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Updated May 16, 2024

Collaboration Improves Workplace Performance. Here’s How to Encourage It

Collaboration improves workplace performance. Here’s how to encourage it.

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Jennifer Post, Senior Writer & Expert on Business Strategy
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Workplace collaboration often makes the difference between happy, engaged employees and bored, unproductive ones. If you want employees to reach their maximum potential, you must create an environment filled with healthy collaboration. This guide explains the significant benefits of collaboration, provides tips for encouraging it in the workplace, and highlights the best collaboration tools for business.

How to encourage employee collaboration in the workplace

If you are looking for ways to encourage collaboration among your team, here are some strategies to try.

Encourage teamwork as part of your company culture.

Generally, performance management systems are designed around individual achievements rather than team accomplishments. Although it is certainly important to recognize and reward individual achievements, companies shouldn’t forget that rewarding team collaboration can pay off in a huge way.

Businesses should do all they can to incorporate collaboration as a large part of their company culture. Make it clear that collaboration is the minimum standard, and emphasize that every team member plays a vital role in the business’s success. [Read related: 5 Reasons Why Teamwork Is Crucial to Workplace Success]

Leverage employee strengths.

To create a culture of collaboration, managers and leaders need a realistic and honest idea of each employee’s strengths, abilities and weaknesses.

To encourage collaboration, allow each team member to play to their strengths. This way, tasks will be completed more often and to a higher standard, and employees will be happier with their assigned tasks. 

Once managers have a good idea of employees’ interests and skills, they can build teams based on these strengths so that team players complement and depend on one another. That way, if one employee knows they have a weakness in one area, they know who can help move the project forward.

Do away with competitive performance ratings.

If your company still uses performance ratings, say goodbye to that old-fashioned method of ranking and rating team members. It has been shown that performance ratings don’t work as a means of motivation. Moreover, they can be terrible for collaboration, especially if they are used in conjunction with a “rank and yank” system. After all, why would one employee help another if they are competing against that person or worried about losing their job to someone who performs better?

You’re better off transitioning to subjective, forward-thinking and regular employee one-to-ones, where employees will feel more comfortable discussing their strengths, weaknesses and objectives.

FYIDid you know
Some level of workplace competition can be healthy, as long as it is encouraged and managed strategically. Check out our guide to ensuring healthy workplace competition.

Unite employees with your company’s values.

Company values are essential to any performance management system and any business in general. They ultimately affect every aspect of your business, including whom you hire and keep on the team. A company with a firm grasp of its own values will ultimately develop a team of like-minded people who feel united by a sense of solidarity and community. This makes collaboration much easier and more natural, so take great care when you’re considering and nurturing your company’s values.

Be transparent with company goals, and show employees how they contribute.

Collaboration and teamwork need to start at the top. Be open and honest about the company’s direction and goals, including all issues and concerns the company might be facing. This will help show employees that you take them seriously and you consider them valuable and productive members of the team. Armed with this knowledge, employees can make informed day-to-day decisions that support company objectives, thereby cultivating a culture of collaboration.

Give your employees the software they need to communicate and collaborate.

Modern software can improve communication and collaboration. You can use collaboration software, such as Slack, to help employees interact and exchange feedback and advice on a given topic. You can also use performance management tools to arrange and track one-on-ones between managers and employees. This way, everyone can exchange valuable and meaningful feedback while remaining up to date on objectives and workplace concerns.

How collaboration benefits workplace performance

Employers find that collaboration offers these advantages:

Improved workplace performance and engagement

Highly collaborative teams experience higher performance and engagement.

“Encouraging collaboration is a great way to get your employees more engaged as they’re working together more than they normally would on a common goal,” Kyle MacDonald, vice president of marketing and business development at Mojio, told us. “While working with employees they may not normally work with, there’s also the opportunity to expand their skill sets and to learn new skills from employees from different teams, all at no cost to the company.”

Reduced employee turnover

Companies that promote collaboration and communication also have reduced employee turnover and higher job satisfaction than those that don’t. Encouraging collaboration reflects a high level of trust from higher-ups at a company.

Did You Know?Did you know
According to Deloitte, highly collaborative workers are 17 percent more likely to feel like their ideas are valued in the workplace.

James Lloyd-Townshend, chairman and CEO of Tenth Revolution Group, said disagreement is an often-overlooked part of collaboration. 

“We all have different perspectives and ideas, so it’s unrealistic to expect every discussion to always flow smoothly to an ideal outcome,” Lloyd-Townshend said. “But your staff need to feel well supported and comfortable so they can contribute safely to the collective conversation. This means fostering an environment where everyone is given a chance to voice their opinion. So, while social collaboration tools are useful, it’s the culture and relationships within a workplace that will have the biggest impact when it comes to successful collaboration.”

Employees want to stay at a company where their opinion is not only encouraged but valued. 

Improved morale

In a collaborative environment, workers feel more excited about sharing their ideas, especially if those ideas are well received. 

“Collaboration benefits businesses because team members can motivate each other through shared ideas, and ultimately have a positive impact on each other’s productivity,” said Adam Rossi, owner of TotalShield. That positivity has wide-reaching benefits for the whole company.

This goal is more difficult to achieve for remote workers, since there is less face time. 

“In order to keep everyone informed, coordinated and connected, it is even more important to encourage cooperation and engage distant teams,” said Vincent Amodio, CEO of Icon Medical Centers. “When workers who are physically separated from one another start to feel alone and lonely, it has a chilling effect on their motivation, creativity and commitment.”

Skye Schooley contributed to this article.

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Jennifer Post, Senior Writer & Expert on Business Strategy
Jennifer Post brings a decade of expertise to her role as a trusted advisor for small business owners. With a strong foundation in marketing, funding, human resources and more, she teaches entrepreneurs about the software and tools necessary for launching and scaling successful ventures. From email marketing platforms to CRM systems, she ensures businesses have the technological edge they need to thrive while also sharing best practices for everyday operations. Post's recent focus on risk management and insurance underscores her commitment to equipping business owners with the services needed to safeguard their businesses for long-term success. Her advice has appeared in Fundera, The Motley Fool and HowStuffWorks.
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