6 Ways to Create a Collaborative Workplace

By Michael Watkins

Posted on

Gone are the days of a lone genius tapping away in the corner to generate the next big ideas and solutions.

Nowadays, the focus is on team effort. There are a multitude of benefits to be reaped from a collaborative workplace, from greater employee satisfaction to increased idea generation.

One of the most important outcomes of a collaborative workplace is the positive effect it has on an organisation’s innovation output. A cohesive environment is the perfect vehicle for creative thinking and idea generation.

According to PGi:

“Workplace collaboration can increase successful innovation by 15%”

Higher levels of innovation lead to increased productivity and business growth. As a result, implementing a collaborative workplace is a must for any business looking to fully leverage the talents of its employees.

Here we share six steps to creating a collaborative workplace.

1. Cultivate openness and transparency

How can employees be expected to collaborate with people throughout the organisation if company goals and challenges are kept hidden?

There is no need to divulge every snippet of confidential information but keeping employees in the loop is essential to inspire loyalty and productivity.

Be open about the issues and challenges your organisation is facing and present incentives for employees to offer solutions.

Accordingly, all staff can be kept in line with the strategic objectives of the company, meaning that everyone can work collectively towards the same business goals.

PRO TIP: Run an internal innovation challenge. Start by sharing your strategic company goals with your employees and asking for ideas on how to achieve them.

2. Establish a judgement-free idea-sharing culture

One obstacle that often prevents employees from active participation and putting forward their ideas is a fear of judgement or rejection. Particularly prevalent in companies with a top-down organisation structure, intimidation can be a frustrating barrier that gets in the way of the best ideas bubbling to the surface.

Overcome this impediment by establishing a creative and judgement-free workplace culture where new ideas and discussions are consistently welcome, whether they are small and strange or ambitious and dramatic.

Refrain from setting too many guidelines, as these can stifle creativity. Place an emphasis on creative freedom and valuable workplace collaborations will follow.

PRO TIP: Try our ‘blue-sky thinking’ technique and create safe space for creative thinking. 

3. Encourage collaboration across departments

Working with the same teams day in, day out, can become routine and hence slow the innovation process.

Encourage engagement between teams – even better if this includes collaboration across different departments. The combination of differing objectives, people types and skillsets can lead to the most effective idea generation.

By pushing communication between employees who may not usually be in contact, you will be motivating your staff to step outside of their comfort zones, hence keeping them on their toes.

4. Lead from the top down

There is nothing less motivational than a leader who remains cooped up in an office, separated from the team and therefore in a kind of superior bubble.

Adopt an open-door policy where communication between the different hierarchies of an organisation is frequent and fluid. Managers should roll up their sleeves and get stuck in alongside employees.

It is important to remember that collaboration is not only reserved for part of the organisation. It should be adopted by every member of staff, no matter their level or job role.

Visibility is key – If employees can see their managers and directors effectively collaborating then they will feel inspired to replicate this behaviour, hence improving their own productivity.

5. Offer positivity and rewards

Ultimately, we are only human and even the most dedicated employees need an appropriate reward if they have achieved success.

Reward individuals where necessary but do not forget to reward team efforts too. This is crucial in encouraging future collaborations, as employees will realise the benefits of working together.

Of course, not all ideas will be good ones but it is nevertheless important to be persistent in providing feedback, whilst remaining positive.

Offering constructive criticism is key to improvement but ensure you convey an appreciation of their effort. Responding to each idea can be time consuming so encourage peer-to-peer discussions of ideas to further increase collaborative efforts.

PRO TIP: There are many different ways to reward employees. Here are a few of our favourites.

6. Have the right technology in place

If you are pushing to create a fully cohesive workplace culture then you need to ensure that you have the appropriate technology in place to facilitate collaboration. This will help employees do their jobs faster so they can invest more time in teamwork and innovation.

Cloud-based softwares are increasingly popular and fast becoming the norm. For example, an enterprise idea management platform can help your employees collaborate more and develop novel concepts at scale. Stay ahead of technological advances in order to keep your employees engaged and motivated.

Key Takeaways:

  • Collaborative workplaces are increasingly favoured among employees and pave the way to more effective interaction between colleagues and increased idea-sharing.
  • Establishing an openly creative culture where all ideas are acknowledged will encourage employees to collaborate and innovate, while involvement and transparency from the top-down is essential in motivating employees to engage with one another.
  • Provide regular feedback and offer team rewards to maintain a high level of collaboration.
  • Encourage collaboration by providing the appropriate technological support that will make it quick and easy for all employees to participate and share ideas.

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By Michael Watkins

Michael is Wazoku's Product and Brand Marketing lead. Away from the office, he's our resident film buff, so if you want some recommendations for a night in front of Netflix or a trip to your local cinema, get in touch with him!