What's the point of all the focus on collaboration?
According to a white paper by UNC Kenan-Flagler Business School, when collaboration permeates the entire organization, there are huge benefits to your bottom line, which includes engaged employees, retention and attraction of talent, increased velocity, and profitability.
But these aren't the only benefits of team collaboration. We took a look at our own experience, how internal, external, and virtual collaboration in Wrike has impacted the company, and we realized that a collaborative culture is actually the single most potent element for an organization's survival.
The 11 Benefits of Team Collaboration
Here are each of the 11 benefits we've pinpointed and why teamwork is crucial to every company's day-to-day dealings:
1. Improved Flexibility of the Organization
When collaboration improves, so too does the organization's ability to handle sudden change. Teamwork makes it easier to pivot when customer preferences change or disruptive technologies enter the scene.
In fact, teamwork and collaboration are the foundations of work methodologies such as Agile and Scrum, which allow teams to be more flexible and responsive.
2. Engaged Employees
"Unfortunately, only 33% of employees in the US are engaged," says Nick Sanchez, Chief People Officer at Namely. "Which means that if you’re not proactively working on employee engagement, your company could be at risk."
And one of the best ways to get workers to engage is to improve teamwork, which builds the spirit of camaraderie in your teams.
Widespread collaboration leads to fully engaged workers eager to take on new projects, and who embrace change not as another burden but as a challenge that will take them to the next level.
3. Healthier Employees
How can good teamwork improve worker health, you ask?
Well, according to Harvard Business Review, if you really want to improve everyone’s wellness, then create a values-based culture — a culture driven by collaboration and professionalism. When you treat employees as people instead of cogs in a machine, and ensure their managers focus on positive interactions, then you can say goodbye to those deadly levels of stress that lead to toxic health conditions.
Many studies point to the ineffectiveness of health and wellness programs forced upon workers. Why not improve collaboration and culture instead?
4. More Productive Meetings
Efficient collaboration results in more efficient meetings. With proactive teamwork enriching the corporate culture, workers need fewer meetings as they accomplish their tasks and use tools to document work progress or delegate work yet to be done. And when meetings must be held, there is more proactive information sharing, more engagement, more support for each other's efforts.
The video below demonstrates one question you need to ask at every meeting in order to make them more productive:
Read more: Lead Effective Weekly Meetings in Wrike
5. More Attractive to Top Talent
Collaboration gives your firm a competitive advantage when attracting top talent. Highly motivated job prospects want to be able to work under people they respect and whom they feel they can learn from.
According to research on millennials in the workplace, conducted by PwC, "Millennials relish the opportunity to engage, interact and learn from senior management."
Thus if you have a collaborative culture already baked into your company, you have the foundation for attracting top talent — especially from the younger generation.
Read more: 3 Things Every Workplace Needs to Attract Top Millennial Talent (Inc)
6. Accelerated Business Velocity
With a collaborative culture, you gain the ability to bring products to the market faster. Teamwork and communication speed up the entire process and make it easier to produce anything. The entire organization's ability to create value accelerates as a result.
Just ask emerging tech company Tactus, who reduced their Scrum periods by 80%, effectively turning what was originally a week-long Scrum period into a single day. By implementing a work management tool, they were able to check various projects' statuses online anytime they needed to, which allowed them to move onto next steps faster.
7. Higher Retention Rates
What's the great thing about better employee engagement? Happier, more fulfilled workers. Why would they leave if their work is fulfilling, if the people they work with are all generous team players, and if they're getting the recognition they crave?
Not that collaboration automatically leads to all the above, but what it does is set the foundation for a more open culture within the workplace. And it is this culture that keeps people loyal and committed to your organization.
8. Innovative Ideas
Sure, collaboration is never easy. It generates as much friction as it does productive output. But the silver lining of all that friction between conflicting personalities and work styles? It generates dynamic, innovative ideas. And without those new and vibrant ideas, your organization dies a mediocre death. Look at Yahoo! for an example of this.
Read more: Why Collaboration Leads to Higher-Impact Innovations (Nielsen)
9. Better Alignment with Stakeholders
When you talk about collaboration, it's a good idea to specially focus on external collaboration with your customers, partners, and vendors — the stakeholders whom your project and your product directly affect.
If you are able to leverage their feedback into your product development process, then there will be better alignment between the customer’s actual needs and your product’s features. Win-win.
Read more: Why Collaboration is Crucial to Success (Fast Company)
10. Enhanced Individual Productivity
According to a study by McKinsey & Company, implementing collaborative processes and networking tools improved productivity by 20-30% in global software development teams. And California chipmaker Xilinx reported a 25% increase in engineer productivity by using tools that encouraged peer-to-peer collaboration.
When any teams uses tools or processes that make teamwork and team communication more efficient, individual workers' goals are met faster and with higher quality results.
11. Increased Profitability
And then of course, there's the bottom line. Collaboration improves it. Because after recruiting all the superstar geniuses, and building a culture worthy of their skills, they get to work generating the innovative ideas that will propel you forward and that bring home the bacon. Everyone happy.
Sounds too simplistic? Perhaps. But when Google For Work and Raconteur asked what changes would have the greatest impact on their organization’s overall profitability, 56% of respondents ranked a collaboration-related measure as the #1 factor.
Read more: Collaboration is Good for Business (Raconteur)
Now, Get To Work on Your Teamwork
If you've made this far in the article, then you know collaboration is the one ingredient that your organization must have in order for every other element — talent, innovation, productivity, profitability — to fall into place. It's crucial to your survival.
So get to work on making your workplace a dynamo of collaborative individuals!
And to help jump start your efforts, we have many more articles to bookmark. Good luck!