Tips & Insights — 3 August 2018

Why and how to improve collaboration in your business

Why has collaboration become front and centre for businesses? Partly because of new technologies making it easier to do so, partly because of the gig-economy and the rise of freelancers, but mostly because of the huge benefits it brings when done right. It helps improve the flexibility of the business by granting freedoms to your teams to work how they want to – something that we recently discovered is highly sought-after. And that is just the tip of the collaboration iceberg.

This blog dives into some of the core benefits of collaboration and will give you some practical applications to help you foster it within your teams and your business.

Collaboration and flexibility

Collaboration increases flexibility and makes it easier for teams to adapt. They start embracing change rather than fearing it and learn to turn a potentially challenging situation into an opportunity. In fact, this type of teamwork and collaboration are the very foundations of agile work methodologies, which allow teams to be more flexible and thus, responsive.

Collaboration and engaged employees

Widespread collaboration leads to fully engaged teams, ready to take on new assignments and who embrace change as a chance to develop. Teamwork helps build team spirit, and camaraderie, giving rise to a unified sense of purpose that drives people forward. And, according to Harvard Business Review, adopting a culture driven by collaboration and professionalism helps improve everyone’s wellness too.

Collaboration and the reduction in needless meetings

When people are able to work together more effectively, sharing information more readily, the volume of meetings will reduce. There will be less need for people to all come together, helping them stay focused on meaningful work. According to a study from Atlassian, employees have 62 meetings a month, which they feel half of which are a waste of time, amounting to as much as 31 hours spent unproductive every month.

The great flipside of this is that it means the meetings you do have will be much more effective and productive, where people are able to talk about the bigger challenges they are facing and work through them to resolution.

Collaboration and attracting top talent

Millennials and Generation-Z are digitally native, and expect the places where they work to have the same tools and technology that they already use every day. It means that to attract the best young talent, you must have the right systems and applications in place that allow them to work how they want to.

In a recent interview with a Global Technology Executive Leader from the construction industry discussing how to attract tech-savvy talent, this necessity for digital and collaborative tools was brought home. Technology has become a core differentiator in the industry and businesses that are still stuck in the old, non-digital and collaborative world are being left behind.

Collaboration and new ideas

When you bring people together with different backgrounds, different skills and different opinions, you are colliding ideas together and creating new ones. The friction caused by conflicting personalities and differing ideas forces people to work together in new ways and find new solutions to existing problems. This type of innovative thinking can help you find new products and even improve your time to market.

Collaboration and individual performance

A study by McKinsey & Company has demonstrated that collaborative processes and network tools can improve the efficiency of teams and individuals by as much as 30%. When people come together and can communicate more effectively, it makes everyone more efficient, ensuring individuals meet their objectives faster and with better quality outputs.

So, with this many benefits to be realised from effective collaboration and teamwork, what’s the best way to foster the right environment within your teams? Here are a few great ways to get your team collaborating:

1. Communicate the vision and get buy-in

Making sure that everyone knows the purpose and the direction the team is going in and that the role each individual plays in that journey is essential in achieving the right outcome. Ensure the objectives are clear and provide small milestones along the journey to keep your team pulling in the same direction.

2. Allow people to play to their strengths

Build teams that have the right blend of motivators, inspirational thinkers and hard-grinders. Create teams that allow these people to play to their strengths. You also need to identify strong project leaders that are capable of rousing the group and providing the right types of feedback to keep everyone on the same page.

3. Provide the right tools and processes

If you are asking your teams to work together on platforms that simply don’t allow for easy collaboration then you must rectify the situation immediately. Once you have the right tools in place, think about how best to get everyone communicating regularly and pushing projects forward. It may mean that you hold daily stand-up meetings or that you implement ‘collaboration hours’ each day. Whatever it is, find the right blend of tools and processes that encourage collaboration.

4. Empower your teams

Give your team freedom to take initiative and implement new ideas. Don’t micromanage because it can kill the creativity of your teams and prevent the collaboration you are looking to encourage. Recognise the efforts of your team and praise a job well done, but also allow them to try and fail. Learning through failure is an important part of any individual or team development.

To read more about improving collaboration in your business, head here.


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