„Without collaboration, there is no creation“ we posted recently. But is it just that? We believe you can miss much more if you do not empower collaboration in your company.
Collaboration in the workplace is nothing new. It’s kind of buzzing around all the time. And it’s nothing surprising – the ability of employees to work together in a team is one of the success factors for modern businesses. It’s super important for both parties: the company and the employee. The company can reap various benefits from increased employee’s loyalty to increased profits. But that’s just a tip of the iceberg.
Benefits of Collaboration
According to the white paper Creating a Collaborative Organizational Culture (Kelly, K. & Schaefer A., 2014), organization-wide collaboration provides various benefits, such as:
- Employees become more engaged;
- The organization becomes more flexible and agile;
- Meetings become more productive and energized;
- Retention rates skyrockets;
- The organization becomes more attractive to top talents;
- New products are being developed and released to the market more quickly;
- Top-line revenue and profitability increases.
The question is, how to become one of these companies, with a collaborative culture? In his article, Jacob Morgan compares successful organizational collaboration to a chess game since it has an infinite number of possible moves. So is with collaboration in the company, as all the companies work different, have different strategies and technologies. More over, collaboration must work in different departments, with different budgets and use cases. Not to mention different corporate culture. How to succeed in this infinite game scenario? Just as chess players, managers should seek patterns and identifiable scenarios. We want to provide you with 12 patterns of highly collaborative organizations.
12 Habits of Highly Collaborative Organizations
1. Be not only a leader but also an example. If you want your employees to use collaboration tools and strategies, first you need to demonstrate that you are willing to do the same. This will encourage people at all levels of your organizational structure to be more collaborative.
2. Communicate both individual and corporate benefits. Do not put the spotlight only on the organizational value of collaboration. When talking with your employees try to make everyone feel that they will have personal benefits from it. Everyone should feel calm, inspired and have an answer to the question “What’s in it for me?” in their heads.
3. Strategy comes first, technology second. Highly collaborative organizations do not just take some new collaboration platform to their employees, without first explaining why they need it. After answering the question “why”, you can move to “how” and introduce the technology. Basically, the collaboration platform you decide to use should support your strategy. We highly recommend icy365, since it is a case-based collaboration platform and is perfectly adaptable to many different departments and organizations.
4. Let everything flow its own way. Do not overload your employees with complex policies and guides. Too much of it can even restrain collaborative processes. You must let your people do what they need to do and not to enforce them. Simply learn how to move out of the way.
5. Listen to your employees. Everyone should know that they have a voice during the process. Make them feel like they are part of the decision-making process. Listen to their ideas, opinions, needs, discuss and integrate their feedback.
6. Merge collaboration with the workflow. In highly collaborative organizations, collaboration is never seen as some extra task or requirement. It should feel like a natural part of the usual flow of work. For instance, rather than making people use many usernames, passwords and log-in sites use one “front-door” for everything. Just like in icy365.
7. Be supportive. First of all, reward teamwork, not just individual efforts. If you provide benefits only for individual achievements, your employees won’t feel the need and encouragement to collaborate with others. But that not just that. Also, do not forget to provide additional support such as educational materials and trainings.
8. Measure the important. Try to identify what needs to be measured, because not everything is important. Focus on the metrics that matter to your organization and the ones that are tied back to a business case.
9. Be persistent. Highly collaborative organizations make collaboration a corporate-wide initiative. This may sound terrifying because it takes a lot of time and effort, but it‘s the only way. Without connecting your employees with their information you can not move forward.
10. Be dynamic. Never forget what collaboration is a continual process, thus it is changing all the time. This means that you and your organization should be flexible enough to adapt to the constant change and evolve with it.
11. Collaborative employees = happier customers. Recognize how employees collaboration benefits customers. In highly collaborative organizations workers manage to provide better experience and support to customers by being able to work together with internal experts, and take collaborative organizational knowledge, which can be used to help customers.
12. Last but not least – collaboration makes everything better. Realize that collaboration generally makes the world better. We already talked about it in the beginning, but to mention a few more benefits: collaboration lowers stress, improves mood, makes work easier and allows everyone to feel like the part of the organization. This can go even to a deeper level, as people feeling better at work, means feeling better at home.
(Source: Adapted from Morgan, 2013.)
Also featured in Medium.