10 Strategies for Boosting Staff Collaboration and Innovation Within Your Business

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Collaboration and innovation can go together in an organisation, but how do you enhance cooperation and creativity in a business to achieve competitive advantage? Maximising your team’s skillset will require you to hire right, motivate staff for stronger engagement, and set up a dynamic organisational structure.

1. Hire right

Turnover adds to organisational costs, while poor hiring choices can impede innovation and collaboration because your hires don’t have the right skills and teamwork competencies. Hiring right, however, could lead to higher initiative, motivation, and engagement. Because your employees have the right mindset towards work and enjoy teamwork, they can contribute to higher innovation and collaboration in your organisation.

Hiring right also means hiring on the basis of diversity. Diverse teams tend to be more innovative, creative, and hardworking. People who are comfortable with ambiguity and are able to structure processes might make innovative hires for businesses.

2. Empower and motivate employees

You can empower your employees by empowering them to make decisions. Give them leeway to make decisions within their scope of work. Employee motivation can be maximised by designing an effective remuneration system, giving regular feedback with benchmarking components, and celebrating wins. Motivated and engaged employees can enable your business to unleash the innovation and dynamism it needs to beat the competition.

Ask your employees what they would like in terms of intangibles like flexibility and choice of hours worked, and try to cater to them as much as possible. Other rewards, such as subsidised gym memberships and longer lunch breaks, can also be highly regarded by employees.

3. Welcome new ideas

Management and line managers should welcome new ideas and be supportive of employee initiative. Encourage a culture of idea exchange and open communication. Staff members in leadership roles should see themselves as protectors of new ideas who allow potentially innovative thoughts to flourish in infancy.

Make sure employees understand they can always approach their direct reports about new ideas. Ensure they know they’re free to share ideas within teams and the wider organisation. Sharing new ideas could enhance innovation and creativity in your business.

4. Provide training

Ensure employees have the right skillset to excel in their role. This might mean updating their hard skills, as well as providing training in soft skills like teamwork and collaboration. Give employees training in skills related to collaborative behaviour as research suggests this can drive better staff performance.

5. Informal community building opportunities

Better team performance is associated with informal community building opportunities. You can boost informal communities by providing staff members with social outings, such as a monthly meal out, team building activities, and other out-of-office events. Encourage staff members to socialise with each other and proactively seek out collaboration opportunities if their roles allow for them. You can also directly foster strong communities by developing policies and practices supportive of them.

6. Eliminate bureaucracy

If your organisation is hierarchical, consider removing excessive layers of authority or red tape. This can support your employees by empowering them to make decisions, reduce the time it takes to get things done, and motivate staff members because they feel engaged and empowered.

7. Model collaborative behaviour

Senior management and the organisation’s top leaders should consider themselves as role models for collaborative behaviour. Research has found the perceived behaviour of senior-level staff in an organisation has a major impact on cooperation in teams. Employees can be motivated to be more collaborative, and even launch their own informal networks for collaboration. Make sure your executive team demonstrates collaboration and cooperation, so they can drive a culture of collaborative work.

8. Rapid iteration

If your business designs new products, services, or internal processes, you’ll want to utilise rapid iteration to fail fast, move on, and succeed quickly. You can do this by providing employees or teams with a structure to innovate. For example, you might give a team five days to come up with a given number of new designs or service ideas. The idea is to provide structure so they can be free to create within these constraints.

9. Provide the right tools

Supporting your team with the right tools is vital to a collaborative and innovative culture. Explore different types of collaboration tools to enhance team engagement and communication. Collaboration platforms like Slack and specialist project management tools provide employees with a range of features to collaborate quickly and effectively.

10. Rethink competitive cultures

Competitive cultures can sometimes have a positive effect, especially within specialist teams, such as sales teams. However, if your work culture is too competitive to the point of being adversarial, this could impede innovation and collaboration. In an adversarial environment, people might be too self-interested to share ideas, when collaboration requires open communication and sharing.

Encouraging an innovative and collaborative culture at work

Driving higher innovation and collaboration can mean a balancing act for top decision-makers in organisations. From cultivating the right culture to providing the right tools and network building opportunities, the strategies often require a rethink of your current structure and processes.

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