By Katrina Dessavre
Effective collaboration can have an overwhelmingly positive impact on employee engagement, well-being, and productivity.
Three essential elements of a collaborative business include:
- A collaborative culture
- The right tools
- Clearly defined goals
Let’s examine what a collaborative work environment looks like and why it trumps a competitive one.
What Is Collaboration in Business?
Collaboration in business is the practice of working together towards a common goal or purpose.
While teams or individuals might collaborate on a one-time basis to achieve a short-term goal, collaboration as a company-wide practice involves creating connections over time. Sharing different perspectives and skill sets long term is what fosters a collaborative environment.
Collaboration can happen on a micro and macro level. There’s the quick, real-time exchanges in meetings and instant messaging. There’s also collaboration that happens over longer periods of time using tools like enterprise collaboration software.
In a post-COVID world, shared workspaces are becoming increasingly virtual. Companies are investing more time into finding digital tools that bring out the benefits of collaboration in business.
Why Collaboration Matters in Business
The modern workplace is a bit of a paradox. It’s more dispersed, yet it’s also more connected than ever before.
More people are choosing to work remotely. At the same time, employees have access to tools that let them connect with colleagues regardless of time and location.
But connection doesn’t necessarily lead to collaboration. Creating a collaborative work environment requires planning, but the business benefits are well worth the effort.
A Stanford study found that people who were in a collaborative mindset were 64% more likely to stick to a task than those working alone. They also reported feeling less tired and more engaged in what they were doing.
That’s the power of collaboration: simply feeling like we’re in a collaborative environment motivates us to do better work.
Collaboration vs. Competition
The term “healthy competition” has its time and place, but creating a competitive rather than collaborative work environment can be detrimental to project success. Here’s why:
- Competition doesn’t encourage sharing information. When you’re trying to perform better than your colleagues, you’re less likely to give up knowledge that could make the work process more efficient.
- Competition creates separation. Not only are colleagues less likely to collaborate if the workplace rewards competition, but whole departments can become siloed.
- Not everyone thrives in a competitive environment. While some people have a more naturally competitive spirit, others might become less motivated and more overwhelmed in that context.
Collaborative work environments, on the other hand:
- Foster a sense of team ownership and accountability
- Promote transparency and knowledge sharing
- Encourage communication across teams and departments
- Bring out the best in all employees rather than just a select few
Top 5 Benefits of Collaboration in Business
1. Boost Employee Engagement
An engaged employee is someone who actively seeks to benefit the team and company they work for. A highly engaged workforce can lead to increased productivity, retention rates and customer satisfaction.
What motivates employees to become and stay engaged? It mostly comes down to the environment they work in.
An ADP Research study found that the highest levels of engagement happen on dynamic teams where employees had the most opportunities to collaborate and encounter new challenges.
2. Expand Skills and Learning
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