Collaboration Among Employees
Published: September 29, 2021
Updated: January 5, 2022
By Rick Lamb in Workplace Collaboration
How can you maximize productivity through effective team building and communication?
Why is employee collaboration important?
Collaboration allows employees to work together to achieve more in a shorter time. Many projects have a deadline that is sooner than it would take an individual to complete a task on their own. And businesses combine the skills of experts in different fields to achieve their goals.
- The sales team and product team come together to add another feature and close that big deal.
- The marketing team collaborates with data scientists to create the most attention-grabbing headline.
- A programmer and an animator work together to create the player controls of a hit video game.
As humans only when we build relationships and there is trust within groups can we work for the common good. A group of people following their individual interests will rarely achieve good outcomes. The intrinsic goals of the individual need to be managed such that they align with the common goals of the project and business.
What are the challenges of collaboration in the workplace?
Collaboration is a necessity in a modern organization, but many problems exist that make it a constant struggle in the workplace.
- The number one issue is scaling communication
As a team grows the number of channels of communication grows quadratically– a team of 10 already has 45 different pairs, a team of 100 has 4950. The human brain, on average, cannot cope much above 150. (Dunbar’s Number)
- Overcoming conflict and building trust
Team size can affect the relationships amongst employees. There are deep-seated human behavioral tendencies that cause conflict in larger groups. At a group size of 11 or 12, arguments and mistrust begin to materialize.
- Lack of clear vision or mismatched goals
It is difficult to keep individual and near-term team goals aligned with completing the overall project.
What strategies can help facilitate collaboration?
The following ideas can be used to improve the chances of achieving good collaboration between employees.
- Split into small teams
Teams of 7 are the best compromise between having enough people to achieve goals and avoiding communication problems. Any necessary communication between these smaller teams should be strictly limited. It needs to be structured, not too frequent, and meetings should preferably be chaired by a third party to allow for their different points of view.
- Set individual and team goals
Goals should be communicated to each team separately. Concentrate on the team’s and each individual’s goals and how that leads towards the overall project completion in context. Common goals can be a very powerful force in team-building activities.
- Recognize individuals at team meetings and teams at larger meetings
People often crave recognition, but it is a balancing act since there is also a negative aspect for all people not recognized. If needed, recognize individuals at team meetings, not at larger organization meetings. Quickly talking about the achievements of a couple of teams in a larger meeting is a good compromise. Focussing on team success is more helpful in encouraging collaboration. Showing that helping your team members is the way to receive recognition and praise in the organization.
Implementing better collaboration and teamwork strategies will improve productivity for the company. and improve workplace relationships. This collaborative environment will maximize employee engagement and lead to better problem-solving in collaborative work.