More than ever, organizations are embracing the value of collaboration. Effective collaboration can deliver a multitude of benefits, including increased productivity and innovation.
Despite its benefits and important role in today’s competitive marketplace, many organizations fall victim to “collaboration killers.” To help your organization succeed and reap the benefits of collaboration, we have highlighted three common collaboration obstacles and noted how companies can effectively overcome these challenges.
1. Collaboration doesn’t start at the top. Employee success is a reflection of the culture established by the top executives in the organization. When executives support collaboration and collaborate themselves, employees feel empowered to share ideas, ask questions, and give feedback. This creates a culture of transparency – one in which everyone’s thoughts are welcomed and valued. Without executive buy-in, silos quickly appear, employee morale fades, and innovation declines.
2. Company silos. To build trust and encourage collaboration in the workplace, organizations must break (or prevent) internal silos. Collaboration depends on employees engagement, whether in a different department or managerial level and a sense of value that prompts them to share ideas and opinions. Management can rid organizations of silos and create a transparent environment in a variety of ways. For example, hold weekly “Innovation Hour” sessions where employees are invited to offer suggestions on new product features or company initiatives. Or, ask new hires for feedback on their recent onboarding experiences. Help employees feel engaged, important and valued, and encourage an open and ongoing dialogue, and collaboration will surge.
3. Lack of technology. Collaboration requires a combination of technology and people. With the right technology, people can connect and share knowledge naturally. Employees are able to build relationships across the organization, despite their geographical location. They feel empowered to work together, share ideas, solve problems, and provide feedback.
Not only does collaboration technology benefit employees, but it also provides a huge return on investment. The flexibility afforded to employees by the collaboration technology turns knowledge into action and enables a company’s workforce to perform faster, more efficiently, and more productively. This can result in increased revenue, happier customer experiences, and lower employee turnover rates.
While promoting better collaboration is a common business goal, establishing a culture of collaboration can be extremely challenging. To succeed, businesses must reexamine their company culture. Leadership must encourage – and participate in – collaboration among all employees. Company culture must be built on transparency, trust, and respect. Lastly, organizations must implement strong technology to support their knowledge workers and enable them to communicate and collaborate openly.