The new-age corporate world is increasingly demanding results that require creativity, strategic thinking skills, and a culture that harnesses the highest levels of employee engagement towards company’s shared mission and purpose. After all, we are producing knowledge, designs, and creative solutions to modern problems, not just performing manual tasks in drudgery.
Productivity boosts when people work in synergy. For the organisation to grow in the long-term, talented and competent workers are the best bet. Any short-lived growth doesn’t serve the organisation’s business purpose. That said modelling collaborative behaviour at the highest levels in the organisation holding everyone accountable is warranted.
Regardless of whether it is a small business or a legacy corporation, competition is innovating and driving down costs and value up, and collaboration is the one way to accelerate innovation most effectively. A competitive workforce emerges only after leaders create organisation-wide buy-in from and engagement among employees.
Collaboration starts with shared sense of purpose, trust and company leadership’s set of value systems that are ingrained in the way the organisation operates as a cohesive business unit. In large organisations, this can mean helping employees grow laterally instead of just being confined to their job vertical. Employees can parlay their skills into business results for an organisation by blending their ideas for a project or an assignment that needs a creative, multidimensional perspective. Viewing goals as compatible underpins collaboration in its best form – be it to share knowledge freely, to learn from one another, and even sharing workload.
In smaller organisations, collaboration is fostered through regular social interactions at work, cross-pollinating ideas when coming up with creative solutions for pressing problems, or conducting a collaboration-oriented training programme that cascades down to all the business divisions of the organisation. Focusing on core collaboration skills such as emotional intelligence, team coaching, interpersonal skills, and building relational skills, among others, can help an organisation to build a culture based on common values, collective creativity and outlook.
Promoting multi-generational diversity – be it the traditionalist to baby-boomers to younger workforce-is another obvious way to enliven collaborations. Understanding each individual’s personal life and professional journey and then meshing his/her set of experiences into building consensus or offering a perspective to improve business, creates as an empowered collaborative culture. While differences in convictions, cultural values, and work approach add complexity to an organisation, it also creates unity in command, through rich, innovative and renewed insight.
Instead of relying on short-term performance indicators to boost business growth, the leadership should encourage more innovation through partnering with separate industries, stakeholders and consumers to learn and imbibe the best and bold practices in building a collaborative culture. And although, there is an element of inclusiveness in a collaborative form of culture, the workforce still arrives at decisions and market responsiveness – right and fast. This is because the organisation’s effective leaders assign clear decision, rights and responsibilities, so that at the appropriate point someone can end the discussion and make a final call.
In addition, HR programmes should focus on training employees to operate in a social network of an organisation and engages them in purposeful conversations, in a fluent manner. Aligning each employee’s role and competencies with clarity relative to the ambiguous task sparks collaboration on a fundamental level. That way, employees are more inclined to contribute and share their views from their role’s standpoint, to put some method to the assigned, complex tasks.
In conclusion, strengthening the organisation’s collaborative culture makes its employees mission-ready to solve global business problems, and create a structure of teams based on trust, long-distance cooperation, if working virtually, and diversity.