While there are many factors that can play a role in creating the ideal office culture, few things can prove more important than building a culture of collaboration. In fact, Stanford research reveals that working in a collaborative environment makes employees 50% more efficient at completing tasks, while also increasing their engagement and motivation.
It may sound cliché, but it’s true: your team is the lifeblood of your business. Regardless of your industry, building a healthy, collaborative office culture is critical to your company’s bottom line. Positive work cultures have been found to boost productivity, engagement, retention and other vital statistics.
Building a collaborative culture within your business is well worth the effort—and with the right practices, you can quickly strengthen this aspect of your work.
1. Establish a foundation of trust and communication
As a leader, you set the tone for how collaboration can take place within your organization. Similar to establishing strong partnerships with other businesses, an internal collaborative culture needs a solid foundation of consistent communication and transparency.
This does not mean that every employee needs to know the specific details of your company’s finances. But it does mean that you’re sharing information that everyone needs to do their jobs well, rather than trying to unnecessarily restrict access to information. A transparency commitment matrix can help your team determine what to share and with whom.
Establishing a consistent cadence for sharing information can also be helpful. Even something as simple as weekly email updates or check-in meetings with the entire team can keep everyone on the same page and offer more opportunities for collaboration.
2. Create opportunities for a collaborative culture
Collaboration doesn’t happen by accident — especially if you’re still in the middle of transitioning from a system where employees primarily work on independent projects.
As a leader, you can foster collaboration by intentionally designing projects that require a team of employees. This can be especially useful when you create cross-functional work groups, which require members of different departments to work together on a common goal or initiative. Even something as simple as assigning several team members to work together on a project can be beneficial.
As the saying goes, “Experience is the best teacher.”
These early collaborative experiences you create for your team may require additional guidance, but they will serve as the best training ground for learning to work together. As your team gets more comfortable with this process, they’ll be better equipped for cross-functional tasks and more willing to collaborate in smaller ways on their individual tasks.
3. Use technology for seamless collaboration
You are hardly alone in your quest to create a culture of collaboration. For example, a wide range of technology tools such as Slack, Asana and Mural are now available to streamline and streamline the collaboration process, whether you all share the same office space or work remotely. One trend that many companies are turning to is the use of no-code, low-code business process management platforms that can be uniquely tailored to individual teams.
Jason Drinen, practice leader at ExpressAbility, explains how custom business applications can go a long way in fostering more meaningful collaboration. “Processes and productivity suffer when teams don’t have a way to collaborate, they don’t have process visibility or a way to simply make their individual contributions. To avoid this, business tools must be adapted to the team so that collaboration is truly seamless. When companies use low-code BPM platforms, they can achieve rapid software development that matches tasks to people, not the other way around. This allows companies to better respond to a dynamic market with collaboration that really increases their productivity.”
4. Evaluate and revise
As with any other change or initiative your company undertakes, you should regularly evaluate your processes for building a culture of collaboration. Before, during, and after you begin emphasizing collaboration, you should assess your business processes to identify areas that are too individual-oriented, as well as areas where your current systems or processes make collaboration difficult.
Feedback from your employees will be critical in this endeavor. Gathering feedback from your team can help you identify gaps in your effort to build a culture of collaboration, as well as opportunities for better collaboration. Even better, the process of gathering feedback itself will improve collaboration by helping your team feel more comfortable communicating and finding solutions together.
Of course, once you’ve conducted your own assessments and gathered feedback from this team, the next step is to review your processes so you can facilitate collaboration. Make sure the “audit” process itself is collaborative, gathering insights and recommendations from all stakeholders to ensure your new solutions are truly effective for everyone.
Achieve more with a collaborative culture
Building a culture of collaboration within your company can take a fair amount of effort, especially if your organization has previously focused on individual-oriented tasks.
But as you actively strive to create a more collaborative culture, your team will be able to thrive like never before. From unlocking creativity to simply improving job satisfaction and engagement, a collaborative culture will help you get better results from your team — and yourself.