Imagine yourself starting in your profession today, trying to figure out what are all the things we do, who knows what about all of these things, who can help me, and how do I connect with these people? Building organizational awareness can take a very long time even when you are working in an office environment. Beyond your own office, there is still more to learn about everyone that works in other offices and in other places.
Collaboration has been a hot and interesting topic of discussion when speaking with business and career development professionals, and it’s no wonder, in the words of Bob Dylan “The times – they are a-changin’.”
The best part of my career as a Product Manager is having the opportunity to speak with professionals across a multitude of sectors about their business needs and problems to find trends and solution needs in the market. I get inspired by drilling into relationship intelligence-driven problems, asking lots of questions, and learning from their experience and insights. What always strikes me is the breadth of ideas raised around colleague-to-colleague collaborations and how analytics could save them time and increase revenue. The hypotheses around what the insights from this data could do to help professionals and businesses reap rewards.
But, before I get into these rewards, I want to discuss how collaboration is not done well enough at the organizational level. Professionals have the necessary collaboration tools at their disposal – IN FACT, they are spending 85% or more of their time on emails, meetings and phone calls. At an individual level, professionals know this story well, however, most organizations don’t know how this looks at the aggregate level.
Business leaders need objective and automated visibility into the connectivity of professionals and teams across the business so they can find the white space and close the gaps with coaching conversations. Leaders should be asking themselves questions like:
Every business has silos and now, with more people working remotely, the fear is that the silos will become more difficult to bridge, making it challenging for professionals to build and maintain the colleague relationships they need to support their success as well as the success of the business. At a tactical level, professionals that are inundated with emails, meetings, and calls that have heavy workloads do not want more collaboration programs and processes put in place that require more energy. What they need are insights to help them ensure their energy is spent on collaborations that are targeted and effective. This is where Data Science can be applied to optimize their collaboration efforts by nudging professionals and teams to reach out to the right individuals at the right times to get the most out of their workday.
This is a very cool and interesting problem, and as a Product Manager, I must ask ‘Why’ again – why does collaboration matter?
Of course, there’s really no question: collaboration is critical to business success. Here is a summary of the top five reasons that collaboration matters (based on what I’ve heard and experienced in my career, and not in any particular order).
When professionals can feel confident talking about something that they don’t know all that well, but know that if tough questions come up they know WHO can help them. Having strong connections with colleagues with different areas of expertise gives them comfort in initiating conversations they might normally avoid allowing them to offer more product and service awareness to your customer base.
Knowing what the organization offers, all of the products and services is gained through collaboration. Working with other teams and learning what they do and what they know helps professionals and teams to ‘tune in and perk up’ when they hear customer needs that can be solved by other professionals in your organization. Better knowledge of the business helps support cross-selling and referrals.
Retention of employees
There’s a reason why onboarding has become a highly formalized and well-managed process for successful companies: ensuring that new hires are integrated into the team and build strong networks across the organization is incredibly important to that employee’s long-term success. Being able to see that a new hire is not building an effective network allows the organization to intervene proactively before they risk losing employees. Further, collaboration has been shown to help organizations attract top talent, increase employee engagement, and promote creativity and innovation too!
Coaching and employee network insights
Having the ability to give an employee the right nudges to build colleague relationships that will set them up for success is extremely important and when they succeed sooner the business wins! Additionally, insights into who is doing collaboration well to identify high performers that should be considered for promotions and rewards.
Adaptability to changing environments
Collaboration in challenging times supports the ability to respond more quickly to changing environments and allows businesses to innovate more quickly.
Supporting your teams and delivering these positive benefits will lead to positive outcomes for employees, leaders, and the health of the business. Hopefully, you will also see the opportunities for better collaboration and how they will bring more revenue and operational cost savings. It’s a win-win for employees and businesses alike.
With tools like Introhive, business leaders can quickly identify opportunities for collaboration by leveraging existing internal and external communications. If you’d like to learn more about how Introhive’s unique relationship mapping and data enrichment can help your business, request a demo today.