Collaboration is a hot topic among managers and business owners alike these days. From the rise of social intranets to an increase in workspaces designed specifically with collaboration in mind, the quest for a more integrated and teamwork-driven workforce is at the forefront of everyone’s mind.
Now, we’re not just saying this because our PR and integrated communications firm has represented numerous technologies that help improve and enable collaboration. From social intranet platform to cloud-based project management tools, we’re well acquainted with the benefits office collaboration.
Beyond our first-hand personal experience however, unbiased research has also confirmed the benefits of an office that works more closely together. Collaboration has been found to foster innovation, increase a sense of community and drive efficiency.
One of our favorite “definitions” we’ve heard of collaboration is that it’s not about giving up your individuality but about realizing your potential. “It’s about bringing your many gifts to the table and sharing them in pursuit of a common goal,” according to collaboration expert Megan Biro.
This is why we’re highly in favor of an integrated team to help businesses achieve their goals. Uniting internal teams as well as external partners, such as a PR agency, marketing agency or inbound specialists, that are experts in their field, can help you reap the various benefits of collaboration to move your brand forward.
1. Empower Employees to Learn From Each Other
Collaboration is a great opportunity for employees to learn from their colleagues and develop their skills so they can better contribute to the organization as a whole. Being exposed to different departments and skill sets during collaborative meetings and sessions that are outside of their areas of expertise will give employees a more holistic view of the business, as well as give them a chance to pick up on knowledge that can help them improve their own departments.
2. Stimulate Innovation and Problem Solving
Ideas thrive when they’re on fertile ground. What might be a seed of an idea in one employee’s head could be developed into something more complete and robust in a collaborative environment. After all, two (or multiple!) heads are better than one. Gathering a variety of employees with a range of skills and expertise will help a team reach a solution more quickly, or bring a seed of an idea to fruition.
3. Work More Efficiently
Collaboration has the potential to make projects more efficient. When multiple teams and departments are brought together, it’s easier to delegate responsibilities and align tasks with the most qualified (and effective) people to complete them. Dividing and conquering can not only result in work that’s finished sooner, but work that’s better as well. And when you collaborate with external partners and vendors that specialize in areas outside of your expertise, you have more time and effort to focus on performing internal tasks better and more efficiently.
4. Increase Job Satisfaction
Experienced professionals will tell you that improvements in the ability to share resources and work together will increase employee job satisfaction. A spirit of collaboration helps employees create strong bonds with their colleagues, a factor shown to improve productivity, company loyalty and happiness at work.
5. Reduce Costs
When done right, cross-team collaboration can also help an organization reduce costs in the long run. Collaborating with an external vendor that is an expert in a particular field, for example, ensures that the work is done efficiently and effectively the first time around. Different teams that collaborate on a project together can pool more resources and eliminate duplicative costs or redundancies.
Successful collaboration is easier said than done. Mixing opinions, personalities, priorities and preferences can be a recipe for disaster, but it’s a necessary hurdle to overcome in the name of improved business outcomes.