Breaking Down the C's of Collaboration in the Workplace

Looking to improve workplace collaboration at your organization? Read on to uncover the best strategies for successful outcomes

September 5, 2023
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Collaboration is a creative process driven by an interplay of shared goals and collective efforts, with the attainment of a common objective being the result. It requires intentionally using available skill sets, expertise, and experience. 

When effectively executed, collaboration can evoke innovation and spark a flutter of insightful thoughts necessary for informed decision-making. It’s an invaluable productivity tool in today’s workplace. 

The best way to achieve cohesive teamwork within the workforce is to implement a collaborative framework emphasizing effective collaboration's core tenets. 

In this article, we’ll explain what collaboration in the workplace really means, expound the fundamental C’s of effective collaboration, and examine how each of these elements work synergistically to produce a desired outcome.

Before delving into all these, let’s explore collaboration in the workplace. Ready?

What is collaboration in the workplace?

Workplace collaboration refers to all intentional and coordinated efforts by an organization’s workforce toward achieving a common goal.

According to a Queens University of Charlotte report, 75% of employees consider team collaboration important. In addition, 86% of business executives cite a lack of collaboration in the workplace as a reason for company failures. 

Another study also shows that successful collaboration in the workplace increases innovation by approximately 30% and boosts productivity by 36%. 

Essentially, a collaborative workplace is defined by features of open communication policy, cooperative inputs, and coordinated actions aimed at leveraging the individual capabilities of employees for the collective organization’s success. 

Real-life examples of collaboration in the workplace include:

  • Cross-functional projects

In this form of collaboration, different teams in a company combine resources to execute a project. Eg; A product launch.

Target practices this form of workplace collaboration style. 

  • Brainstorming Sessions

Here, team members gather to brainstorm ideas, generate insightful concepts, and collaborate on plans that effectively address a particular challenge. 

Google employs this collaboration technique to fastrack project executions.

  • Remote Collaboration

This example is a form of modern workplace collaboration among staff in different physical locations. In a digital workplace collaboration, teams in locations use online communication tools to collaborate effectively on a project despite geographical constraints. 

Buffer operates solely via remote teams.

Assembly is a fantastic example of a workplace collaboration technology that ensures seamless collaboration of remote teams.

  • Innovative Hackathons:

This is a defined period where employees brainstorm and design an innovative concept or product. It encourages employees to unleash their creativity, explore new ideas, and learn new perspectives. 

Facebook employs this collaboration technique to accelerate its innovation drive.

  • Conflict Resolution

In this form of collaboration, the team thrives when members appropriately lay out differences so teamwork can thrive. 

Airbnb understands this concept perfectly, encouraging employees to discuss conflicts and find solutions that work for the parties involved.

Benefits of collaboration in the workplace

Collaborating in the workplace has great benefits that apply to both the company and its employees. Key benefits include:

  1. Learning opportunity.
  2. Improved employee retention.
  3. Effective decision-making.

  1. Learning opportunity

It’s simply a case of iron sharpeneth iron. Collaboration in the workplace provides a prime opportunity for employees to learn from each other and improve their existing knowledge. The beautiful thing about such an experience is that you can apply newly gained information in real-time as the project progresses.

  1. Improved employee retention

According to Zippia, employees are approximately 17% more satisfied with their jobs when involved in collaborative work. Also, engaged employees are more likely to remain with the company longer, helping save significant costs on hiring and reducing the turnover rate.

  1. Effective decision-making

The best decisions come from an abundance of relevant information. When employees pull resources together, there will be ample basis to carry out certain actions or steer a certain direction in the execution of a project.

What are the 4 C’s of collaboration?

Also known as the fundamental C’s, the 4 C’s of collaboration represent workplace collaboration principles. 

They constitute a robust framework that incorporates both formal and informal relationships, within and outside the organization, and requirements of soft skill sets for proper utilization.  

The 4C’s of workplace collaboration include:

  1. Communicate
  2. Cooperate
  3. Coordinate
  4. Culture

  1. Communicate

The art of communication is one of the vital collaboration skills in the workplace. For a project execution to be successful, communication and collaboration in the workplace must go hand in hand. 

Effective collaboration in the workplace requires that communications must be clear, concise, and seamless. This means using various communication channels, including emails, video conferencing platforms, and performance management tools to aid the dissemination of information.

Also, open communication is vital. An excellent way to achieve this is to have routine check-in sessions with employees where they can freely express their views and have their opinions valued. 

In addition, teamwork thrives when there’s empathy. For instance, company executives should criticize constructively and acknowledge existing limitations when there's a decline in progress. 

  1. Cooperate

Cooperation in the workplace goes beyond team members being agreeable with each other. It is the intentional readiness of employees to work together for a common purpose. Communication can be top-notch, yet collaboration may be lacking.

One major reason a company’s workforce can exhibit a lack of cooperation is the absence of trust in the workplace. When employees are not fully convinced that the organization will see and appreciate their efforts, they’re less willing to work together.

Collaboration in the workplace is fostered by recognizing that teamwork goes beyond the execution of individual tasks but by the interdependency of those tasks. So, to boost cooperation, projects should link to the company’s reward system through team rewards or team-building activities.  These activities aim to develop a sense of belonging and recognition amongst team members.

Assembly has a host of team-building activities to promote collaboration in the workplace. Try it Today.  

  1. Coordinate

You will most likely hit your target when you shoot with an aim. An organization that properly coordinates all efforts toward achieving its objectives reduces the incidence of wasted efforts, misplaced priorities, and unnecessary time wasting. 

Despite good communication, ineffective coordination can hamper collaboration. Effective coordination helps to synchronize employees’ efforts by ensuring team members are abreast of each other’s deadlines, progress made, and the interdependency of assigned tasks. 

Project management tools like Assembly do a great job in helping to facilitate this aspect of workplace collaboration. 

  1. Culture

When a company’s culture does not promote collaboration in the workplace, it gradually dies off. 

Collaboration-driven company culture is a stimulant for efficient communication policies, team synergy activities, and the development of good coordination skills among team managers. It can be cultivated by recognizing and understanding the competencies of a company’s workforce, promoting inclusivity, and leveraging these competencies.

More importantly, a collaboration-driven company culture supports using collaborative tools in the workplace. 

Assembly illustrates this perfectly in this video. 

What are the 7 C's of strategic collaboration?

Strategic collaboration is long-term, purposeful, and planned. The two major elements of every strategic partnership are communication and coordination. In addition, here are five more important elements:

  1. Commitment.
  2. Creativity.
  3. Contribution.
  4. Coach
  5. Customer.
  1. Commitment

Consistency is the soul of business. For collaboration to yield long-term effects, it has to be consistent, with employees committed to the cause. 

To achieve this, HR managers need to maintain accountability in the workplace, while employees and team leaders have to take full responsibility for their tasks.

  1. Creativity

According to Indeed, collaboration strategies in the workplace keep evolving as long as creative solutions are formulated at the same pace as market conditions change. 

Strategies are born out of a creative process. If a collaboration has to be strategic, ideas must always be abundant. 

Spark creativity in employees by encouraging idea generation and creating a safe environment where they can share their ideas and subsequently fine-tune them.

  1. Contribution

This is the essence of collaboration, leveraging the power of pulled resources to their utmost potential. 

A collaboration technically serves no strategic purpose if the individuals involved don't contribute. Employees and participants need to actively contribute their ideas, expertise, knowledge, experience, and efforts. Companies can boost employees’ efforts using incentives and rewards.

  1. Coach

Good leaders embody what they advocate for. More often than not, team leaders assume the role of a coach in strategic collaboration, guiding and coordinating the activities of other team members during the entire process. 

In this capacity, team leaders are to assist in helping employees understand their assigned roles, facilitate communication, and resolve conflicts.

  1. Customer 

The end goal of a strategic collaboration is to keep old customers happy and attract new customers. Companies intending to remain in business are willing to go the extra mile to keep customers loyal to the brand. 

Hence, all collaboration efforts should be channeled toward satisfying customers’ needs. Continual refinement of collaboration strategies is essential as more information about the company’s target audience becomes available, ensuring the acceptance of new products and services.

Cohesion of the C’s

The C’s of collaboration are interrelated, mutually influencing and amplifying one another. While good communication practices catalyze workplace cooperation by fostering an environment of trust and empathy, partnership amongst employees enables effective team coordination.

Then, the company’s culture lays the foundation for productive communication and coordination policies to create a robust framework for idea sharing, information exchange, and skills acquisition.

According to Deloitte, employees actively involved in collaborative initiatives were 22% more likely to remain in the company. Collaboration is one of the most reliable means of achieving employee engagement and productivity. And there’s no better way than by incorporating all the C’s of collaboration.

Collaboration in the workplace is now less of a should-have and more of a need-to-have in every organization. However, achieving this level of synergy can be demanding on a company’s HR department, and using the right workplace collaboration tool simplifies the entire workflow.

Book a free demo today to try Assembly’s workplace collaboration software for seamless integration and reinforcement of all fundamental C’s.  

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