“While education has always been concerned with the basics of good communication — correct speech, fluent reading, and clear writing – digital tools and demands of our times call for a much wider and deeper personal portfolio of communication and collaboration skills to promote learning together.”
– Bernie Trilling and Charles Fadel, 21st Century Skills: Learning for Life in Our Times.
Working in a corona-gripped world has brought to the fore how important collaborative communication is to the success of any organization. Tackling complex problems, fostering creativity and nurturing collaborative solutions is universal today. The terms cooperation, coordination, and collaboration are often used interchangeably, however, collaboration refers to a higher level of joint working in which people and resources are pooled together, working towards a common goal. The glue that binds these collaborative teams together is communication.
Traditional, hierarchical organizational structures are being replaced with more open lines of communication. Flexibility is the order of the day in the modern workplace. According to research, 4.3 million employees in the US now work from home at least half of the time. This is a trend that has become the mainstay particularly in the times of the pandemic.
In addition to different ways of working, organizational collaboration is being driven aggressively as organizations have recognized that more can be achieved by working together. More people mean more ideas, which means more productivity through strong communication processes. Collectively, it leads to efficient and effective achievement of goals. And that is a very powerful combination. In today’s ever-changing and highly competitive marketplace, businesses that can foster creativity, agility and problem-solving capabilities have an enhanced ability to adapt and respond to change. In fact, it could well give you that all-important advantage over the competition.
Why Communication Matters?
Effective collaboration cannot take place without the support of good communications. Providing a range of communication channels that will support collaborative teams is, therefore, a critical part of the process. What’s more, good internal communications will have a positive impact on other business processes. From enhanced employee engagement to improved productivity, good internal communication is at the heart of all successful businesses. Spending the time and effort on getting internal communications right will therefore, not only impact collaboration, it will also have other positive spin offs as well.
Collaborative Communication Culture
Before effective collaboration can take place, the right environment must be created. This means setting out and clearly communicating each team members’ roles and responsibilities to avoid resentment and conflict. From the outset make sure you clearly define team goals and objectives as well as outlining each member’s role and responsibilities in reaching those goals. It is important to remember that effective collaboration requires a certain amount of compromise amongst group members in the interests of reaching a consensus about goals and methods for completing projects or tasks. All members need to be in agreement before work can move forward.
Some of the ways this can be accomplished is as follows:
1) Supporting Personal Connections
2) Streamlines Working Processes
3) File and Document Sharing
4) Real-time Editing and Collaboration enabled by software
Collaborative Communications: Making the Difference in the Workplace
There’s no doubt that collaborative working is the future. And so, if one is serious about promoting collaboration, then the starting point has to be communications. Flexible, adaptable and dynamic collaborative communication channels will ensure collaborative working is successful. Communication is the key ingredient that allows for productive, successful collaboration. It happens across all touch points and players, essentially greasing the wheels for collaboration.
The bottom line is that from productivity to employee retention and customer satisfaction, good company communication drives business results. Effective communication is therefore necessary for a well-run, successful business.
Kriti Srivastava, Assistant Professor, School of Fashion Design, Unitedworld Institute of Design (UID)
Disclaimer: The opinions / views expressed in this article are solely of the author in his / her individual capacity. They do not purport to reflect the opinions and/or views of the College and/or University or its members.