The business benefits of collaboration: creating value.

By Kevin DUCHEYNE

Collaboration can mean different things, depending on whom you are asking for a definition. Nevertheless, it is one of the key factors to many success stories that we here at LSBC know. Whether it’s team collaboration, or B2B collaboration, the mutual engagement of the participants in a coordinated effort to solve a problem can boost (if done right) the successful outcome of any endeavor. So, when your employees work closely together or your business collaborates closely with sub-contractors and suppliers, increased productivity will one of the business benefits of collaboration—while collectively chasing similar targets.

Obviously, this won’t ensure smooth sailing from day one. The decision to focus on collaboration and not on the competitive business as usual model, will require some time and trying out different methods. Finding the perfect fit for your employees and B2B collaboration [1] effort is worth the effort it requires. In this article, you can find some pointers that you can reflect on or start working on immediately. A 2014 report from Deloitte (commissioned by Google), “The Collaborative Economy [2],” goes more into detail on the business benefits of collaboration. Just as a little incentive, we shared some interesting conclusions mentioned in the 2014 report from Deloitte below:

When employees collaborate:

  • They work 15% faster, on average;
  • 73% to do better work;
  • 60% are innovative; and
  • 56% are more satisfied.

Businesses with a collaborative strategy are:

  • Twice as likely to outgrow their competitors; and
  • More likely to improve their profit

The most effective drivers of collaboration are:

  • Technology tools like videoconferencing and real-time electronic document management;
  • Having the right corporate strategy and human resources policies in place.

Some other business benefits of collaboration are:

  • It is time-saving.
  • The quality of the provided services or products increases.
  • New ideas surface organically.
  • Employee retention improves (improved morale).
  • Your business becomes more attractive to top talent.
  • Productivity improves.
  • Communication improves.
  • Increased transparency.
  • Improved flexibility of your organization.

Three strategic focuses that help you reap the business benefits of collaboration and create value:

1. Culture governance, structure, and strategy

The culture governance, structure, and strategy of your business will set the tone. A strategy is essential to increase collaboration successfully. Our first suggestion would be to make sure that you invest in employee experience (EX). Create a welcoming environment that inspires your employees to create meaningful relationships with their colleagues—encouraging them to collaborate and participate. Secondly, empower your employees. Envision a culture that provides autonomy, which positively affects your employees’ productivity and overall happiness. Thirdly, make sure to communicate the strategy you will implement while collectively working toward that common goal. Establishing the company’s vision of effective teamwork is of vital importance.

Furthermore, emphasize that you value your employees’ ideas. Make sure that your company’s culture encourages them to negotiate, be interactive, and build on each other’s ideas. Consequently, you will unlock every employee’s potential, creativity, and knowledge. Hence, creating value, boost innovation, and increase productivity.

2. Workplace design

Make sure that you limit the barriers that inhibit employee interactions. So, do not create isolated silos in which individuals or teams can hardly collaborate. Thus, you should carefully design the work-place. Make it easy for your employees to ask for help or find another perspective when they are stuck. For example, make sure that there are spaces available where colleagues can brainstorm or schedule a whiteboard session with their team. A well-designed space will assist them with problem-solving. To summarize, designing a cohesive, open workplace is a win-win for all parties involved. It might even organically create ad hoc mix-skilled teams—able to tackle projects which require a mix of skill sets and areas of expertise.

“Teamwork is the ability to work together toward a common vision. The ability to direct individual accomplishments toward organizational objectives. It is the fuel that allows common people to attain uncommon results.”

Andrew Carnegie (Scottish-American industrialist, and philanthropist)

3. Technology

There is plenty of SaaS technology out there that can improve the collaborative efforts you want to implement in your business. Adopting omnichannel solutions through which your employees can communicate and collaborate is crucial to develop the engagement and participation you want to encourage in your organization. Technology is a vital component to empower your employees and develop a collaborative culture. Besides, the right alternative channels of communication and platforms to collaborate might bring everyone closer to each other and fine-tune the overall mission of your company.

In conclusion, collaboration is not the last resort. It should be part of your company’s DNA, a critical component of your strategy. Or in other words, it should be a determining factor as to how you operate your business. Just keep in mind that the more minds work on a given project from the start, the easier it will be to spot problems and solve them efficiently. Collaboration will even help you to guide your business through the COVID-19 pandemic. Additionally, one of the business benefits of collaboration is that it adds perspective and insight that is not your own. As a consequence, you grow, and simultaneously you grow your company too.

Do not forget to sign up for our newsletter if you enjoyed reading this article and would like to receive our updates in your mailbox.


REFERENCES:

[1]: Obafemi A. Akintan and Morledge R. (2013). ‘Improving the Collaboration between Main Contractors and Subcontractors within Traditional Construction Procurement (paper).‘ Hindawi Publishing Corporation, London, United Kingdom.

[2]: Deloitte Access Economics team (2014). ‘The Collaborative Economy (report).‘ Deloitte, Sydney, Australia.