6 Tips For Building a Collaborative Work Environment

Nowadays, many employers cite collaboration as a key employee skill. It's a great way to encourage people to share knowledge and resources. It can provide great opportunities for cross-training and networking, and can even improve employee engagement levels.

Collaboration means working together with people from across the business to achieve a shared goal. Although similar to teamwork, a collaborative partnership is not hierarchical – everyone has equal status, no matter their seniority. You can collaborate with members of your own team or from other departments, as well as contractors, clients, or even other organizations.

Collaboration can demand a lot from people. It means being open-minded, listening to other people's opinions and putting personal agendas to one side. So, it's essential that you try to encourage collaboration across your organization. You can do this by:

Share knowledge, insights, and resources.Knowledge, as they say, is power. And if knowledge is shared amongst your team, they will feel more empowered to contribute on an even playing field.

Leading by example. People watch how you act. If you aren't afraid to listen to new ideas and offer solutions – even when it makes you vulnerable – you'll encourage others to do the same.

Building trust. Collaboration can stall when people don't feel able to open up. Combat this by setting up team-building activities, and encouraging people to give honest and constructive feedback. This will help to strengthen team bonds, to create a sense of shared responsibility and to give people the confidence to speak up.

Fostering a creative culture.Creative thinking underpins good collaboration. It can help to drive innovation and allows you to avoid groupthink. Encourage this behavior by making use of creativity tools and processes.

Achieve "Buy-In".While some people will jump at the chance to collaborate, others may not be so keen. They might see it as an imposition on their time and be worried about the extra work or stress that it could bring. So, before you ask someone to collaborate think about how it can benefit him or her. Identifying the wider strategic goal, like fine-tuning a process to increase income, can be persuasive.

Get out of the office. Getting out of the office regularly helps teams build relationships based on mutual interests rather than what they share in common within working hours. It helps employees see each other as humans rather than just colleagues.

Team collaboration is the cornerstone of any successful business. Collaborative workplaces see increased levels of trust, a more engaged workforce, and improved performance. Running a collaborative team environment is no simple feat. It takes a concerted effort to integrate co-operative values throughout your whole company's ethos.


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