Implementing a Collaborative Approach in the Workplace – What’s Involved?

Undoubtedly, having a collaborative approach is one of the driving forces behind any firm’s success. It’s a widely known fact that collaborative teams are not only efficient but also highly motivated and innovative.

Moreover, you get better performance and improved communication with a collaborative team. About 99% of employees want to be a part of an organization that encourages and streamlines communication.

Thus, it is pretty clear that you have a lot to gain from collaboration as a firm. Before we talk about ways to implement a collaborative approach in the workplace, let’s talk about collaboration.

We’ll also be talking about what different ways you can benefit from these collaborative measures and finally discuss the four blockers to collaborative teamwork that you need to be on the lookout for.

Collaboration vs. teamwork – what’s the difference?

It’s important to know what we mean by “collaboration.” It typically occurs when people with complementary skills work together on a project. At the heart of all collaborative tasks lie shared responsibility and joint effort. This is the significant difference between collaboration and teamwork.

When they collaborate, people explore assignments and develop solutions as a unit. When you’re collaborating with your team, you will allocate different tasks, set common goals, and communicate in a discursive way.

However, teamwork combines the individual efforts of all team members, i.e., everyone working all by themselves to achieve a common goal. Teams have leaders who assign stand-alone tasks to all team members that contribute toward the final destination. Whereas those collaborating are equals, who make decisions without a leader and work together to achieve the targets.

A Stanford study found that people who worked collaboratively were 64% more likely to stick to their tasks than those working individually on similar jobs. So, it’s a lot more practical to collaborate on ideas, projects, goals, and functions in the workplace.

How to implement a collaborative approach

Creating and implementing a collaborative approach at work is not easy. Setting up processes takes a lot of time and effort from management and the employees, but it’s all worth it.

While it may seem like a grueling undertaking, the risks outweigh the costs. Furthermore, according to a CISCO study, firms could yield four dollars for every dollar invested in collaboration. Check out some ways you can implement a collaborative approach in the workplace.

Communicate the vision

It’s crucial to your business that every one of your employees is in the loop with your business’s long-term vision. If your employees aren’t aware of these, it can misalign your firm’s actions taken by varying departments. These can be detrimental to your business goals. Thus, it would be best to make this information accessible to everyone.  

Establish common goals

Offering collective goals can help jumpstart and hone the collaborative culture at your workplace. Be sure to assign clear and measurable group goals — this keeps people motivated to take an interest in collaborating with their peers and put their biases aside so as not to disrupt the task. Furthermore, this helps hone a sense of accountability. Eventually, there comes a time when teams can see the merits of these collaborative tasks.

Encourage leaders to offer more guidance

The average executive spends only 20% of their time training their subordinates. While we know that executives and leaders have a lot on their plate, unfortunately, this behavior doesn’t encourage collaborative teamwork. It hinders the ability of others in the team to think and resolve issues independently.

Thus, to promote collaborative teamwork, managers must engage with their employees and be willing to guide them in their professional journey. By doing so, they set an example for the rest of the organization.

Set incentives

Collaboration doesn’t come about on its own. As a business owner, you need to know that the best way to implement a collaborative approach with your employees is to offer them incentives. Reward your team members for collaboration. These could be monetary or non-monetary benefits.

Keep in mind that when employees put in an effort toward the company and aren’t rewarded, this could ultimately lead to dissatisfaction and hurt your collaborative process. The last thing you want is your employees to think your guidelines are a waste of time.

Keep your focus on consistency

The best thing to encourage a collaborative approach for your workplace is to focus on commitment and continuity. Adopting any new process takes time and effort. But it can be easily streamlined with the right sort of effort and commitment.

Rome wasn’t built in a day. As a business owner, you need to develop long-term collaborative strategies and see them through daily.

Leverage digital

While direct interactions are essential to creating interpersonal bonds at the workplace, it is a double-edged sword.

On the one hand, it can help hone professional relationships. But it can also create negative relationships and biases. These are undoubtedly detrimental to the health of any collaborative efforts.

You can avoid these potential disasters by incorporating digital to facilitate your team collaboration, allowing space for everyone to speak and reducing the potential for monopolization of conversations.

Another, more pressing reason to go digital is the impact that it has on the collaborative process. Digitization puts in place a structure that promotes collaboration. Moreover, it helps document everything and store it in one place. This not only means that the data is readily accessible but also that everyone that’s part of that collaborative effort is on the same page.

Benefits of a collaborative approach to your business

There are numerous benefits of collaboration in the workplace. These are typically seen through KPIs such as productivity and employee engagement. While it may not be the most critical factor in driving your business forward, it certainly helps boost your organization’s goals.

Check out some significant benefits of collaborative teamwork for your organization:

Innovation

Perhaps the best thing that can come out of these collaborative efforts is innovation. According to a study by Deloitte, having people belonging to different backgrounds collaborate on a task frequently leads to breakthroughs and innovations.

Teams that can collaborate successfully can create an environment that encourages problem solving and creativity. Moreover, the solutions they pose tend to be more exciting and unique.

Employee engagement

When your employees work together healthily, they feel a greater sense of purpose and ownership. These are precisely the feelings you want to promote at your workplace.

When employees work together, it’s much easier to see how their ideas and efforts contribute to the project’s overall success. While it may not seem like it, employee engagement plays a critical role in job satisfaction and retention.

Learning and honing skills

The last significant benefit of collaboration at your workplace is that your employees learn from each other by working together. This way, recruits can get a first-hand experience from their seasoned peers.

Another benefit is increased productivity that lead to better business results. Think about it: as your productivity goes up, the response time to customer queries per deal updates are also quicker. Thus, the overall performance of the company goes up too!

Best tools for a collaborative approach in the workplace

Below are some of the top workplace collaboration tools you can leverage to boost productivity and innovation:

You can learn more about each of them in this blog post.

Four blockers of collaboration

This section discusses the four challenges you need to be on the lookout for when pushing for a collaborative approach at work. These are:

  • Micromanaging: As your organization begins moving away from the traditional workplace setup, it’s natural to worry about productivity levels falling. Some managers respond to this by implementing micromanagement. This, however, has the opposite of the desired effect— often killing productivity.
  • Lacking Project Management: You’re taking a break away from the traditional way of doing things doesn’t mean you’re taking a break from working. You must be sure not to assign special projects while expecting your employees to maintain their regular workloads. This can lead to burnout.
  • Busy workload: While you shouldn’t inundate your workers with high-priority assignments, don’t assign them work for the sake of optics. This can make them feel like their time is being wasted. An excellent way to show your employees that their time is valued is by connecting their projects to the bigger picture
  • Penalizing your team: There’s no set way of collaborating. It’s supposed to happen organically within the team. Thus, if you see your team excited, engaged, and optimistic about their work, you’re witnessing the benefits of collaboration.

Learn how nBold can solve your collaboration challenges.

Key Takeaway

The secret to innovation and creativity is collaborative work. That’s because collaborators have good interpersonal skills that enable them to trust each other, respect differences, and negotiate calmly to achieve corporate goals. Flexibility is the name of the game since collaborators put on many hats to ensure things get done.

It’s essential to prioritize opportunities and spaces for people to feel safe, appreciated, and empowered to send ripples of success throughout the entire organization.

One of the surest ways to promote collaboration in the workplace is via collaboration tools like nBold. It offers a clear structure that helps with collaboration. It’s a solution within Microsoft Teams that allows you to create pre-built workplace templates. These templates can include your everyday apps and tools to ensure your collaborating team has everything they need readily available at their fingertips.

Get in touch with us for more information on our solutions and how we can help you implement collaborative approach in the organization. Check out our Demo Center to see our technology in action.

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