86 percent of employees believe that a lack of collaboration in the workplace can lead to workplace failures. Have you experienced the same?
Achieving effective collaboration in an organization is never easy. Maybe the departments in your companies are siloed, maybe there are too many teammates working remotely, or most meetings are unproductive and taking up the time of employees.
While investing in the latest technologies and tools may seem like the most obvious solution, it is important for business leaders to remember that tools can only be effective if you have a powerful collaboration strategy.
What is collaboration in the workplace?
Collaboration in a workplace involves a group of people sharing their ideas and skills in order to achieve a common goal. Working collaboratively, instead of individually, helps improve productivity and gives employees a sense of purpose in the organization. It also becomes easier to brainstorm ideas to solve an existing problem or deliver the required work on time.
Employees with different ideas, perspectives, and expertise can work together to find innovative solutions, which in turn allows organizations to solve problems in a faster and more efficient manner.
Why is collaboration important?
Every member of a team has different skills, expertise, and talent. When all the members collaborate together they are able to utilize the experience, knowledge, and skills of everyone involved to achieve the shared goal. Not to mention, collaboration also fast tracks project deliveries as employees are able to combine their strengths and expertise to get things done. A problem that would have taken a single employee weeks to resolve, might be solved by a team within a few hours as everyone is able to employ their unique skills and viewpoints to get things done faster.
Work together collaboratively also allows employees to share their ideas while understanding how their team members think, work, and operate. This, in turn, allows the employees to learn from their colleagues and build upon their strengths. As a result, collaboration proves to be mutually beneficial for both the organization and its employees.
5 Importance of Collaboration in Organizations
1. It’s the foundation of all work processes
An organization is an entity made up of a group or groups of people focused on delivering ideas, products, resources, services or solutions that deliver value to their end consumers. Collaboration is the glue that binds the various processes in an organization together. It is the foundation of all work processes, and while technology has made it much easier, much of the basics of work collaboration remain unchanged.
2. It’s essential to overall work success
Any organization’s success is dependent on how well its employees collaborate. Collaboration is the most basic building block of teamwork and it is crucial to delivering results on projects that require teams of people working together. There are also many kinds of work collaboration. While small teams may collaborate more successfully with little intervention, larger teams may need an efficient platform for work collaboration that allows them to collaborate contextually.
3. It’s what brings teams together to achieve common goals
Common goals define a team’s role in an organization. While individuals have responsibilities, teams have a structure that streamlines those responsibilities into output that helps them achieve their common goals. The interface that makes this possible is work collaboration. It is the process where individual members of a team communicate and transact work to help build an desirable outcome that meets their definitions of success.
4. It’s how teams focus on individual responsibilities
While collaboration is an important part of getting teams and organizations to achieve their desired outcomes at work, it is also inversely true. As the most important work interface, collaboration’s main goal is to let employees own their responsibilities and perform their work in tandem with their team members. Instead of working in silos and then meeting to evaluate their work, team members collaborate continuously to make sure they’re on the right track.
5. It helps drive growth and innovation
Innovation has always been a core driver of growth at most organizations and collaboration is key to driving it. Collaboration facilitates the exchange of ideas and thoughts among team members who then weigh in on them with collective expertise. Collaboration in this sense acts as a force multiplier for innovative ideas and as checks and balances for ideas that can’t be executed or ones that need more thought put into them.
Benefits of collaboration in the workplace
As collaboration in the workplace improves, the organization’s ability to handle sudden changes also improves with it. Workplace collaboration makes it easier for companies to pivot when new disruptive technologies enter the market or customer preferences change.
Since collaboration is also one of the main principles of agile and scrum methodologies, it allows teams to be more responsive and flexible.
Only 33 percent of the total employees are engaged today, which means if you aren’t working towards fixing this problem, then your organization is at a big risk. Collaboration across the organization can lead to more engaged employees who are always ready to embrace change.
Nearly 67 percent of meetings are failures, and unproductive meetings can cost companies over $37 billion every year.
When an organization has collaboration deeply embedded in its corporate culture, there are fewer meetings conducted as employees are able to successfully finish their tasks by collaborating with their team members online.
That way, meetings are only held for absolutely necessary topics that require proactive engagement, which in turn saves the time of the employees and makes them more productive.
Best practices for effective collaboration in the workplace
While implementing workplace collaboration can be different for every organization, there are some best practices that should be followed for effective collaboration:
Follow a top-down approach
In order to make collaboration effective in an organization, executives and business leaders need to lead by example by actively promoting collaboration as one of the core company values. Management’s involvement can also improve overall employee engagement and efficiency.
Rewards and incentives
Instead of just giving employees rewards for their individual accomplishments, companies should also offer bonuses and incentives for team achievements as well. The idea is to decrease internal competition so that the employees don’t see their colleagues as rivals. Instead, they should see their team members as an asset to combat external company competition.
Clearly defined guidelines
There is a need for a defined line of communication throughout the organization so that the employees know exactly where to find the relevant information and how to successfully accomplish the task that has been assigned to them.
After introducing the required collaboration practices, it is important for businesses to stay flexible in their approach. Department heads can take routine feedback from the employees to identify any bottlenecks or places of improvement. Moreover, you shouldn’t assume that introducing a new technology can solve all of your problems. A collaboration tool can only help your company if you have a strong strategy to back it up.
Different types of collaborative working
Workplace collaboration can be divided into three major categories:
1. Team collaboration
In team collaboration, there is a fixed group of members with clear tasks, goals, interdependencies, and timelines. In order to achieve the goals, the members have to successfully finish their interdependent tasks within the stipulated time limit.
Most team collaboration requires coordination among all the members with clear communication. An example of team collaboration can be a five-member marketing team working together to launch a new marketing campaign in a month. While each member has a separate task to perform, they are all working together to successfully launch the campaign.
2. Community collaboration
In community collaboration, the goal is to learn instead of completing a task. Members join communities to share and build knowledge which they can then implement in their teams for problem-solving purposes. In case of community collaborations, the time periods are often ongoing or open. While most members have an equal footing in the community, the more experienced members may have a higher status.
Tech conferences or meetups are a great example of community collaborations where people from different regions come together to discuss the same technical issues that they have to deal with every day.
3. Network collaboration
Network collaboration usually involves interactions between people who are geographically distributed and mostly working autonomously, but they all collaborate effectively in order to achieve common goals.
Most members don’t know all the other members personally as this type of collaboration is driven by the internet and social media. The timelines and memberships are open and limitless. These networks help in information and knowledge capturing.
A good example of network collaborations can be groups on social media where people ask queries and other members help answer them.
How Kissflow enhances collaboration in the workplace
Kissflow is a workplace collaboration tool that helps team members communicate and collaborate by allowing them to access all the business data and applications through one unified platform.
With Kissflow, you can create projects within teams, assign tasks to different team members, automate processes, streamline workflows, and create custom communication channels.
The biggest advantage of Kissflow is that its a cloud-based tool that can be accessed from any location and any device which makes it easier for remote employees to work closely together. It also makes collaboration seamless for companies that have offices set up in different physical locations.
By streamlining business processes and organizational operations, it is able to improve the overall employee experience.