Collaboration is key in so many aspects of a successful business.
A study conducted by Deloitte Access Economics found that businesses with a dedicated strategy to promote collaborative behaviours are twice as likely to outgrow competitors and twice as likely to be profitable.
So, why do collaborative businesses get better results? It’s simple really - when businesses collaborate, they get more out of their employees and by extension, their customers and other key stakeholders.
- Employees work 15% faster on average
- 73% do better work
- 60% are more innovative; and
- 56% are more satisfied
Significantly, the study also found that Australian workers spend a mere 10% of their time collaborating with their colleagues. So despite much talk about collaborating better, there is significant upside for many Australian businesses to increase their collaborative behaviours and ultimately business performance!
What actually is collaboration?
Collaboration is employees, customers and other key stakeholders communicating and working together, building on each others’ ideas to produce something new or to do something differently. An organisation that behaves collaboratively unlocks the potential, capacity and knowledge of every employee, customer and stakeholder, thereby generating value, innovation and improving productivity in it the workplace.
The 3 collaboration levers
The Deloitte study found that businesses that embrace collaboration have 3 main levers driving their collaborative strategy:
- Culture and governance - The structure and cultural features of an organisation sets the tone for its collaborative atmosphere.
- Technology - Technology available at the workplace provides a channel through which employees can communicate and collaborate.
- Workplace design - A well-designed workspace can help facilitate collaboration through lowering the barrier to employee interactions and providing readily available collaboration spaces
Even a small consideration to these 3 levers can improve overall growth.
Idea starters for your businesses to start becoming more collaborative
- You can ditch the email and purposely spend time with your employees, customers and other key stakeholders.
- You can develop a collaborative strategy as an adjunct to your business plan using the 3 levers mentioned above. (If you don’t have a collaborative strategy, you are not alone, as over half of the surveyed Australian businesses don’t either).
- You can undertake a series of collaborative workplace workshops and get bottom up buy in and idea generation going.
- You can adopt design thinking and agile practices into your workplace.
Use collaboration as a lens in which you view the choices on the decisions your business makes
A collaborative strategy is not a re-write of your business or annual operating plan. It is a lens or a framework in which you can view and evaluate decision making on an everyday basis. If you are considering renovating your workspaces or perhaps you might be reviewing your bonus schemes, ask yourself how the potential alternative choices might perform in enhancing collaboration.