9 workplace collaboration benefits (with types and tips)
By Indeed Editorial Team
Updated 14 September 2022
Published 3 January 2022
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.
Collaboration requires people to work together to complete a task or resolve a problem. It can help them develop better teamwork and gain an understanding of different working styles. Learning about the benefits of collaboration can help you lead teams and use it to achieve organisational goals. In this article, we discuss the types and benefits of collaboration, and we give tips on how to achieve a more collaborative workplace.
What are collaboration benefits?
Collaboration is of benefit when people with similar or different skill sets work together to achieve a common goal. It may be within an organisation or even with other companies. People share resources and knowledge and learn from each other to complete assignments or a project. It provides an opportunity for the organisation to address a problem or task from a holistic point of view and come up with improved solutions and a more efficient workflow.
Collaboration also helps people become confident, accountable and dedicated to their work. It makes them feel valued by the company and allows them to interact with other stakeholders like clients, customers and management. Working in a team also helps improve employee well-being. It provides an opportunity to learn, ease the workload and even develop stronger employee relations.
What are the different benefits of collaboration?
Collaboration benefits organisations by bringing individuals together and using their collective potential to achieve goals. It encourages individuals to improve their soft skills and to work together to improve project outcomes. A collaborative workplace benefits both the individual and the organisation. Some benefits of collaboration are:
Exposure to varied perspectives
Working on a project with different people helps bring diverse ideas and perspectives to the same issue. People may come from different cultures or educational backgrounds and have contrasting skill sets. All this can help foster healthy discussions and productive brainstorming sessions to complete a task. When a team works with different ideas, they can evaluate them by considering all the advantages and disadvantages before presenting them to management, ensuring that the solution is effective and thought through.
Learn from colleagues
When a group of individuals with different skills comes together to deliver a project, they have time to learn from each other's experiences. Team members who recognise this can take the opportunity to gain a better understanding of their respective strengths, weaknesses, skills and mistakes. It exposes team members to different working styles and helps develop their interest in unique areas. When they collaborate, team members provide resources to improve existing hard skills or soft skills.
Enhanced communication skills
Working with individuals from different teams may help open channels of communication that were otherwise closed. Team members learn to exchange ideas, resources and set deadlines for one another to achieve positive outcomes. Often, the work in a team is interdependent, which can make it imperative for individuals to communicate with each other by voicing their concerns or even seeking help.
Improves listening skills
Working in a team requires members to listen to ideas, evaluate them and then respond. Team members accept criticism, become less defensive and are more open to ideas. With enhanced listening skills, team members learn to work with each other with more empathy and trust.
Lower employee turnover
When employees work within a team, they develop a relationship with their colleagues. They may also recognise the need to contribute and give their best to the work they do. Similar opportunities that help them grow within the organisation through collaboration reduce the chances of them leaving. Gaining recognition from colleagues for the work they do within the team can also reduce employee turnover.
Working on a complex project requires individuals to collaborate with other colleagues to reduce workload. It helps solve problems faster and more efficiently by effectively using the skills of the team members. The team fosters collaboration and this allows people to seek help and complete tasks within the deadline.
Increased flexibility and agility
When teams function together, their collective skill set helps improve the quality and pace of their work. Working in teams builds understanding among members. When faced with an obstacle, the unit can more quickly adapt to the changes since they know their strengths and weaknesses.
Improved mental health
Working as a team helps improve rapport with colleagues, making individuals feel valued in the workspace and increasing their sense of belonging. It boosts the quality of work and helps team members improve their mental health. Collaboration also allows teams to interact with more people than working in isolation, which helps in deepening their interest in the work.
Helps in team bonding
Collaborating with colleagues provides an opportunity to interact with members from different departments and with distinct skill sets. It fosters an environment of mutual respect within the team and allows them to learn from each other. Along with company-led employee engagement programmes, these activities can strengthen the bonds between employees.
Types of collaboration
In any company, employees often collaborate on projects. A project could be an internal requirement, a client requirement or something specific to a department. Here are some common types of collaboration:
Internal collaboration: Individuals from various teams and across organisational levels collaborate on a project. This helps promote transparency, sharing ideas and resources and pursuing goals in a structured manner.
External collaboration: Individuals or teams from one company collaborate with another business to share knowledge or help achieve enterprise goals. These collaborations could be organised to take place with external marketing agencies, vendors, customers or in some cases competitors.
Team collaboration: This type of collaboration exists within a department that works towards a common goal. It occurs across various hierarchical divisions within the department, with members holding each other accountable for their work.
Cross-departmental collaboration: This is a type of internal collaboration where different departments work together. The departments in the company can share knowledge and resources with each other to complete the project.
Community collaboration: This type of collaboration is voluntary and brings people with similar interests and distinct skill sets together. They learn, share knowledge and help complete a project or gain insights that benefit their professional careers or internal teams.
Virtual collaboration: This type of collaboration enables individuals to connect with internal or external team members who aren't present in the same location. Members often connect over a call or video conference to share updates, brainstorm, discuss problems and devise solutions.
Strategic alliance: Two organisations work together towards a common goal by working in a strategic partnership. They draft strict procedures and processes and are accountable to one another for sharing knowledge and resources.
Network collaboration: People work with colleagues, friends and acquaintances after meeting through a social media platform and this helps them meet personal and professional goals. They leverage each other's skill sets, knowledge and networks to grow.
Tips for successful workplace collaboration
Teams often require guidance and a positive environment to become successful in the work they do. Working in a team is a skill that people learn gradually. Here are some tips that may help improve the effectiveness of a collaboration:
Conduct ice-breaking sessions: This helps the team to get to know each other and start conversations. It serves as an introductory session, especially when external teams collaborate.
Foster accountability within the team: This empowers individuals to take ownership of their work. In a team, work is interdependent, so members collaborate and take shared responsibility for meeting deadlines.
Create a structure for working: This helps guide the team to complete work efficiently. The framework is ideally flexible to accommodate fresh developments and time for troubleshooting.
Recognise the work of individuals and the team: Acknowledging the work of a team or an individual keeps them motivated to work. This may be through appraisals, gifts or even speaking about it in a meeting.
Conduct team-building activities: This helps team members become comfortable with each other by engaging in fun activities outside work. Taking some time off work can also help the team think creatively to address issues.
Evaluate if the team isn't efficient: It's often a good idea to understand the team shortfalls and identify areas of improvement. This provides the team members with a chance to voice their concerns and devise solutions to resolve them.
Use collaboration tools: This keeps the team processes transparent and can be used to evaluate progress. It also acts as a guide for the team to follow and stick to deadlines so other members can perform their tasks efficiently.
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