Team collaboration is essential for productivity and success. Discover what it is, how it works, and why it’s crucial for modern businesses.
Remember those group projects at school? Some students thrived on them, while others dreaded the prospect. Well, although the idea may still fill some with apprehension, it’s important to recognise that team collaboration is a fundamental aspect of the business world. Nearly 75% of employers rate both collaboration and teamwork as very important, showing a clear emphasis on the role that team collaboration can play on the fortunes of their organisation. However, 39% of employees believe that there isn’t enough of it going on in their own company at the moment, meaning that businesses must do more to satisfy the workforce’s need to work more closely with their colleagues.
Despite everyone having different skills, personalities, and opinions, creating an environment that supports positive relationships between employees and clearly defines goals can bring about some fantastic results for businesses. Through effective collaboration tools, businesses can reach a new level of efficiency as employees can bring out the best not just in themselves, but in their colleagues as well. Creating a culture that champions a collaborative spirit can prove to be beneficial for everyone involved.
What exactly is ‘team collaboration’?
In its simplest form, team collaboration is a group of people coming together to focus their efforts on a shared goal. Each person brings their own set of skills and knowledge to the table, sharing workloads while continuously developing ideas and methods on how to obtain the best possible solution to the task at hand. Whether they’re face to face or on a video call, team members can join forces and begin to combine their strengths to work towards that shared objective they all want to achieve.
It’s easy to confuse ‘team collaboration’ with ‘teamwork,’ but there are distinct differences between the two. While team collaboration sees employees working together as a unified collective, teamwork focuses more on individuals fulfilling their own objectives and responsibilities. Moreover, collaboration doesn’t rely on hierarchy or appointed leaders, with each team member expected to contribute their skills, whereas teamwork requires coordination to figure out precise roles and responsibilities.
The overall goal of team collaboration and teamwork also differs, in that team collaboration seeks to develop creative solutions through the exchanging of ideas, while teamwork focuses on achieving a specific purpose. There’s no doubt that both are fundamental for any business, but it is vital to understand their differences to know which approach suits a particular situation better. While they share similarities, distinguishing between them can significantly impact a team’s overall efficiency.
The factors that enable good team collaboration
Setting the goal of getting your employees to start working with one another more closely may appear to be one that can be easily achieved, but that’s not necessarily the case. As already stated, everyone has their own style in working and may not be as receptive to the idea as their colleagues. Both business and team leaders must implement a number of key factors that give employees the means to adopt team collaboration and start to enjoy the successes it can bring. But what are these factors?
Understanding a colleague’s skills and knowing what goal everyone is working towards is certainly a good base to build successful team collaboration. Transparency is vital, and making sure that everyone knows the task at hand can be extremely beneficial. When everyone understands the value behind their work, it fosters a sense of purpose and motivation that can drive success, better understand how far they have progressed towards completing that shared goal, and know what else needs to be done to make sure it’s completed.
By determining a reason to work together, employees can begin to find common ground and, if any problems arise, they can be dealt with quickly without derailing the efforts of the collective. That ability to compromise and solve disagreements for the ‘greater good’ can also determine the success of a project of this nature, as effective conflict resolution strategies can keep the focus on that final objective without jeopardising overall efficiency.
Keeping employees engaged also helps to boost the overall productivity of the team, with certain incentives making sure that every single person remains interested in the project. Identifying and harnessing each team member’s unique strengths ensures a consistent delivery of value to both colleagues and the shared goal. Providing that reassurance in how valuable the work they’re doing can give employees a feeling of self-worth and gratitude for having their positive attributes acknowledged. It all helps to build that inclusive spirit that team collaboration champions.
It’s also important to make sure that everyone is accountable and ready to take full ownership of their role within the process. Letting others pick up the slack and divert their own time and resources from their original responsibility is detrimental to the overall effort, which can leave employees feeling stressed by having to increase their own workload. Those expectations can keep team members on track, ensuring that nobody falls behind and the risk of failing to deliver on their shared goal doesn’t become a reality.
A diverse set of skills gives teams an edge when closely collaborating with one another, since a more integrated and holistic approach provides a brand-new way to let innovation flourish. By being able to leverage a wider range of perspectives and expertise, employees can be handed some in-depth insights into how their colleagues operate, which allows them to better understand the strengths and weaknesses of those they’re working alongside. Moreover, creating a culture that celebrates flexibility and receptiveness to the ideas and critiques of others allows innovation to thrive and prosper, putting the wheels of team collaboration firmly in motion. Once that creativity begins to flow, it can be pretty hard to stop!
But what truly enables good team collaboration is the way that colleagues communicate. It can be done in the same room, or with tools that supercharge voice and video collaboration; the ability to share information in real-time is vital. With 56% of employers using collaboration tools to communicate, there is a clear trend in what the future of team collaboration looks like. At the end of the day, it’s down to businesses to take full advantage of them. Knowing the factors that enable good team collaboration is one thing, but understanding the benefits it brings when done right can give you an incentive to start promoting it within your own workforce sooner rather than later.
How can team collaboration make a difference to your business?
Flexibility and camaraderie for remote workers
In the emerging era of hybrid work, accommodating the needs of employees with evolving work patterns is crucial. Implementing collaboration tools that enable real-time information sharing not only enhances employees’ individual efficiency, but also fosters a stronger sense of connection among colleagues.
Unified communications holds the key in bringing disjointed infrastructure together and making communication, and in turn team collaboration, much easier for everyone. The future of work is one that is being led by technology and employees, and using reliable, cutting-edge collaboration tools helps to future-proof businesses for the many changes that are still to come in the world of work.
A more productive, efficient, and cohesive workforce
When teams share a common goal and are motivated, they become more inspired to work and collaborate effectively. Collaboration not only increases employee productivity by 15%, but also extends the endurance of teams by 64% when tackling more challenging assignments, all thanks to a team-oriented spirit. Building a feeling of resilience provides affirmation to everyone involved in a particular project that they can achieve the goal they are all working towards.
Strong interpersonal relationships, whether with colleagues in the same department or across various aspects of the business, builds a level of trust and understanding that makes the collaborative effort so much easier. When knowing the strengths and weaknesses of colleagues, future projects can be planned out far more effectively. This will, in turn, allow any upcoming tasks to commence in good time, and not lead to the potential situation of a looming deadline and below-par work.
Retaining your key talent
Employees want to feel engaged and motivated; they need to have a reason to come to work in the morning. A highly engaged workforce has access to collaboration tools that boost productivity and strengthen loyalty to both their team and the organisation. Workers can feel up to 20% more satisfied when these collaborative needs are met, which are made possible through unified communication systems. With 33% of employees saying that the ability to collaborate makes them more loyal, the threat of worker attrition can be counteracted and phased out.
Since 86% of employees cite a lack of collaboration and communication as reasons for failures in the workplace, an employer that actively promotes collaboration provides a compelling reason for these employees to remain with the company. Indeed, employee wellbeing can be protected and improved in a working environment that supports teamwork and collaboration. It’s about creating a workplace where your employees feel empowered to do their best work within a team that brings out the best in each other.
Letting innovation shine through
Working in a collaborative space can bring about the more creative side in individuals. As everyone brings unique skills and knowledge to a particular project, people can feel more comfortable about taking risks and experimenting with new ideas. Potential creative blocks can be overcome with ease if everyone is contributing to the collaborative process since people feel more motivated to share their own thoughts. No one should be feeling worried about having their ideas rebuffed or ignored; employees have to feel confident in speaking their own mind.
There’s a greater sense of community compared to working alone or in silos, which makes the satisfaction of completing an assignment feel even better. Considering that 60% of employees feel more innovative when collaborating, placing trust in team collaboration can go a long way in cultivating creativity within an organisation.
The crucial need to embrace team collaboration
Understanding the key elements and benefits of team collaboration is the first step in unlocking an employees’ full potential. In an overly competitive market, businesses need to find that crucial edge in making sure that they attract and develop the best possible talent. With 80% of executives already utilising collaborative tools within their companies, it’s now more essential than ever for businesses to consider implementing them in their own organisations.
This coincides with the emergence of Generation Z (Gen Z) into the workforce, a generation poised to reshape the very essence of how we work. By 2025, Gen Z is set to constitute a formidable 27% of the workforce, with a staggering 49% of Gen Z workers contemplating the adoption of hybrid working patterns. Having a reliable and effective communication infrastructure in place ensures that a business is ready for the future of work by providing the means for employees to work remotely without sacrificing productivity. These communication solutions can additionally contribute to nurturing a collaborative culture that sets businesses apart from their competitors. Your employees will undoubtedly appreciate these efforts.