the team and with key partners, like hiring managers, is essential to making the best possible hires, quickly. If your team is struggling on this front, making a few simple changes to the way things operate can help everyone work more seamlessly together.
Here are just a few ways you can encourage thoughtful teamwork, strengthen working relationships, and fuel motivation for a happier, more successful recruiting team.
1. Outline team-wide goals and consider gamifying them to boost engagement
Setting individual goals and quotas can be effective for keeping team members accountable for their own performance. But when your team is working toward a common goal, it’s easier for everyone to keep their eyes on the prize — and keep each other accountable.
Team-wide goals might relate to specific metrics you want to hit, like cutting your organization’s time to hire in half or doubling the number of employee referrals you receive. Discuss your targets with your team to make sure everyone understands what’s expected of them and what they’ll need to do to help achieve the goals. Ideally, try to tie internal goals back to your company’s mission and value to emphasize why they’re important and help the team feel more connected to their work.
Applying aspects of gamification to your goals can also have a big impact on your team’s productivity and engagement. This could involve creating a team-wide leaderboard, offering points each time someone completes a specific task (like sourcing a referral) and awarding a small prize at the end.
A great example of this approach in action is the recruiter leaderboard created by DocuSign, the eSignature and digital transaction management platform. To help engage the recruiting team, DocuSign used its data to rank recruiters based on factors like their number of hires and the difficulty of the roles they filled. Every week, the top performers were recognized, motivating the entire team. And if someone was struggling, the company could step in and offer them more support.
Best of all, throughout the 12-month program, engagement scores went up and not a single recruiter left the team.
Fostering a little healthy competition encourages the team to discuss their goals more often, keeping them top of mind — and creates more visibility into the whole team’s efforts.
2. Increase visibility and stay organized with an applicant tracking system (ATS)
Lack of visibility can be one of the biggest barriers to collaboration. When team members can’t see what their coworkers are working on, inefficiencies and embarrassing mistakes can happen — like thinking you’ve found the perfect candidate only to reach out and discover your colleague contacted them a week ago.
With your team’s workflow spread out over several platforms, it’s easy for vital information to slip through the cracks. To avoid this, make sure your tools are properly integrated or use an all-in-one hiring solution like LinkedIn Talent Hub.
Talent Hub allows you to the source, manage, and hire from a single platform. Once you’ve added relevant team members and hiring managers to a project, they’ll be able to share and access notes and feedback about every candidate in the pipeline. This reduces the likelihood of crossed wires, helping everyone work in tandem. Also, Talent Hub integrates with your most common hiring tools, including DocuSign, Zoom, and HireRight – see which other integrations are available here.
3. Prioritize communication and aim to share important updates in real-time
Communication is a cornerstone of strong collaboration, especially if your team is large or spread out. Having regular team meetings is one thing, but keeping constant lines of communication open encourages more collaborative discussion and ensures problems are flagged before they spiral into major issues.
Using online communication and collaboration tools like monday.com or Basecamp can help your team share important updates as they happen and keep everyone in the loop. They also allow team members to discuss strategies, helping everyone improve their skills.
If you use a messaging app to stay in touch, you can maximize these tools to share critical information, get approvals, and keep things moving. The recruiters at Slack use their own platform for this very purpose. Faced with handling tens of thousands of applications, the small team prioritizes communication and organization to keep information flowing smoothly. To do this, they’ve built a five-step process that involves using private Slack channels to approve job posts, assign recruiters and start planning their strategy, co-ordinate interviews and discuss feedback, and make offer decisions.
Whatever tools you use to communicate, it’s also worth taking time to talk face to face as often as possible. If you can’t do this in person, scheduling weekly video calls via platforms like Skype or Google Hangouts helps put faces to names and builds stronger ties between team members.
4. Teach team members to successfully navigate conflict and turn it into a healthy debate
Conflicts crop up in every team from time to time — but if your recruiting team isn’t properly equipped to deal with them, they can utterly derail collaboration.
You can get ahead of conflict and teach your team to deal with it healthily by having an open forum in your team meetings. Letting everyone voice their opinions, explain why they agree or disagree with certain approaches, and discuss alternative options helps creates a safe space where all ideas are valid and open for debate. For example, if most of the team thinks they should extend an offer to a candidate but one person has reservations, fostering an environment where they feel comfortable voicing those concerns can help you make more informed decisions and avoid potential mistakes.
That said, some conflicts might not relate to the work itself or might slip your notice. As a manager, it’s your responsibility to keep an eye out for any conflicts within your team and avoid being an enabler, intentionally or otherwise. If you’re not sure what’s going on, schedule confidential one-on-one sessions or gather anonymous feedback to get a pulse on your team’s happiness. Otherwise, you may end up being blindsided by claims that a team member is causing conflicts — or by a top recruiter leaving.
Holding group training on how to evaluate a situation, de-escalate the conflict, and come to a resolution can prepare the team to handle future issues on their own. LinkedIn Learning has some courses on conflict resolution that can make it easy to train en masse. This downloadable worksheet developed by the U.S. Department of Agriculture is also a handy way to help team members think through conflict strategically and come to a more meaningful resolution.
5. Make transparency and honesty core tenets of your team’s culture
Building transparency and honesty into the foundations of your recruiting team’s culture is another way to improve communication and avoid conflict.
You can help foster a culture of transparency by openly discussing successes and failures with the entire team. Things won’t always go smoothly, and leaving mistakes unspoken will only increase the chances of them happening again. Rather than dwelling on the negative, frame mistakes as opportunities to learn and grow. To that end, encourage team members to start the conversation with the phrase “Can you help me?” instead of launching straight into a description about what’s going wrong, putting their coworkers in the right frame of mind to proactively think about solutions.
As a leader, you play a crucial role in making these values stick. If you show you’re comfortable discussing mistakes you’ve made and reflected on what you’ve done differently, your team will follow your lead. Try doing a daily standup to share what you’re working on, then prompt the team to do the same, evoking a feeling of transparency while boosting camaraderie.
6. Run more effective meetings and establish how crucial decisions will be made
Team meetings can fuel collaboration, or throw a wrench in the works. Meetings where everyone talks over one another are neither productive nor collaborative, so introducing some structure into the mix can help things flow efficiently.
Start by considering who actually needs to be in attendance and what they need to know in advance. Share a clear agenda ahead of time and stick to it. If someone is talking more than they need to and making it tough to keep things moving, consider speaking to them privately about it afterward. Chances are, they may not realize they’re hogging the mic, so emphasizing the importance of giving everyone the chance to talk can help them approach meetings more thoughtfully in the future.
At the start of the meeting, you should also outline exactly what decisions you need to make by the end and how those decisions will be made. This will help your team avoid getting bogged down by indecision — or upset by someone making decisions for them. One option is to tell the team that decisions will be put to a vote, but that the manager will ultimately decide if the vote ends in a tie. So long as you outline this process from the very beginning, the chances of conflict are significantly minimized.
7. Lead by example to help your team prevent burnout and grow their careers
When your team is busy, it’s easy to adopt an “I’ll just handle it” attitude to tasks and problems that come up. But this can hold back collaboration, encouraging members of the team to take the same approach — and increasing your risk of burnout.
Instead, think actively about how you can collaborate to get work done, whether it’s asking who has the bandwidth to help with something or crowdsourcing solutions to a problem. This cannot only ensure that work is distributed equally, but can help your team advance their careers by taking on more responsibilities and meatier tasks. If you treat work like an island, others will follow suit, so look for ways to build bridges and rafts to ensure the whole team prioritizes collaboration.
8. Learn from your data — and from each other
No matter how well your team collaborates, there’s always a little room for improvement. Regularly pulling reports from your ATS and diving into the data can help the team see where they’re excelling and where they could be doing better. This can stimulate group discussions about strategies and help everyone feel like they’re in it together.
You can also look at the data to see how team members are using your recruiting tools. This is one benefit of using LinkedIn Talent Hub. By providing insights into individual contributions, you can gain a better understanding of recruiters’ strengths and weaknesses, making it easier to set the whole team up for success.
Data like this can also open up opportunities for the rest of the team to learn from their coworkers. Encourage high-performing team members to share their tips, tricks, and insights with the team — making learning a more collaborative process that helps everyone perform at their peak.
When recruiting teams work together like a well-oiled machine, the work is easier and more enjoyable for everyone. Engagement goes up, fewer mistakes are made, and team members feel more connected and supported.
True collaboration doesn’t happen on its own, so make sure that everyone is aware of what you’re working toward and willing to put in the effort. Keep practicing it at every opportunity and it’ll soon become second nature.