When you think of an “executive” approach, what comes to mind? Probably the enforcement of rules, policies and regulations or the implementation of strategic plans and programs, or maybe discipline for parties who fall out of line. Important? Sure, but not necessarily the most important factors for shaping a workplace environment that is conducive to innovative thinking, high performance and accelerated productivity. Instead of ruling by guidelines and restrictions, executive leaders should be focused on empowering their employees and bringing out the best talent they have to offer. In short, they should be fueling an atmosphere of inspiration and collaboration.
Collaborative workplaces see results
The Huffington Post Blog argued that collaborative environments are at the core of the modern workplace, replacing the more competitive models of old. Not only do positive relationships with co-workers raise job satisfaction and, by extension, employee retention, fostering collaboration helps companies make the most of their knowledge resources. By putting minds together, team members share a wealth of information and combine their insights in myriad ways. In this situation, the sum is almost always greater than its parts.
So what is a collaborative workplace culture and why should it matter to executives? According to Gensler’s 2013 U.S. Workplace Survey (WPS), the most effective, productive workplaces are those that balance focus and collaboration, providing employees with space to work intensely on individual tasks and to gather with colleagues to brainstorm, complete group work or just enjoy a little social interaction.
“Our survey findings demonstrate that focus and collaboration are complementary work modes. One cannot be sacrificed in the workplace without directly impacting the other,” said Diane Hoskins, co-chief executive officer at Gensler. “We know that both focus and collaboration are crucial to the success of any organization in today’s economy.”
Fueling participation and innovation
Facilitating collaboration doesn’t require supervisors to throw their team members in a single meeting room and asking them to complete all their projects together. Instead, there’s a range of flexible options for giving team members resources to join forces and work together when necessary. TMCnet explained how social enterprise tools can transform co-worker dynamics, offering the following advantages to corporations by encouraging employees to communicate openly on company-managed platforms:
- Cross-departmental collaboration
- Shared corporate knowledge
- Individual empowerment as workers
- Transparency and security
- Better, more efficient use of resources
Programs that make it easy for employees to share documents and send messages to colleagues can increase collaboration, but it’s also important for company leadership to establish an environment that encourages and values this form of cooperation. Other critical components include embracing a new mindset and giving greater attention to the employee experience, the Huffington Post Blog emphasized. Having motivated, passionate workers who are focused on the success of their projects and the way they can contribute to their teams can kindle an organization’s success, fueling creative thinking that revolutionizes processes or leads to innovative new projects.
As a place to start, executives can implement idea collaboration programs that welcome innovation from employees and encourage them to brainstorm with each other to solve problems (check out TemboSocial Ideas – an integrated idea collaboration platform). By creating a culture that values employee insights and listens to their feedback, supervisors can increase employee engagement, inspiring workers to more actively and dynamically approach the company’s goals. For example, asking employees to contribute to moderated forums is a great way to capitalize on the collective wisdom of the workforce.
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