One of the biggest factors that contribute to the success of any business is whether or not its employees are able to perform together a team. With increasing competition, it has become extremely important to encourage creativity in the office, in order to improve productivity and promote healthy employee relationships.
Working in teams enables employees to be quicker and more effective in their work, as compared to people who work on projects on their own. Collaborating also makes employees more responsible, which goes a long way in raising their motivation levels, especially when teams work virtually.
Collaboration in the Workplace
Collaboration is said to take place when two individuals or a group of people work together towards achieving a common goal by sharing their ideas and skills. It can happen in traditional as well as virtual teams. With advancements in technology, using cloud-based programs to share files and communicate has become commonplace.
A few other important aspects that collaboration brings to the table include:
- Brainstorming- Collaboration allows team members to come together on a common platform and work towards the achievement of a common goal by thinking, brainstorming, and offering various perspectives to provide solutions.
- Providing Value- Working towards the same goal inspires in the team members with a strong sense of purpose. The team sees value in working together as the common goal gives them a meaningful reason to work together, along with receiving mutual benefits for the company as well as the team.
- Equal Partaking- Collaboration provides every team member with equal opportunities to participate and communicate their ideas.
Here’s why businesses should encourage collaboration among their teams:
It Promotes Self-Analysis
Collaboration challenges people to think, articulate and receive clarity about their competencies. It serves as a mirror that gives them a glimpse of their strengths and weaknesses. Because two heads are better than one, teams work better together and plug each other’s gaps.
It Results in Problem Solving
When a variety of knowledge and skills are pooled, it creates a talent pool that is vast and more competent, able and experienced. Virtual collaboration minimizes or even eliminates the need for finances and infrastructure. Thanks to the Internet, businesses can gain better market reach and organizations with people from diverse backgrounds can thrive.
It Makes You Look at the Bigger Picture
No two people are the same, and when you have several people from different backgrounds working for you, you will need to know how to leverage those differences and identify how they can complement each other. You also need to understand that even if the project does not shape up the way you wanted it to in the end, the partnership could still achieve a great deal.
When your teams are collaborating, they are essentially learning new things from each other. Your organization becomes a body which encourages a culture of continuous learning, and supports that learning through opportunities for growth and development, as well as through safety nets for failures. Whenever team members collaborate, they enhance their capacity to go and grow beyond their comfort zones and take your business to new heights.
Advantages of Collaboration
- Pooling of Talent and Strengths- When members of a team collaborate, they are able to utilize the knowledge, experience and skills of everyone involved. For instance, one member may struggle with presentation skills, but might know all about the technical aspects involved. Effective collaboration will allow all the members to share their talent and find the most optimal solution to every problem. This will augment the chances of the business to achieve more in less time.
- Development of Employee Skills- Collaboration is mutually beneficial for the employees as well as the organization because when they work together, interact and share ideas, they see and understand how others work, think, negotiate and operate. This gives all the employees a chance to pick up skills from their colleagues or team mates and build upon their strengths. These newly-learned skills can then be practiced in their own field to look at things with a new perspective and make improvements and enhancements.
- Speed up Solutions- Collaboration speeds things up. It fast-tracks progress. A problem that may take months to get resolved when handled by a single individual, but may take just a few hours to resolve when several other members employ their unique standpoints and expertise to get things done. These viewpoints will open up several doors to multiple ideas and solutions that a single individual may not be able to come up with.
Collaborating in the workplace enables businesses to finish important projects and meet crucial deadlines efficiently. With multiple individuals working on a project, the work can be divided up equally and efficiently between those with the time and the expertise to handle specific tasks. This also significantly reduces the project delivery time. Often referred to as the divide and conquer strategy, it entails teaming up of several individuals together, dividing up the tasks among them, and accomplishing the project in relatively less time.
Enhance Employee Retention and Job Satisfaction
As mentioned, collaboration brings meaning and adds value to the way team members perceive their job. Because of this, they feel good about what they do. The sense of team spirit is felt most strongly when victories can be shared. Employees are more likely to continue working for a business longer when they have strong ties with the people they work with and feel that they’re a part of something important.
Collaboration Amongst Virtual Teams
While these principles are the same for virtual teams, there are added difficulties when your employees are spread out over different geographical locations or even when all employees live in the same area but some team members work from home. Here, communication is key. Ensuring remote teams are also working during the set work hours is also important. Luckily, time tracking software can easily track employee hours and ensure all team members are pulling their weight.
Progressive companies are increasingly realizing the value of collaboration and looking for ways to foster it within their teams, both traditional and virtual. So if you want to see your business prosper and turn your workforce into productive superheroes, it’s high time you fostered a collaborative spirit among them. The above tips should give you a fair idea of the importance and the benefits of encouraging collaboration among your employees.