Characteristics of an Effective Collaboration Process
Today’s workplace is built on collaboration with the goal to bring people across organizations, departments and regions to share ideas, knowledge and expertise working in a coordinated way to achieve a common goal or objective.
According to Zippia, 86% of employees in leadership positions blame lack of collaboration as the top reason for workplace failures. Forbes highlights companies who promote collaborative working are “five times more likely to be high performing” — so it’s imperative to understand how to implement an effective collaboration process to drive a collaborative workforce.
How to Implement an Effective Collaboration Process
Implementing an effective collaboration process requires support and commitment from stakeholders from across the organization, and it can take time and effort to establish the process.
Below we have summarized several key steps on how to implement a collaboration process:
Set clear objectives and outcomes
An effective collaboration process starts with clear goals and a vision of what needs to be achieved. The beginning of the process should involve getting everyone on board with these objectives, as well as agreement to ensure everyone is working toward the same shared goal.
Build strong communication and better relationships
Communication is the key to effective collaboration. By demonstrating effective listening skills, sharing ideas, showing empathy and understanding and supporting other workers you can build trust and develop better working relationships.
Encouraging diversity and inclusion
A diverse team with differing views and perspectives can provide valuable insight and knowledge. This brings a different dynamic to the collaboration process and overall outcome.
Effective collaboration processes need to be flexible to the changing needs of an organization. Employees need to be responsive to the evolving business landscape, adapting to new demands and requests as well as being open to new ideas and feedback that could impact their work and the longer term goal.
Use the right tools & technology
There is a wide scope of tools and technology available to encourage and support collaborative working, communication and coordination. Various factors to consider when choosing the best ones include understanding their compatibility with existing systems, user-friendliness, security, scalability and costs.
Why is Collaboration Important in the Workplace?
Collaboration in the workplace is crucial from an organization’s perspective to help grow and innovate, but it also allows employees to share their ideas, expertise and talent. Create an environment where employees can learn from each other, feel fulfilled and perform better. Other benefits of collaboration include:
Increased productivity - effective collaboration can help increase productivity across the business, and bring disparate teams together to solve problems combining their knowledge and resources to achieve a common goal
Positive team culture - creating a sense of team building by working together can help build trust across teams and establish a sense of belonging which in turn increases productivity, employee engagement and retention
Enhanced creativity - providing the time and space for collaboration can help employees think outside of the box, develop their critical thinking skills and establish different approaches to problem solving. Not only that but by sharing ideas and embracing different perspectives the collaboration process can help foster innovation and creativity in the workplace.
Common Pitfalls When Creating a Collaborative Workplace
While there are many benefits to establishing a collaborative approach in the workplace, there are drawbacks that can develop. Awareness of how to overcome these challenges is useful to maintain a productive working environment.
Conflict and miscommunication
When there is a team working together collaboratively from different departments or functions, there can be conflicting priorities and focus, which can make aligning toward a shared goal difficult — or even impossible. Coupled with misunderstandings or inconsistent communication, this can have a detrimental effect on the collaboration process causing disengagement and withdrawal.
Lack of clear goals
A clear direction and goal should be established from the beginning. This will ensure everyone buys into the approach and is working toward the same goal, avoiding wasted time and effort. Without a clear goal there is no purpose or focus and this will have a negative impact on productivity.
Resistance to change
With change brings opportunity but also fear of the unknown. If there is a lack of trust or confidence, along with poor communication, there will be an uncertainty and reluctance to take part or contribute. It’s worthwhile anticipating these signals and proactively implementing strategies in advance to avoid them.
Individual contributions vs team collaboration
Both approaches are important to achieve success. But it’s important to understand which situation or project requires the power and effectiveness of individual work, versus the leveraged power of a team to achieve a vision or goal. When working collaboratively, both approaches can work — but you need to be able to identify which strategy is appropriate and delivers the most value.
There needs to be an opportunity for feedback in a collaboration process and a way of tracking progress. This evaluation can help identify barriers, areas for improvement, growth or even a change in direction if needed.
Remote teams and virtual meetings
With the shift to more disparate teams, remote working and virtual meetings are now more prevalent as a way to collaborate. While they can be effective, they also bring challenges, such as limited communication and lack of opportunities to build rapport and establish trust. Using a solution that supports face to face interaction and shared collaboration tools can help alleviate these concerns and, with the right solution, increase productivity and enhance communication.
Collaboration Rooms from X2O
Collaboration spaces are flexible environments where workers can come together and connect, communicate and collaborate efficiently and effectively from any location.
At X2O Media we offer a unique approach to collaboration with X2O OneRoom. OneRoom brings people together whether they are physically in a room, or joining remotely to connect and collaborate in an immersive space. The benefit of OneRoom is it offers an equal experience for all participants, and provides a space for dynamic interactions regardless of location or time zone. With its integrated collaboration tools including polls and breakout groups, workers can collaborate in real-time in a productive, engaging space.
If you would like to find out more about how X2O OneRoom could support the collaboration process in your organization please get in touch.