Cambridge dictionary describes collaboration as ‘the situation of two or more people working together to create or achieve the same thing.’ A collaborative culture elevates productivity, and helps in creating a healthier work environment. When great minds work together, innovation is at its best. Employees are able to utilise their individual strengths in developing strategies, brainstorming and sharing the workload, thus, taking a collective responsibility of work.
For social sector organisations, workplace collaboration is essential as most organisations work with limited resources, in smaller, close-knit teams with employees often having to multitask. Thus, a collaborative culture nurtures the team and provides the much needed support.
But how does one create a culture of collaboration? Here are some suggestions that can help.
Collaborate with different departments
One of way of creating a collaborative work culture is to encourage cross-departmental engagement. This can help employees understand the diversity of work in the organisation and learn more about other teams and its members. Additionally, an exchange of ideas and sharing knowledge with each other helps in the personal growth of employees. For example, Employees of Twitter enjoy working with fellow colleagues, and have a culture that no one leaves until the work is done and deadlines are met.
Empower both individual and organisational benefits
Organisations must understand that individual benefits are as important as their goals. In an editorial article, IEDP writes, ‘Highly collaborative organizations communicate to employees about how they will personally benefit from a collaborative environment—how it will improve their lives and make their jobs easier—as well as how it will take the organization to the next level.’ For each employee to feel empowered, his/her must be able to align their individual goals to the organisational goals.
‘Brainstorming is a great way to encourage new ideas and concepts without filtering or judgment, and it is often used to elicit spontaneous ideas and suggestions to a problem’ writes Hasse Jenson. Regular group discussions and ideation helps employees in critical thinking and problem solving and build a connection with their colleagues.
Invest in collaboration tools
It is essential that management recognises collaboration as a company wide culture and focuses on creating an environment that encourages teamwork and cooperation. Apart from that, there are softwares or online platforms that make it easy for employees to share data, documents and ideas with their colleagues. Some of the popular softwares for sharing data are Slack and Dropbox.
Listen to everyone
A collaborative work culture is one where everyone has a say and gets an opportunity to freely, without prejudice present his/ her thoughts and opinions.
In the recent times, organisations all over the world are focusing on creating a healthy workplace that is focused on supporting employees. Results have proved that a collaborative environment increases employee performance and achievement.