A collaborative environment is the future. And millennials would definitely vouch for that. 88 percent of this workforce says they prefer a collaborative over a competitive workplace. And by 2030, millennials will comprise 75% of the workforce. You connect the dots.
With social media ruling their lives, millennials have this need to always stay “connected.” As a result, they expect the same things from their organisations and peers. They feel good when peers share their work and their team supports their actions.
Working with a group of people gives them a sense of unity and fulfils their need for “being connected.” You might call this a need for constant validation, but it can be used to cause great wonders in business.
Why A Collaborative Workforce Is Better Than A Competitive One
When employees work solo, they have access to limited sources and resources to finish a task. But, with collaborative teams, employees can have a well of ideas, resources and perspectives which they can pool together to achieve targets.
In a competitive workplace, employees try to hoard off each other's ideas and win credits. But a collaborative workplace will nine out of ten times positively impact the company's bottom line. Collaboration makes employees better engaged with their work and makes them more focused.
Here’s how it’s exactly better than a competitive workplace or workforce-
People Trust Each Other
Building trust among employees is important and a collaborative workplace paves the way for this trust to nurture. Trust is “reliance on the character, ability, strength, or truth of someone or something.” This means that when people work together as a team, they trust each other with actions and decisions.
When people trust each other, they open up. The Journal For Knowledge Management says that people are more likely to share ideas and plans if they trust their team members. When employees trust each other, they discuss and arrive at decisions together.This means that encouraging collaboration can bring employees closer and improve workplace communication.
If you want a group of people to achieve the same goal, they need to communicate with each other. And cloud-based communication tools make it easy to successfully collaborate.
Remote working and the gig economy is on the rise because of cloud-based technology. This new-age tech has allowed remote workers to work from anywhere around the globe.
Features like instant messaging, video conferencing, allow for easy and instant communication.Real-time communication features help teams stay connected and in the loop of the progress of their work.
When employees communicate with each other regularly, new ideas and perspectives flourish. Communication saves time that otherwise could have been lost in misinterpretation. It gives room for dialogue,discussions, and causes an exchange of better ideas. When team members back each other’s ideas, it boosts that employee’s confidence and makes him feel a part of his team.
Lowers Fatigue Levels
When you're in a team, it’s not an individual's responsibility to come up with all the strategies and ideas. Instead, the whole team pitches in to come up with an action plan that can work. For collaboration to run smoothly, the manager should assign tasks equally and fairly.
In a collaborative workplace, teams share the blame when something goes wrong. Instead of blaming one person for the loss, they work together on their shortcomings.
Efficient Problem Solving
Working together increases every employee's increases efficiency and saves time. When different people are involved in fulfilling the same goal, different minds focus on the same problem and come up with diverse solutions. As a result, a wide range of possible solutions come up for the problem. All that the team now has to do is decide collectively on the best approach to target the problem.
In addition, employees can learn great problem solving and decision-making skills from their peers.
How Can You Create A Collaborative Workplace
Establish Your Goals
Give your team a purpose bigger than themselves to bring their A-game and achieve the goals. You need to align your vision and purpose to convince your employees to join and work as a team. Explain to them the “why” of the work they will be doing and what they will achieve as a team if they achieve their targets.
You can also share and discuss your purpose with your team. Before the project starts, you can have a run down with the team and discuss the goals of the work. You can ask the team to come up with ideas and possible loopholes in the purpose.
Set Clear Expectations
If team members are unsure of the goals and what is expected of them, they can become clueless and lose direction. This will make the project time-consuming and reduce productivity.
To avoid this, set the objectives early. Set and delegate individual and tasks collectively which they will be responsible for. When employees will know what their goal is, they will use their skills to work more efficiently.
Converting this individual goal-setting into a teamis a great way to build collaborative workplaces. Peers share the responsibility of helping each other reach their targets.This builds camaraderie, boosts morale and helps in building a collaborative workplace.
Setting expectations beforehand ensures that everyone is aware of each other's objectives. Doing this makes sure that employees won’t try to take credit for work the other has done. It also ensures that teams don’t waste time by accidentally doing each other’s work.
Embrace The Cloud
Workplaces are moving from traditional to become digital workplaces. Work-life balance has been replaced by work-life integration. New age employees like remote workers, digital nomads and millennials are taking over the workforce.
To stay afloat with the fast changing workplace, employers need to accept cloud-based technology. Cloud-based collaboration tools are the glue that’s going to keep this dynamic workforce together.
To create a collaborative environment where employees can always stay connected, you can use-
- project management tools like Basecamp
- communication tools like Snapcomms, Slack
- video conferencing, instant messaging mobile apps like Skype
Share Accountability And Responsibility
Working in a team means sticking with each other through good and bad times. Every team member is responsible for the success or defeat of the group. Since it’s a team effort and everyone is putting in the same amount of effort, everyone is accountable for their actions.
For a collaborative workplace to thrive, peers should hold responsibility for their actions instead of blaming others. When teams share accountability, it builds trust and respect among them.
Reward Collaborative Behaviour
Give recognition where it’s due. When teams deliver which takes the business closer towards its goals, celebrate them. Let them know that it was because of every one of them that the objective was fulfilled. Recognise their achievements which enabled the business reached its desired outcome. This will make them feel valued and will motivate them to work harder the next time.
You can do it by documenting their time spent on the project through pictures and videos. You can also take them out to lunch or dinner.
Here at Vantage Circle, we reward performers with points which they can use as per their wish to buy products and services.
Conduct Team Bonding Activities
This is a great way for new employees to meet each other, existing employees to mingle with people from other departments and to just let off some steam.
Team building activities are also a great way to enable employees to acquire some important workplace skills. These skills include communication, decision making, problem solving, strategising and more.
When people team up with people they haven’t worked with before, it can sometimes change their perception about that person for the better. These activities brings people across departments, across ranks and new hires closer.
People can work with each other only when they trust and are comfortable with each other. And to build trust, employees should be transparent with each other. They need to let their teammates in on any activity they are doing relating to the project and share the progress with everyone.
Being transparent and clear about their intentions will only bring the team closer. It will build interpersonal relationships among peers. And it’s not just from peers that they expect transparency but also their leaders. When employees feel their employers are keeping information from them, it affects their relationship but also weakens their confidence. It makes employees feel their employer or peer doesn’t value them enough to let them in on the complete truth. It makes them question their worth in the organisation.
Therefore, always encourage employees and executives to share the complete information with their team.
Foster Innovation and New Ideas
For any new idea to initiate and flourish, the person who has the idea needs to feel assurance that their ideas will be discussed and considered. If they feel their ideas won’t be valued or laughed at, they will naturally hesitate to participate in the team’s activities.
For this, encourage employees to come up with as many ideas and strategies they can come up with. Every idea will be given the same consideration and that it’s pros and cons will be weighed by the whole team.
Cross-Functional Work Groups
Sometimes it might happen that a project requires a lot of time and effort. To make this process feasible and get the desired result, you can divide people into cross-functional work groups.
A cross-functional team is “ a group of people with different functional expertise working towards a common goal.” Therefore, you can divide who have editing and photoshop skills in the creative team, marketing for promoting and publicizing the project and so on.
Doing so ensures that the project has been divided into the required sub-divisions and people have been strategically grouped to use their skills. It makes sure that all aspects of the project have been covered and that work happens quickly and efficiently.
When you set expectations and objectives, it’s important to keep a record and track every employee’s progress. To do this, you can let the entire team know that their performance will be measured on a following set of categories.
Time tracking metrics can figure out the time taken to complete a task and if changes are needed to improve the efficiency. Other metrics can figure out if some members are working more than others and so on. It can also be used to figure out if employees are getting stuck at some task and if they’d need training to improve their performance.
A collaborative environment not only ensures that employees learn about teamwork and team spirit, but it also allows them to learn from each other and acquire new skills. In a collaborative workplace, employees are much more accepting and trusting towards each other. This helps build a healthy work environment where every employee can flourish.
Decoding and Driving Employee Engagement