You will agree that it takes more than one person to run a business; this is especially true when the business has gone past the budding stage and has grown into a successful company. Employees will have to be hired, teams will be created, and managerial positions will have to be filled. But even when all these positions are adequately filled, certain key factors are necessary to ensure everything works smoothly. One of these key factors is collaboration. This is why every business owner needs to know how to build collaboration in the workplace.
Without workplace collaboration, it may be very difficult to run a successful business.
Everyone in the workforce should be working together to ensure a common goal is achieved.
But imagine a situation where instead of doing the above, some people are at loggerheads and people are not willing to work with themselves to ensure everything is done the way it should be.
This will reduce the productivity of the workforce.
And if this goes on, it will only be a matter of time before it will begin to impede the company’s growth and success.
So, when building a great workforce, you should also be concerned with how you will build collaboration within the workforce.
Luckily, this article will teach you all you need to know about this subject matter.
Therefore, make sure you do not go anywhere until you have gotten all that will be shared here.
Meaning of Collaboration in the Workplace – How to Build Collaboration in the Workplace
It will be next to impossible to create something you do not have a full grasp of.
This is why the first thing you need to know when building a collaborative workplace is what it means exactly.
Simply put, collaboration in the workplace is when every employee in a workplace is committed to working together with other staff members to ensure a common vision or goal is achieved.
It involves working together, sharing skills, ideas, and every other thing that will help them reach a goal.
This is opposed to working individually; trying to do everything all by oneself without accepting or asking for input from others.
Collaboration in the workplace is not just limited to a few.
It typically cuts across positions, levels, and departments.
So, you won’t have a situation where all the members of a team are collaborative but the team lead is not just because of the position they hold.
You will know that you have successfully built a collaborative workplace when everyone in the workforce is willing to work with other staff members regardless of position or rank.
Importance of Collaboration in the Workplace – How to Build Collaboration in the Workplace
Solving tough workplace problems requires teamwork and loads of collaboration.
Gone are the lone ranger days.
Now, all hands have to be on deck to maximize productivity and increase a business’s growth and success.
Everyone knows that there is strength in numbers.
And if you can ensure every member of your workforce work hand-in-hand, you will notice that everything will be done effectively and on time.
Several things make workplace collaboration very important to any business.
And we’ll be taking a look at some of these things to help you understand the importance of collaboration in the workplace and why you need to work towards building it in your business.
It Boosts Productivity
One of the most important things that workplace collaboration will help you achieve in your company is increased productivity.
This is because a collaborative workplace is often a safe space.
In such workplaces, people comfortably learn from one another and this helps them build their capabilities.
Productivity will significantly increase with everyone committed to working together, sharing ideas, and helping each other grow.
Let’s say you have been working on a project and everything has been going smoothly.
But then one day, you encounter an issue and regardless of how hard you try, you can’t work it out.
In a situation like this, what would be your best line of action?
Would it not be to solicit help from someone else who is more versed in what you are working on?
This way, you get to solve your problem and then carry on with your project.
This scenario is what will typically play out in a collaborative workplace.
Because teamwork is encouraged and people do not mind sharing ideas and skills, every member of the workforce can approach another person for guidance in areas where they need help.
And because a workplace is often a diverse environment with different skill sets and knowledge, it won’t be too hard to find someone that can help.
It also means that the person offering help today can get help tomorrow when they encounter an issue beyond their capability.
People can work together and contribute their different ideas and skills to produce the best solution to a given problem.
Fosters Good Relationships in the Organization – How to Build Collaboration in the Workplace
When there is collaboration in a workplace, there will also be cordial relationships between people in the organization.
In-house competitions will significantly reduce because everyone knows they are working towards a common goal together.
The workplace will not be toxic as everyone will acknowledge and appreciate the contribution of every other member of the workforce.
And since workplace collaboration cuts across positions, you as an employer will also have a good relationship with your staff.
You will work hand-in-hand with them to guarantee your business success.
This in return will foster a great relationship between you and your employees.
Because of this, their trust and loyalty to your business will most likely be unquestionable.
Resulting in better employee engagement, job satisfaction, and employee retention.
Employee Satisfaction – How to Build Collaboration in the Workplace
Employee satisfaction is very important and can improve or reduce productivity and employee turnover.
Let’s explain that.
An employee that is satisfied with their work and working environment/condition will be more motivated to work.
This will improve their productivity.
It will also make them committed to the organization.
Even when they receive a better offer from another organization, they may decide to not leave their current organization because of the satisfaction they get from working there.
But they may feel reluctant to work if they do not feel satisfied with their job.
And they may even go searching for jobs in other organizations.
Thankfully, there are several ways to boost employee satisfaction and a collaborative workplace is one of them.
Everyone loves to feel good at their work.
In a collaborative workplace, people will easily get this feel-good satisfaction with their jobs because they will feel heard and valued.
They will be able to make their contribution to the company’s or team’s growth.
In a case where they need help, they will easily get it from their colleagues.
It is very rare to find an unsatisfied employee in this kind of environment.
Working in collaboration also means being able to learn from one another.
In a collaborative workplace, one department will be able to learn from another department.
Teams and colleagues will learn from one another.
Everyone will be able to build their skills, knowledge, and capabilities by learning from each other.
Things That Hinder Collaboration in the Workplace – How to Build Collaboration in the Workplace
Yes, collaboration is very important in workplaces because of the many benefits it offers.
Sadly, not all organizations have a collaborative workforce.
And this is either because they have not made any effort to cultivate collaboration in their workplace.
Or, certain things are hindering their effort to build a collaborative workplace.
Therefore, knowing the things that can hinder collaboration in the workplace is very important.
This way, you can avoid these things and ensure you successfully build collaboration in your workplace.
Diversity is often very great for an organization.
It provides several options that can aid so many things like creativity, innovation, problem-solving, and several other things that boost productivity and efficiency.
However, just like with everything, diversity also comes with certain drawbacks despite its numerous benefits.
One of these drawbacks is that it can inhibit a collaborative workplace.
This is because different ideas, personalities, cultures, and other diversities in an environment can lead to conflict.
And people will have a tough time collaborating in a conflict-filled environment.
Some people in the workplace may be battling with low self-esteem and this in itself can prevent collaboration.
How? Well, it’s quite simple.
When an employee feels they are inferior when compared to other employees, they may rather do things all by themselves rather than ask other people for help.
They will behave this way because they don’t want others to think of them as weak or incapable.
Too Much Competition
Just as with diversity, competition can be both positive and negative.
Healthy competition can go a long way in promoting efficiency, productivity, and innovation.
However, when the competition is too much, it can become unhealthy and this can prevent workplace collaboration.
This is because some employees that want to get all the praise and recognition for a task would rather side-line the others and do the task all by themselves.
Fear of Disagreement and Conflicts – How to Build Collaboration in the Workplace
Some people are scared of having disagreements and conflicts.
They do all they can to avoid these.
So, they will rather keep to themselves because they feel interacting with other people may result in conflict.
It is not that they would rather work alone.
They just don’t want to get into it with anyone and they believe the best way to do this is to avoid people altogether.
Tips on How to Build Collaboration in the Workplace
Here, we will discuss certain tips that you can do to help you build collaboration in the workplace.
But you should know that building collaboration in the workplace is not something you can do overnight.
It is a continuous process and you would have to be patient.
1. Talk About the Company’s Goals and Setbacks
One of the best ways to encourage collaboration in the workplace is by being open and transparent with the workforce.
Let them know the goals, challenges, and wins of the organization.
When your employees are aware of the organization’s goals, they will know the importance of working together to achieve them.
Likewise, when they know the challenges the organization is facing, they will try to work together to overcome these challenges.
This does not mean that you have to tell your employees everything including confidential information.
No, it simply means keeping them informed and up-to-date with the happenings in the company.
This way, everybody will know the company’s strategic objectives and work collectively to achieve them.
2. Lead by Example
Exemplary leadership is also important when it comes to building collaboration in the workplace.
Hence, if you want your employees to collaborate, you also need to be collaborative.
You should be able to motivate your employees as their boss and leader.
And shutting yourself off from them by staying in your office all day with your door sealed shut is not the best way to do this.
If your company is quite big, it might be impossible for all the employees to have access to you.
However, in this case, those that need to have access to you should not have to go through hoops just to do so.
To build collaboration, you need to ensure communication between all hierarchies of your company is fluid, clear, and as frequent as needed.
Managers should be able to work with employees.
Team leaders should be able to collaborate with their team members.
Everyone, regardless of their position, roles, or levels should be able to collaborate with the next person to ensure everything goes the way it is meant to.
Also, ensure that the employees also see the collaboration between you, the directors, and the managers.
This way, they will want to adopt collaboration too.
3. Build Collaboration Between Departments – How to Build Collaboration in the Workplace
It can become monotonous and even drain out creativity when you have to work with the same team over and over again.
This is why you need to encourage collaboration between teams and even departments.
The essence of collaboration is to ensure everyone in the company works hand-in-hand to bring the needed result.
So, it won’t do if one team or department is cut off from the rest of the workforce.
Encourage communication between departments and build collaboration between them.
4. Encourage Employees to Speak Up – How to Build Collaboration in the Workplace
A lot of employees would rather keep to themselves because they lack self-confidence.
Sometimes, it is not that they would not like to seek help or even help someone else out.
But it is just that they lack the confidence to do any of these.
They may think their idea is not good enough to help in any situation.
They may think they would get mocked or criticized for their idea.
Or that their idea will be rejected for not being good enough and this will tell further on their already weak self-esteem.
So, instead of saying anything, they will rather shut up and watch others try to come up with a solution.
In the case where they are scared to ask for help, they may be this way because they think others will see them as incompetent if they ask for help.
It is now in your place as someone looking to build collaboration in the workplace to encourage employees like these.
Make them understand the need to speak up when they have an idea or need help.
You can do this by making them see the importance of collaboration and how the other employees are willing to work with them if they will only give them a chance.
Also, encourage those scared of conflicts and disagreement.
Let them understand that not interacting with their colleagues is not the best way to go about avoiding conflict.
You can even decide to hold a meeting for the sole purpose of encouraging your employees to learn how to speak up and in essence collaborate.
5. Teach Conflict Management – How to Build Collaboration in the Workplace
When people work together, there will always be opposing ideas.
Because of how diverse a workplace is, conflict may pop up now and then.
And if not handled well, it can significantly impede your effort to build a collaborative workplace.
Some employees would rather keep to themselves because they do not want to have issues with anyone.
And assuming they even keep trying to collaborate despite the conflict, there will be friction that will make the collaboration problematic.
Therefore, since it is almost a given that conflict will arise, it is better to make plans for it.
One of the best ways to do this is by teaching your employees how to manage conflict.
Let them understand that there will be times when they will have opposing ideas and this is not an issue.
They should be able to compromise in such situations.
And even if they have conflicts and disagreements, it should not lead to resentment.
Instead, they should be able to resolve the conflict and move on from it.
Read this article to learn five conflict management strategies that you can teach your employees.
Conclusion on How to Build Collaboration in the Workplace
Collaboration is an essential factor for great workplace culture and organizational growth and success.
It fosters productivity, innovation, and creativity; all of which are essential for growth.
But certain things impede collaboration in workplaces.
These things can frustrate your effort to build collaboration in the workplace if you do not take care of them on time.
Therefore, the first thing you should do when building a collaborative workplace is to take notes of these things.
Then, figure out those that may be present in your organization, and then come up with strategies to get rid of them.
Also, the tips in this article will help you achieve your goals of building a collaborative workplace if you use them.
Finally, you cannot do this overnight.
It is a continuous process that requires patience, so try not to give up along the way.