Communication is key. You’ve heard that statement peddled around more times than you can count. That’s because it’s true, and it works on so many levels. Now more than ever, communication and collaboration determine whether or not your company thrives, with almost all operations switching to digital spaces.
- The need for internal collaboration
- The benefits of internal collaboration
- How network analysis and internal collaboration software can help
- Final thoughts on fostering a culture of collaboration
The need for internal collaboration
Technology has been revolutionizing every aspect of life for a long time, but the pandemic accelerated it by light-years. The concept of fully remote work became popular during the pandemic and is sticking around.
One of the major challenges of supporting a remote or hybrid workspace is the novelty of the whole idea and the lack of experience in managing remote workers. Improving cross-team collaboration is one of the best ways to ensure efficiency and effectiveness.
Internal collaboration is particularly essential, and challenging, for enterprise, global, and service providers. These complex organizations can often become extremely disconnected internally, especially in this remote work environment. To make matters even more challenging, their clients’ demands have also increased in complexity.
Cross-team collaboration ensures alignment and increased productivity as each staff member uses their expertise to service clients’ needs. While the digital migration makes it challenging to maintain collaboration, it makes it easier to measure it because it’s easier to monitor digital channels.
The benefits of internal collaboration
Multidisciplinary collaboration is about two or more people combining their expertise and different perspectives to better serve the clients’ needs. The outcome, in this case, is more than the sum of the individual’s work.
This has a tremendous impact on the organization. Firms that invest in cross-collaboration stand to benefit in myriad ways.
The financial benefits of multidisciplinary collaboration are easily quantifiable. According to Deloitte research, companies that prioritize collaboration are twice as likely to be profitable. The more disciplines you involve in client engagement, the more revenue the client generates.
Clients understand that cross-specialty work that involves the expertise of more than one individual is more intricate and complex. Therefore, as more practice groups are involved in serving a client, the firm can bill a higher amount.
Practice groups collaborate to create additional value, as opposed to selling discrete services. This boosts client engagement, and each group gets to earn more on average.
The more partners who work together in servicing a client, the easier it is to institutionalize the client. This means that the firm owns the client and not one individual. This way, if the individual were to leave, it is less likely that they will take the client with them.
Better Customer Experience
Customer demands have evolved over the past couple of years. It is no longer enough to provide quality services or products. You are selling experience just as much as your product or service. According to Salesforce, 80% of customers value experience as much as the product.
Interactions between employees, partners, and customers all work together in the customer experience ecosystem. When departments are working in silos, there is minimal collaboration which often translates into poor customer experiences.
If your sales department is speaking one language and your marketing language is speaking another, the customer gets conflicting information from multiple parties within your organization. This will most likely drive them away.
Collaborative working gives strategic value to your organization. Your teams are able to work together to resolve customer problems a lot quicker and more efficiently. Internal stakeholders can work together through designated communities for specific customer projects.
Improved Employee Engagement and Productivity
Organizations have come to realize the importance of collaboration in remote work. The reduced visibility makes it harder to monitor employee engagement and measure productivity.
Creating an environment that makes workplace collaboration possible and easier energizes employees and increases their engagement. This is essential for sustainable business success.
Teamwork also dramatically contributes to individual employee growth in terms of revenue. When employees team up for a project, they get to learn more about each other and the services they offer. With this knowledge, it becomes easier for them to refer each other for work in the future.
Referrals remain to be one of the most effective ways to generate work. Teams that work together also get to share information about their expertise, which increases the chance that each employee is fully utilized based on their skills.
Better Innovation and Business Agility
When the pandemic hit, it was a huge test of business agility. When everything screeched to a halt, the most agile and easily adaptable businesses saw the opportunity to redefine collaboration and transition into remote work.
Collaboration goes a long way in improving your business agility and adaptability. Your teams can work together to find solutions to the organization’s problems and challenges, create new innovative products, and improve sales.
It is crucial to create a culture of collaboration where every employee gets an equal chance to get their voice heard. You ought to design communities specifically for idea generation and open innovation. This is particularly useful when coming up with new product ideas.
Employee Professional Development
The best employees always seek to better themselves both personally and professionally. Your organization has a diverse pool of skills, knowledge, and expertise that workers can easily share through collaboration.
A collaborative work environment gives employees the opportunity to work with others and learn more about their skills and competencies. This helps them build their self-awareness and contribute to the company values.
Brainstorming sessions are particularly helpful for collaboration and sharing. You can also set up a learning hub with articles, videos, and other training materials that can help your employees gain additional skills.
How network analysis and internal relationship management software can help
You’ve seen that collaboration is highly essential to your business life and success. But when you set out to promote collaboration indiscriminately, especially in the digital workplace, there are many bottlenecks that can diminish your organization’s effectiveness.
This is where network analysis comes in. It helps organizations map their collaborative networks and analyze the benefits and costs of the interactions within those networks.
This gives you a bird’s eye view of the value flowing across the networks, and you can intervene with well-informed, strategic decisions to improve efficiency and effectiveness. Network analysis takes internal relationship management to the next level.
Network analysis begins with obtaining the information necessary to map relationships. This includes observing the employees, tracking emails, administering questionnaires, and using existing data. The software can then create network maps that illustrate the relationships within your firm.
A case study by McKinsey shows how an engineering company identified and built connectivity between specialists, which helped the firm raise its construction revenue from $80 million to $275 million in a single year.
After mapping interactions comes a more critical step; quantifying the benefits and costs of collaboration. How much time do your employees spend interacting? What are the financial contributions made by various types of collaborations?
Organizational network analysis is the first step to boosting collaborative productivity. It shows you how you can generate savings by eliminating inefficiencies.
Network analysis shows the inefficiencies that result from outdated role definitions, poor job designs, and ineffective allocation of decision-making rights. These issues generally vary across industries, but the interventions are pretty similar.
Failure to operate with a network perspective often leads to inefficient resource allocation, blind management, and disparity in collaboration. Analysis helps organizations identify what’s working and what isn’t. This way, they can make decisions on where and how to invest in order to improve collaboration and connectivity.
With network analysis, it is easier to uncover hidden individuals who contribute significantly to closing deals and cross-selling. This suggests where to replicate the collaborative behavior and draw in experts to help eliminate obstacles to collaboration.
One of the more invisible barriers to cross-selling is the lack of collaboration among employees who know of each other’s expertise but do not make use of it. A network perspective enables executives to determine where this challenge lies.
From there, it is easy to replicate the behavior of major contributors through incentive programs for the rest of the employees. You can launch programs to teach collaborative skills such as flexibility, accommodation, responsiveness, and conflict resolution.
Final thoughts on fostering a culture of collaboration
An effective collaborative environment coupled with a culture that encourages teamwork has a profound impact on an organization’s innovation, productivity, and growth. Collaboration helps drive successful business outcomes and achieve company goals.
A great deal of flexibility and adaptability is needed to survive in today’s cutthroat economic environment. Businesses continue to face unprecedented challenges and new opportunities that come with the digital workplace. When employees collaborate and work together to achieve a common goal, they will be positioned to find, grow, and win more business, faster.