“Collaboration is not just technical. It’s the cultural willingness to share and win as a team using the right technologies and the assumption that everyone can add value.”
— Wayne Kurtzman, IDC Collaboration and Social Media Research Director.
Want to learn more about workplace collaboration? Join us August 29, 2019 for a remarkably insightful webinar on Driving Collaboration to Sustainable Innovation, with guest speaker Wayne Kurtzman from IDC. Click here for more details.
Changing workplace environments to be more supportive of collaboration is not a new idea. However, it is an important idea that every business should consider. The UNC Kenan-Flagler Business School recently released a white paper explaining that there are several benefits of inducing more collaboration in the workplace such as: more engaged employees, better retention of talent, easier attraction of talent, and even better profitability for the company overall. Business schools and publications have also performed extensive research on this topic, and the general consensus regarding workplace collaboration typically boils down to the following 7 benefits: faster innovation, better employee performance, improved flexibility, healthier employees, more efficient remote employees, increased profitability and up-to-date technology.
#1 Faster Innovation
Teams bring together various personalities with diverse expertise, and this collaboration makes solving problems easier and faster. Encouraging the open communication of a project’s progress, potential, and challenges helps create a dialogue that finds solutions faster. Sometimes bringing together different perspectives creates friction, but this friction often sparks new, dynamic ideas. When a team collaborates smoothly, shares information, and communicates well, everyone works as effectively as possible.
#2 Better Employee Performance
It is well known that motivated employees perform better. Workplace collaboration tends to make people feel more connected to each other and therefore more motivated to work together towards a common goal. A Stanford study found that even the perception of working as a team greatly increases individual performance. Participants in the study who were acting collaboratively committed to their task 64% longer than those acting individually. This shows how simply feeling like you are a part of a team makes you more motivated to give your best and overcome challenges.
#3 Improved Flexibility
Increased collaboration also improves the organization’s ability to adapt to change. When customer preferences shift or disruptive technology appears, teamwork helps make these challenges a smoother transition. When different departments of your organization collaborate effectively, everyone stays on the same page as the overall business adapts to new business realities. Furthermore, teamwork and collaboration are the foundation of the well-known agile methodology, which focuses on creating a more flexible and responsive work environment. Find out more about agile in our previous blog What is Agile Methodology?
#4 Healthier Employees
The Harvard Business Review says that the key to improving employee wellness is creating a values-based culture in the workplace, which is a culture driven by collaboration and professionalism. Treating employees like cogs in a machine increases stress levels and decreases employee well-being. While, working as a team helps employees see the connections between the collaborative efforts of various departments and how their efforts are part of a larger goal. Therefore, collaboration makes employees feel more satisfied, happy and fulfilled at work. Furthermore, collaboration fosters a sense of purpose, and this value gives employees a meaningful reason to work together and achieve better results as part of a team.
#5 More Efficient Remote Teams
In today’s super connected world there are many benefits of letting employees work from home or work remotely. But remote work can leave employees feeling disconnected from their coworkers. Supporting a collaborative workplace environment ensures that all employees, wherever they are or whatever their role, receive the same real-time information and continual communication. Furthermore, online collaboration tools make it easier for remote workers to actively participate. Such tools keep everyone routinely updated on the progress of team projects.
#6 Increased Profitability
When you put together everything we have discussed so far, it is easy to see how all of these components come together to increase profitability for your business. Working collaboratively to drive innovation, create more collaborative work processes, adapt to change with flexibility, improve employee well-being, and keeping an open line of communication while working remotely are all important for ensuring your business is operating efficiently and successfully in order to achieve good results and increase profitability. Ongoing collaboration in the workplace leads to all of the above.
#7 Staying Up-To Date with Technology
Although collaboration can clearly be beneficial for any workplace, leaders are often confused about how to drive more collaboration at their organizations and what changes need to be made in order to initiate employees to collaborate more frequently in the current fast-paced business landscape. Therefore, many organizations are realizing that investing in collaboration tools greatly minimizes the hurdles of efficient collaboration.
It is important to structure collaboration in the right way so that it leads to success. Research sponsored by talent management firm Cornerstone OnDemand revealed that even though some companies are trying to build a collaborative work environment, they are using ineffective and out-dated technology that does not support employee collaboration. Efficient and successful workplace collaboration requires more than the acknowledgement that it is beneficial. It is also important to make sure your employees have the right tools to succeed.
To explore management tools that encourage and develop collaboration and innovation within your business, or to find out how to integrate them within your organization, get in touch with one of our innovation advisors here.