Promoting Collaboration in the Workplace: All You Need to Know

By Indeed Editorial Team

Updated September 7, 2022 | Published July 26, 2021

Updated September 7, 2022

Published July 26, 2021

The Indeed Editorial Team comprises a diverse and talented team of writers, researchers and subject matter experts equipped with Indeed's data and insights to deliver useful tips to help guide your career journey.

Promoting collaboration in the workplace has many benefits for the productivity and growth of any organization. Workplace collaboration is a proven way to improve the quality of ideas and enhance the overall output of your organization. You need to take active steps to improve workplace collaboration. In this article, we discuss what collaboration in the workplace is, its various forms, benefits, skills that enhance workplace collaboration, and strategies for improving collaboration in the workplace.

Related: Why Collaboration Is Important in the Workplace (With Tips)

What is collaboration in the workplace?

Collaboration in the workplace involves employees coming together to complete a task by integrating their resources, strengths, and talents. It's an inclusive process that entails combining the unique talents, skills, and perspectives of employees. Various organizations realize the importance of collaboration and rely on it to improve the quality of work and output amongst their employees. Collaboration can be within the same department or cut across various departments.

Forms of collaboration in the workplace

Various forms of collaboration in the workplace exist, with each having its unique uses and advantages. Here are some forms of workplace collaboration:

Open discussion

In an open discussion, employees from different seniority levels collaborate to solve organizational problems. Open discussions are crucial as they help entry-level employees feel valued. In addition, open discussions are essential before deciding on policies that affect all employees.

Closed discussion

A closed discussion is a form of workplace collaboration that involves a particular group of employees, usually from the same department. Companies use closed discussions to create quick solutions for specific or confidential tasks. An example of a closed discussion is members of the marketing team meeting to improve brand visibility and sales.

Brainstorming

Brainstorming sessions are workplace collaboration where employees think of creative solutions to unique issues. Organizations use brainstorming sessions to get diverse perspectives on how to approach a task or project. For example, a group of engineers could brainstorm how to create more effective batteries for electric cars.

Cross-functional collaboration

Cross-functional collaboration involves employees from different departments working together on an overlapping task. For example, a company looking to cut operations costs requires collaboration between the finance and operations departments. This helps employees understand and appreciate the company structure.

Mixed-skill teams

A mixed-skill team is a collaboration that involves employees with different technical specializations working together on a project. For example, a company building a data science team may employ a data scientist, two data analysts, and a data engineer. This form of collaboration enhances efficiency since employees can share tasks according to their specialty.

Virtual collaboration

Virtual collaboration refers to workplace collaboration among remote workers who use telecommunication technology to communicate. This type of collaboration is a great way to engage remote employees and improve their loyalty to the company. It also allows companies to adapt to the changing employment trends around the world.

Related: How to Start a New Job Virtually

Benefits of collaboration in the workplace

Collaboration in the workplace has many benefits that improve your company's overall productivity and can guarantee greater customer satisfaction. Here are some vital benefits of collaboration in the workplace:

Improves employee relations

Employees learn to respect and value each other as they collaborate on tasks. The process of collaboration also encourages employees to create bonds with each other. This significantly improves the work environment and productivity of a company.

Improves productivity

Workplace collaboration allows division of labour and encourages specialization, which reduces the amount of time to complete projects. In addition, the increased efficiency frees up your staff to take up more tasks and reach company goals faster, with less exhaustion. This ensures companies can remain competitive and relevant within their industry.

Improves quality of output

Collaboration in the workplace encourages diverse perspectives and talents, which translates to broader and more sophisticated ideas. Encouraging workers to collaborate improves output quality because projects can benefit from various skills and knowledge. The result is that employees can move towards a common goal faster.

Encourages learning

By working with others, employees have access to diverse perspectives, which helps them learn new information and skills. Collaboration in the workplace also helps employees better understand their organization and the roles of other departments. Similarly, workplace collaboration can give senior-level employees critical insight into how to deal with their subordinates.

Encourages innovation

By creating an environment where there are diverse perspectives, collaboration in the workplace helps to promote innovation. People can understand their style, their nature, and what makes them unique. Workplace collaboration helps employees break down projects and identify mistakes faster, which creates an enabling atmosphere for creativity and innovation.

Employee skills that enhance collaboration in the workplace

While organizations can develop collaboration in the workplace, some employee skills make workplace collaboration more effective. Here are some employee skills that can enhance collaboration:

Teamwork skills

Teamwork refers to the ability to effectively cooperate and work with others in a team to complete a joint task. Teamwork skills are important for workplace collaboration because they help employees respectfully interact with co-workers while handling a project together. It ensures they can focus on team goals while meeting individual goals.

Related: Teamwork Skills: Definition and Examples

Interpersonal skills

Interpersonal skills involve interacting with others including, how you communicate with them, and your ability to build and maintain beneficial workplace relationships. Interpersonal skills are essential for collaboration in the workplace as they help workers respect each other's differences and boundaries, allowing for a positive atmosphere. It also ensures faster conflict resolution within the organization.

Related: Interpersonal Skills: Definitions and Examples

Communication skills

Communication skills involve conveying your thoughts, ideas, or any information you may have clearly to another party. It also entails your ability to listen and receive information with understanding. Since collaboration in the workplace involves exchanging information and ideas, employees' communication skills enhance the process.

Related: Communication Skills: Definitions and Examples

Resource management skills

Collaboration in the workplace requires employees to manage and share resources to help other team members understand and make use of their contributions. Resource management skills help employees know how to organize information and how to share information seamlessly. It also allows them to maximize resources to achieve company goals.

Conflict management skills

Group work can cause team members to disagree and accepting each other's methods or ideas can be challenging. Conflict management skills help employees navigate areas of conflict productively without jeopardizing the project. It ensures they can deliver on the project while respecting the individual opinion of other team members.

Related: 5 Conflict Management Styles (And How to Use Them)

Strategies to improve collaboration in the workplace

Organizations can improve collaboration in the workplace by taking steps to make the process easier and more rewarding. Here are strategies to help you improve collaboration in your workplace:

Organize the process

Companies may make the error of assigning employees to a team without adequately planning the process. However, planning ensures that satisfied groups that can function effectively emerge. So, you must work towards developing a system that ensures collaboration.

Here are a few key steps to organizing groups for better workplace collaboration:

  • Keep groups at an appropriate size: In organizing workplace collaboration, optimize the sizes of the team based on your goal. This encourages efficiency and frees up workers for other projects.

  • Define team roles: Defining each team member's role increases the team's efficiency, as every individual knows their responsibilities. It also helps employees understand their contribution to the task and the company.

  • Set measurable goals: Setting clear goals is crucial as it helps employees track their progress, which increases efficiency. Having measurable goals also helps employers assess the productivity of a team.

Related: How to Write a SMART Goal (With Importance and Examples)

  • Plan team-building activities: Team-building activities help build many of the skills that enhance workplace collaboration. It also helps employees become more comfortable around each other.

Related: Examples of Team-Building Activities to Unify Your Team

  • Receive feedback: Receiving feedback helps you keep track of how effective workplace collaboration has been and can identify ways to optimize the process for better results.

Related: Giving and Receiving Meaningful Peer Feedback (With Tips)

Encourage open communication

Companies should encourage open communication by promoting diversity and inclusiveness. Also, an atmosphere where workers can openly express themselves is vital. Employees must share ideas without fear of ridicule or punishment for them to collaborate effectively.

Reward successful collaboration

By rewarding successful collaboration, you encourage employees to put more effort into working together. Rewards can include small presents, awards, or company benefits. These incentives encourage workers to be more open to collaboration.

Conduct soft skills training

Organizing regular soft-skill training for your employees helps them build valuable skills, such as communication, persuasion, and active listening. Providing training encourages them to use those skills when performing job responsibilities. This equips employees with social skills and enhances workplace collaboration.

Related: A Guide to Soft Skills

Use helpful technology and systems

You can improve collaboration in the workplace by adopting technologies or systems that make it easier for employees to communicate with each other. For example, videoconferencing, group task managers, and suggestion boxes can help facilitate workplace collaboration. It's useful to provide adequate training to ensure teams can maximize these systems.

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