We are living in an era where transformation is faster than ever. Our economy is set to become the fastest growing economies and in such a scenario, change is ubiquitous in every segment of our lives. Over the last decade, the world has witnessed major revolutions that have impacted the way we live, work and play. The world of work has also changed along with the changing dynamics of our economy and society. Today, the business strategy for organizations is to develop diverse teams to propel innovation, divergent thinking, and creativity leading to improved productivity. This has resulted in the creation of a workforce that is cross-cultural, multi-generational, gender-diverse, and most importantly, spread across the world in different locations. Therefore, creating a culture of collaboration is key to creating an engaging and healthy environment.
In an era powered by digital innovation, collaboration is now more profound than ever.
Collaboration can re-invigorate organizations by holistically engaging employees, improving retention, and increasing innovation.
It can help employees thrive in an ever-changing, diverse workplace. The challenge, however, is the fact that a lot of times collaboration is limited to projects and within teams. Therefore, the need of the hour is to create a broader understanding of ‘collaborative and inclusive’ culture that is embedded in the overall organizational goals. It needs to be the way in which people collectively explore ideas to generate solutions that extend beyond the limited vision of a single person.
Collaborative environments are the core of the today’s workplace as opposed to the more competitive models of old workplaces. Not only do positive relationships with co-workers raise job satisfaction, it also ensures employee retention. Fostering collaboration helps companies make the most of their knowledge resources. By putting minds together, team members share a wealth of information and combine their insights in myriad ways.
Some of the key aspects to creating a healthy and collaborative culture in an organization include:
- Teamwork: When a team or department is collaborating smoothly, openly sharing information and communicating seamlessly, they are able to work most effectively. On the other hand, when employees work in individual silos, it can take longer for a team to finish a particular project or task. The most effective workplaces balance individual focus with team collaboration.
- Online tools and platforms: The use of online collaboration tool can improve the output of teams. A study by McKinsey & Company found that improved communication and collaboration through social technologies could raise the productivity of interaction workers by 20 to 25 percent.
- Programs and policies that bring employees together: Employee engagement programs using digital platforms cultivate a culture change to enhance workplace collaboration. These platforms align employees around a shared purpose and vision, and foster the development of interpersonal relationships that make employees more comfortable in engaging in collaborative activities.
- Leveraging digital advancements: Despite all the benefits of working remotely, sometimes it can also leave employees feeling cut off from their co-workers. By fostering a high level of collaboration, a company can ensure that all employees – whether they work from home, headquarters or an overseas office – benefit from real-time information and continual communication. This higher level of engagement means that a company will benefit from the knowledge and expertise of all employees, no matter where they are located.
For collaborative workplace systems to be effective, it is important that collaboration is a consciously valued organizational component—that it is an intrinsic element of the organization’s very existence: structure, culture, leadership style, practices, communication systems, and ways of networking and interacting.