There are many factors that create the ideal office culture, but few are as important as building a culture of collaboration. In fact, a Stanford University study revealed that when working together, employees were 50% more efficient at completing tasks than he was, and were also more engaged and motivated.
It may sound cliche, but it’s true. Your team is the lifeblood of your business. Regardless of industry, building a healthy office culture driven by collaboration is key to driving company results. A positive work culture has been shown to improve productivity, engagement, retention and other important statistics.
Building a collaborative culture within your business is well worth the effort and with the right practices you can quickly enhance this aspect of your work.
1. Establish a foundation of trust and communication
As a leader, you set the tone for how collaboration is carried out within your organization. Similar to establishing strong partnerships with other companies, an internal culture of collaboration requires a solid foundation of consistent communication and transparency.
This does not mean that every employee should know specific details of the company’s finances. However, rather than trying to unnecessarily restrict access to information, it means sharing the information everyone needs to do their job well. The Transparency Commitment Matrix helps teams determine what needs to be shared and with whom.
Establishing a consistent rhythm for sharing information also helps. Even something as simple as a weekly email update or check-in with the whole team at his meeting can keep everyone on the same page and increase opportunities for collaboration.
2. Create opportunities for a culture of collaboration
Collaboration does not happen by chance. Especially when employees are transitioning away from a system where they primarily work on independent projects.
As a leader, you can foster collaboration by deliberately designing projects that require a team of employees. This is especially useful for creating cross-functional task forces where members from different departments need to work together on a common goal or initiative. Even something as simple as assigning a few team members to collaborate on a project can help.
As the saying goes, “Experience is the best teacher.”
These early collaboration experiences you create for your team may require additional guidance, but serve as a great testing ground for learning to work together. As teams get used to this process, they become more capable of cross-functional tasks and more willing to collaborate in smaller ways on individual tasks.
3. Use technology to make collaboration seamless
You’re not alone in trying to create a culture of collaboration. For example, a wide range of technology tools like Slack, Asana and Mural are now available to streamline and simplify the collaboration process whether everyone is sharing the same office space or working remotely. One trend that many companies are noticing is the use of “no-code” and “low-code” business process management platforms that are uniquely tailored to individual teams.
Jason Drinen, Practice Lead for ExpressAbility, explains how custom business applications can help drive more meaningful collaboration. “Processes and productivity suffer when teams have no way to work together, have visibility into processes, or have an easy way to make individual contributions. To avoid that, collaboration must be truly seamless. As such, business tools need to be tailored to teams, and low-code BPM platforms enable companies to rapidly develop software that adapts tasks to people, rather than vice versa. “Companies will be better positioned for dynamic markets with collaboration that truly boosts productivity.”
4. Evaluation and correction
As with any change or initiative your business makes, you should regularly evaluate your processes for building a culture of collaboration. Before, during, and after you start emphasizing collaboration, you should evaluate your business processes to identify areas that are too personal or where your current systems or processes make collaboration difficult.
Employee feedback is very important in this effort. Gathering feedback from your team can help you identify shortcomings in your efforts to build a culture of collaboration and opportunities to enhance collaboration. Even better, the process of collecting feedback itself improves collaboration as it helps teams feel more comfortable communicating and coming up with solutions together.
Naturally, once we’ve conducted our own assessments and gathered feedback from this team, the next step is to modify our processes to facilitate collaboration. Make sure the ‘revise’ process itself is collaborative, gathering insights and recommendations from all stakeholders to ensure the new solution is truly effective for everyone.
Accomplish more with a culture of collaboration
Building a culture of collaboration within a business can take considerable effort, especially if the organization was previously focused on person-oriented tasks.
But if you actively strive to create a more collaborative culture, your team can thrive like never before. From unleashing creativity to simply improving workplace satisfaction and engagement, a culture of collaboration can help you get better results from your team and yourself.