The importance of collaboration

From motivating employees and improving performance to reducing burnout and turnover, there are big benefits of building a collaborative workplace.

The importance of collaboration

Collaboration increases motivation.

Some call it teamwork, some call it synergy, some call it coordination—but no matter how you define it, collaboration is a key ingredient to building a successful company.

Establishing a collaborative culture is also important for remote workers, who are looking for a sense of camaraderie from the confines of their homes. Indeed, a 2019 survey by Owl Labs found that 62% of U.S. employees work remotely at least occasionally—and of that group, 54% said they work remotely at least once per month, and 30% work remotely full-time.

Here are five reasons why collaboration at work is important.

1. It keeps employees motivated

A 2014 study from Stanford University found that workers who feel like they’re part of a team were more motivated and more willing to take on individual challenges than their isolated counterparts.

"The results showed that simply feeling like you're part of a team of people working on a task makes people more motivated as they take on challenges," wrote the study’s co-author Gregory Walton, an assistant professor of psychology at Stanford. “Our research shows that it is possible to create a spirit of teamwork as people take on challenging individual tasks—a feeling that we're all in this together, working on problems and tasks—and that this sense of working together can inspire motivation.”

2. It improves work performance

In a survey of 1,100 companies, the Institute for Corporate Productivity and Babson College found that collaborative work is five times more likely to result in higher performance. That echoes a Gallup report that found engaged teams deliver 17% higher productivity.

3. It builds interpersonal relationships

Collaboration is a powerful relationship builder. Rather than competing with members on their team, employees who work well with their peers are more likely to succeed at their jobs. That may explain why 88% of employees prefer a collaborative work culture than a competitive one, research by Intelligence Group shows.

4. It boosts job satisfaction

Another way forming authentic bonds with co-workers through collaboration pays off: job satisfaction. A 2014 Globoforce survey found that people with workplace friendships are nearly three times more likely to say that they love their companies. Moreover, a Gallup survey found that work friendships improve employee job satisfaction ratings by 50%.

Strong ties between colleagues can also help professionals enrich their personal lives—about nine in 10 professionals said work relationships matter to their quality of life, the Globoforce study found.

5. It reduces turnover

Collaborative co-workers communicate well with their peers. That’s also beneficial for employers, since communication can curb turnover. A 2019 Dynamic Signal survey of more than 1,000 U.S. employees found that nearly two-thirds said they’ve considered quitting because of a lack of workplace communication. That’s beneficial for an employer’s bottom line, since the cost of losing an employee is $15,000, according to the Work Institute's 2019 Retention Report.

How managers can promote collaboration

In a survey by Fierce, Inc. of 1,400 executives, employees, and educators, 86% of respondents blamed lack of collaboration or ineffective communication for workplace failures. The good news? There are a number of ways that employers—and managers specifically—can create a strong, collaborative culture.

So if you’re a boss, considering taking some of these steps to encourage collaboration among your team:

  • Build brainstorming sessions into team meetings. This will allow employees to workshop ideas.
  • Lead by example. You can be a role model for your direct reports by sharing your knowledge and expertise with them.
  • Use instant messaging to help remote workers communicate. Instant messaging enable workers to collaborate with their peers in real time, which can be a game changer for remote workers. Consider investing in a technology like Slack or Troop Messenger to effectively integrate your team.
  • Get out of the office. Team lunches are great, but also think about organizing a weekend retreat for your group. (Pro tip: It doesn’t have to be an exotic location, especially if your department has a limited budget.)
  • Chang up seating arrangements periodically. If you work in an open office, considering letting your employees “hot desk”—a practice that would allow them to choose their workstation every day on a first-come, first-serve basis, which helps employees meet new people.

Not happy with your work environment? Find a new one

If your company doesn’t feel like an optimal environment for collaboration, it might be time to find a new job that does. Need a little help getting your job search off the ground? Join Monster for free today. As a member, you can upload up to five versions of your resume—each tailored to the types of jobs that interest you. Recruiters search Monster every day looking to fill top jobs with qualified candidates, just like you. Additionally, you can get job alerts sent directly to your inbox to cut down on time spent looking through ads. Let us help you find your winning team.