According to Stanford research, people who work as a team are likely to stick to their task up to 64% longer than those who work in silos.
Despite the known benefits of successful collaboration in the workplace, however, not all companies have a clearly-defined strategy to promote collaboration.
In fact, according to a recent survey conducted among 1400 corporate executives and employees, around 86% blamed their workplace failures on poor collaboration.
Why Does Collaboration Matter?
It may sound counterintuitive but a group of highly intelligent people does not always make a smart team. A study by Carnegie Mellon, MIT, and Union College found that a team's ability to perform well on a given task depends on its collective intelligence. So how do you measure collective intelligence?
A team's collective intelligence depends on how well its members collaborate with each other. In fact, a team that works well together could have a collective intelligence greater than the sum of its individual team members' IQs.
One of the reasons collaboration works is because it drives all members of a team to work towards a common goal. When you have a clearly defined purpose or mission, collaboration becomes easier. In fact, one study found that collaborative teams are 5 times more likely than siloed teams to be high performing.
Successful collaboration in the workplace also helps improve a team's ability to respond to change. Collaboration helps break work silos and encourage team members to support each other for successful change management.
Collaboration also helps foster innovation and problem-solving in the workplace. One great thing about workplace collaboration is it allows the team members to share their knowledge and skills. As a result, a collaborative team can teach each other and find solutions faster.
Top Tips to Develop a Collaborative Work Environment
For successful collaboration in the workplace, you need to establish a culture of teamwork, embed collaboration in your business workflows, and reward team accomplishments. If you are not sure how to develop a collaborative work environment, here are some tips.
1. Start with why The first step to building a collaborative environment is to show how looking at the big picture of what you are trying to achieve can inspire everyone in your team to work towards a common goal. Share your company's true purpose or mission with the team. That way, you give them a compelling reason to show up and work hard every day. The more powerful is your why, the easier it is to bring people together for a common cause.
2. Set clear expectations Just knowing the business vision is not enough. Your employees should also know their individual and collective roles within the organization. When you set clear expectations for your staff, it helps avoid confusion at work. Each team member knows what exactly they are responsible for, and when they need the job done.
3. Set achievable goals for your team Apart from individual goals for each team member, you should also set a collective goal for your team on a monthly or quarterly basis. Make sure the goal is achievable. After every month or quarter, measure outcomes and share them with your team. If anything, this gives your team a sense of progress.
4. Utilize each member's strengths Not all your team members are created equal. Effective collaboration happens when you tap into each member's strengths rather than trying too hard to improve on their weaknesses. According to a survey by Gallup, simply being aware of their own strengths can make your employees 7.8% more productive. Ask each team member to take a personality test and share the results with other members of the team. Utilize that information to assign tasks based on individuals' strengths.
5. Make your employees feel valued When you listen to your team members, they feel that their opinion matters. One way to do this is by running an effective morning huddle at the workplace. During the huddle, don't just set quotas for the day but allow team members to discuss their goals, share their concerns, feedback, or ideas. That way, you can make them feel heard and develop a sense of belonging in them.
6. Foster creativity A study by Google found that successful teams often allow their members to speak up without any fear of rejection. When you encourage creativity and cultivate a sense of psychological safety in your team, it becomes easier for them to collaborate and share ideas.
7. Invest in collaboration tools Leverage the power of collaboration software to streamline task management and team collaboration. You'll find tools that help assign tasks, hold team members accountable, break down complex tasks, and communicate with your remote teams in real-time.
8. Encourage socializing Team building activities have a bad rap, but when done right, they can foster workplace collaboration like nothing else can. And socializing doesn't always have to be outside of work. Even an impromptu morning coffee can go a long way to improve team bonding.
In summary, organizations that aim to build a collaborative work environment should consider implementing the below 8 strategies for best results.
1. Share the company's true purpose or mission with the team 2. Set clear expectations for staff 3. Set achievable goals for the team 4. Utilize each member's strengths 5. Make employees feel valued 6. Foster creativity 7. Invest in collaboration tools 8. Encourage socializing