“Companies that promoted collaborative working were five times as likely to be high performing.” Forbes
Collaboration & Equality in the Workplace
Collaboration and equality are words you may frequently hear used in your office and during team meetings, but what do they mean in the context of the workplace?
Collaboration, in a nutshell, is about working as a team to achieve a shared goal and is, therefore, a business essential. Successful collaboration requires effective communication, leadership, and cross-team resource sharing.
When you break down the concept of collaboration, it’s understandable why it needs specific attention because it may not happen naturally or without guidance.
Do all teams within a business have the same overarching goal?
Usually, yes, but the department-specific targets may vary. Every team will have a focus, which, although driving the overall business goals, will differ from each other. It’s too easy for people to see only their own agendas and fall into siloed working.
In its most simplistic terms, to achieve equality in the workplace, there is to be no discrimination. All teams and individuals are to be treated fairly, and the Equality Act 2010 is in place to protect employees.
Equality and collaboration are very much linked, especially when discussing cross-team working and resource sharing. Here at Sodexo Engage, we often work in squads when focusing on specific campaigns and projects, pulling in colleagues from design, commercial, and marketing. Each of these teams and departments has a budget and resources to manage, and some may be more stretched than others.
For collaboration to be effective, it's essential to plan squad-based projects with consideration to the other factors impacting each team. All should be treated equally, which requires leadership and communication, with those most stretched given additional support where needed.
According to Thoughtworks, squad-based working has many benefits, including agreements being reached more quickly and feedback being delivered more effectively. These two factors alone can delay any project where the stakeholders are either too many or simply too hard to get hold of when responses are required.
The Importance of Collaboration
In their paper on ‘Cues of working together fuel intrinsic motivation’, Science Direct found that when colleagues were effectively briefed, or “primed” for collaboration, they were more invested in their tasks, sticking to them for 64% longer than those working in isolation.
“People tend to do more when collaborating with more people.” Research Gate
Research Gate provided an extensive report, and it’s quite a heavy read, incorporating a large-scale data review with performance analytics. This comprehensive research made it clear that the groups as a whole were more productive through collaboration, and success wasn’t driven by one or two high performers.
Collaboration boosts productivity and employee engagement, but for it to be effective, it needs to live within a company’s culture. As we’ve established, keeping a diverse, hybrid, and remote workforce collaborating takes dedication. At times, it may waiver and need bolstering by leadership, but the effort required to embed and deliver collaboration comes with many benefits.
High levels of employee engagement can lead to the following:
- Reduced absenteeism: absenteeism has been found to reduce by 41% when a workforce is highly engaged.
- Increased productivity: a highly engaged workforce can increase productivity by 17%.
Creating Collaboration: Culture & Equality
We’ve got to the stage where we understand that collaboration is a business essential, so now let’s look at how to achieve it.
To effectively embed collaboration into business culture, buy-in must be from top to bottom. Business leaders need to be present and approachable, managers need to be effective communicators, and employees need to be involved in decisions that impact them.
Staff surveys and feedback forms are an effective way of requesting employee input and can be invaluable when making business changes. Not only can they prove to be an essential resource for creating ideas, but it’s important to gauge your employees’ reactions to new procedures and changes.
When you treat your employees as equals, their engagement and loyalty towards your business will increase, and the implementation of new strategies and objectives will be smoother.
Team Building Activities
Team building activities come in all shapes and sizes and can be entirely entertainment-led or linked to business activities, like departmental or organisational updates. The key to success is creating an opportunity for individuals to work together – especially when mixed with non-team members.
Here at Sodexo, we’ve had fantastic success and generated some brilliant ideas by bringing different teams together and creating a problem for them to solve. It’s incredible what you can achieve when you get a variety of skill sets and ways of thinking together.
Reward and Recognition
A collaborative culture requires regular energy boosts, and your collaboration champions must be adequately recognised and rewarded to keep morale and motivation high.
Taking steps to ensure that your recognition strategy covers all areas of the business and measures different achievements and KPIs is key to embedding equality. Once the recognition strategy is defined, it’s time to deliver inclusive rewards.
Rewards can be experience or monetary-based – perhaps even a blend of both. To be truly inclusive and equal, we find eVouchers, Gift Cards, and Voucher Cheques are incredibly popular and versatile solutions.
Great for rewarding and boosting collaboration, our digital gift cards are a tick in the box for your green credentials. They also give your employees access to the widest choice of retailers and brands across 150 chains and 130,000 locations!
With such a huge selection of brands and retailers participating, including high street and high-end stores – online and in-store – your employees will have no trouble making the most of their reward.
Boost Collaboration with Sodexo Engage
Whether it’s through a sense of camaraderie or being held accountable for specific tasks set within a project, it’s clear that collaboration boosts productivity and engagement. Creating the desired collaborative culture takes work, but it’s worth the effort.
With employee reward and recognition packages that enhance engagement and end-to-end wellbeing and employee benefits solutions to offer, Sodexo Engage is the partner you need by your side on your journey to achieving workplace collaboration.
Get in touch with our wellbeing and engagement experts today for more information or to book a demo.