Defining Workplace Collaboration for Modern Businesses

Collaboration in the workplace affects productivity. Learn to foster collaboration in your company for better results.

September 5, 2023
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Everyone talks about how collaboration is vital to a company's growth. We've all heard managers and CEOs go on about the effort they've put into fostering that attribute in their businesses. 

Seeing how important these people claim it is, you may want to know how to encourage collaboration in the workplace. However, with the conflicting definitions of the word, you would be better off starting with another question. What is collaboration in the workplace? 

What is collaboration in the workplace?

Collaboration involves a group of people sharing skills and ideas to achieve a common goal. Teammates come together with different experiences, skill sets, and ideas, which are applied to a problem to find innovative solutions. 

With the company's vision in mind, a collaborative workplace works together, pushing each other to reach their potential. In this work environment, there is inter-departmental interaction and transfer of ideas, with information being distributed to all that need it. 

The activities to promote collaboration in the workplace used to entail a lot of brainstorming sessions and conferences, but things are different now. It has been discovered that meetings are the number one killer of office productivity. You'll agree if you've ever come from a 'roundtable discussion' feeling like you've just been going in circles. 

With this in mind, many businesses are moving away from the meeting craze and focusing more on real-time collaboration. With the help of cloud-based tools, teammates can adjust projects and share feedback as they occur. This leads to more opportunities for natural input compared to anxiety-inducing meetings. 

However, the scheduling necessary for real-time collaboration is a disadvantage that has become more glaring as many businesses transition to remote work. Employees are expected to set aside all they're doing and get on the project at a specified time. That can be a problem when a team comprises workers in different time zones. 

Businesses have begun adopting asynchronous collaboration tools like Assembly that enable employees to work on projects as their schedule allows. This ensures that work is done as a team while avoiding the dreaded zoom fatigue that plagues remote workers. 

With more businesses moving to these asynchronous tools, collaboration is taking a more central position in company activities. In 2021, the global collaboration market was valued at 47 billion dollars and is predicted to grow to 85 billion dollars by 2026. With organizations investing this much into these tools, you may be wondering why. 

Why is collaboration important in the workplace?

Collaboration in the workplace is an essential factor that improves key performance indicators like customer satisfaction and retention. Workplace collaboration is a valuable avenue for growth, as experienced employees pass on their expertise to new ones, enhancing their development drastically. 

Collaboration isn't limited to team members alone. Interdepartmental interactions are a massive part of the ideal collaborative workplace. With this, knowledge is disseminated freely, cutting out the time spent searching for information to complete tasks. This free time can be applied to other vital areas, boosting productivity. 

Beyond the obvious benefits of enhanced efficiency, collaboration fosters a sense of community in your workplace. Your employees feel like they're a part of an organization that is interested in their growth. With meaningful workplace interactions, your staff feel connected to their coworkers, reaching milestones and achieving goals together. 

Engaged employees are vital for every business, and collaboration helps with that. With your staff working together to reach set goals, you can achieve your company's mission faster.

According to Zippia, 75% of workers believe collaboration is necessary for their work. Sadly, only 9% of these employees report that their workplace has effective collaboration tools. This means that many companies are ignorant of how to foster that important attribute in their offices. We'll fix that for you. 

How to improve collaboration in the workplace

Every business tries to foster collaboration in their workplaces, but some are more successful than others. Some organizations have employees who work in the same room and barely speak to each other, while others have collaborative workplaces that include workers in different countries. It isn't an easy task. 

Boosting team collaboration is an endeavor that requires dedication and consistency to achieve, all while following the proper steps. We'll show you some strategies for building a collaborative workplace, and with some effort on your end, you can ingrain these into your office. 

  1. Make Your Workplace Feel Like A Community

For your workplace collaboration to be successful, it is essential for your employees to feel safe and free. Your workers have to be confident that their opinions would matter, or they won't be forthcoming with their views. They may even begin to feel useless, damaging teamwork even more. 

This is a delicate point to get right because forcing your employees to collaborate for collaboration's sake may have the opposite effect. Also, some employees may find it difficult to voice their opinions due to awkwardness or fear of offending others. That is where collaboration tools like Assembly come in. 

Assembly's pulse survey tool provides a means of getting anonymous feedback from your employees. With this tool, your employees can freely air their opinions and be sure they matter. This boosts that feeling of community and puts your workplace on the track to improved collaboration. 

  1. Lead by Example

As a high-level employee, many of your staff look up to you. Putting collaborative strategies into effect is great, but they won't be so effective if you don't practice them yourself. As a team leader, you should portray those attributes you wish to teach your employees. 

You can start by eliminating the vertical hierarchy. It would be best to adopt an open-door policy where employees can communicate freely and frequently. If your workers see the high-level staff collaborating effectively, they are more likely to replicate it themselves. 

Set aside some time to collaborate and interact with your employees. Start with one-on-one dialogues with your employees to get insights into their lives. That may open up the floor for requests, but don't worry. 

The trick to navigating these moments is not to make impossible promises while trying to help.

The goal is to let your employees know they can talk to you, so you'd ruin that if you overpromise and underdeliver. 

So, steer clear from the 'do as I say, not as I do' policy and lead by example with your employees. The more your employees can trust you to be a team player, the more that trust spreads through your team. 

  1. Work With Your Employees' Strengths 

No one in the world is great at everything. Everyone in your company has unique skill sets that would provide value for the company. If they didn't, you probably wouldn't have hired them. 

A team is successful when the members apply their diverse skills to the problem and collaborate to achieve the goal. The way to accomplish this is to work with your employees' strengths. 

Through the hiring process, you've been able to outline the specific skills each person possesses that make them unique. You know them, but your workers who don't have access to those files may not. You can let them know. 

Assign tasks to individual team members and point out in a group setting that these tasks were assigned based on their expertise. Soon enough, you'll find your employees approaching themselves for help in their areas of expertise. 

You can get your employees to take a personality test and share the results with their team members. A link to the test can be shared on a communications tool like Assembly, and the results can be sent to the group. With this knowledge of individual skills, more effective teams can be built to tackle company issues. 

  1. Reward Successful Collaboration In The Workplace 

Everyone wants to be appreciated for a job well done. According to Zippia, 92% of employees are likely to repeat an action if they are given recognition for it. When fostering teamwork and collaboration in your workplace, consider rewarding employees who do it successfully. 

Give them some time in the spotlight and let their success spur others to perform collaborative work. Ask them about the experience, and let your employees learn from them. 

Another route would be to give them some material rewards. These could be little things like swag or gift cards, but cash prizes could also work. Whichever form of recognition you pick, Assembly has got you covered.

Using the 'Employee Recognition' workflow, you can show your employees they are valued and their efforts haven't gone unnoticed. Other workers can even nominate top performers for rewards and recognition. 

  1. Provide Adequate Collaboration Tools

Investing in the appropriate tools for the job is prudent whether your team is remote or working in the same brick-and-mortar office. The easiest way for your team to collaborate would be on a unified platform, but choosing the platform can be tricky. 

The software should be able to handle all your communication needs. That would prevent team members from taking their work elsewhere, fracturing the unified information-sharing plan. 

So, list the functionalities you need in a software tool and ensure that the application you pick checks all the boxes. We'll help out with some essential features you may need:

  1. Integrated Knowledge Management System: 89% of employees search between one to six sources for information to do their jobs effectively. That takes an average of three hours each workday. A unified knowledge management system solves all that. 
  2. User-friendly Interface: If your communication tool is not user-friendly, your employees will abandon it in no time. Easy navigation is ideal for collaboration. 
  3. Active Feedback Capabilities: Anonymous surveys and comments are the easiest way to receive suggestions on team projects. The tool gets a plus if the data collected is well-presented in a graphical format. 
  4. Expansion Readiness: Becoming conversant with a new communication tool takes effort, so it would be a shame for your company to outgrow it. Ensure you have the future in mind when you make your choice. 
  5. Integration With Existing Tools: The right collaboration software should integrate with your existing tools, as that would help with employee adoption. If your workers have to get information from your old knowledge centers, soon enough, they won't return.

Beyond these features, Assembly offers a robust employee recognition package, top-tier security, and customizable workflows. This scalable intranet will cater to your business at any point of your growth trajectory. 

Build A High-performing Workplace Through Collaboration

Many businesses know the advantages of a collaborative workplace; yours shouldn't be left behind. By fostering collaboration in your offices, you're opening your company up to the improved results that come with connected employees. 

With these tips and the right collaboration tool, you can set the course for a more productive and engaged workforce.  A collaborative workplace is the future. But with Assembly, the future is today. 

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