Is your organization reaping the benefits of effective collaboration?
Collaboration in an organization can result in a 10% increase in productivity. This can mean a 10X increase in your revenues.
The benefits of collaboration are well-known, so you’d think organizations are doing the most to get their people collaborating. Well, the hard truth is a good number of organizations are trying, largely forced by the COVID-19 pandemic, but they aren’t doing it the right way. And if employees aren’t collaborating effectively, there’s only so much gain you can achieve.
Effective collaboration doesn’t just happen. Organizational leaders have to put in place strategies that will help collaboration thrive.
In this article, we’re sharing expert insight into what you can do to build a culture of collaboration in the workplace.
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1. Establish the State of Collaboration in Your Organization
What’s the current state of collaboration in your organization?
Many organizational leaders are unable to answer this question definitively since they don’t know how to accurately measure collaboration. Most would simply say “good” or “bad.”
Yet, to build a collaborative workplace you must have a clear picture of where your workplace is in terms of collaboration. First, start by knowing the various metrics by which collaboration can be measured. They include:
- Financial performance KPIs
- Internal process performance KPIs
- Customer satisfaction KPIs
- Employee satisfaction KPIs
If measuring collaboration in the workplace is starting to sound like rocked scient, it’s because it indeed is to the average workplace manager. As such, you might need to hire a third-party workplace evaluator to assess collaboration in the workplace.
Once you know how collaborative (or non-collaborative) your workplace is, you’ll have a good idea of where to start making changes. This is to say, if your workplace is already seeing high levels of collaboration, you shouldn’t institute so many tweaks. But if the organization is doing poorly, a raft of changes will be needed.
2. Ensure Your Mission Statement Inspires a Spirit of Collaboration
Your mission statement might not be the first place you look when you’re developing collaboration strategies, but you should.
While it’s understandable that your mission statement might focus on the big picture (what your business is really about), don’t ignore its power to help build a collaborative workforce. A mission statement that’s inclusive in its wording, for example, can help make every employee feel like they’re all pursuing a collection goal – not just a company goal.
Consider the following sentences in a mission statement:
“Working together to end animal cruelty”
“This organization seeks to end animal cruelty”
Which of these inspires a spirit of collaboration? The first, no doubt. The use of the word “together” means a great deal and can be enough to get everybody sold on your mission.
The second sentence, on the other hand, does well to articulate what the organization wants to achieve, but it sounds like it wants to do so on its own. It doesn’t acknowledge the efforts of the employees that work behind the scenes to help it pursue that mission.
You don’t have to overhaul your mission if you think it doesn’t do much to help foster a culture of collaboration. A few tweaks to the wording here and there can be all it needs.
3. Lead By Example
If you want your employees to collaborate more, how about you show them how it’s done?
It’s not just kids who’re good at learning from their parent’s actions. Even employees in the workplace want to learn from the actions of their leaders.
So, walk the talk. Find opportunities to collaborate with juniors in the workplace. For example, if you have an issue that needs resolving, call up two or three employees to a roundtable and let them help you find a solution.
The solution you reach as a team should be the solution that you implement. It’d be a waste of time if you reached a decision as a team but unilaterally decide to take another path. You’ll not only lose your employees’ trust but also hurt your efforts to build a collaborative workplace.
4. Hire People Who Can Collaborate
Some people are naturally good at working with other people. Others are not.
When you’re hiring, you want to stay away from people who don’t thrive in a collaborative environment. Sure, you can train or even require employees to collaborate, but there’s only so much collaborative output you can yield if your workforce is full of people who prefer working solo.
To hire team members whose strong suit is collaboration, don’t look at just what they have listed in their resumes. Ask about their problem-solving abilities. If a person’s way of solving problems involves consulting with other team members, there’s a good chance they’re good at teamwork.
5. Train Your Staff
You aren’t going to fire your entire staff so that you can start re-hiring those with good collaboration skills. What do you do if you already have employees who are lone wolves?
This is where employee training comes in.
There are skills are that a must-have for a person to collaborate effectively. For example, you need strong interpersonal and communication skills to thrive in a team environment. If an employee lacks these skills, they might find it difficult to collaborate however much they’d like to collaborate.
Running training programs that are aimed at increasing your employees’ communication standards, for example, can help make them better at collaborating.
Make Your Startup a Hub of Effective Collaboration
Effective collaboration will improve your organization in multiple ways, but they all point to increased productivity and greater revenues. Before you get there, though, there are several strategies you must implement to make your people good at collaborating. Use the advice herein as a guide.
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