4 Ways to Cultivate a Culture of Collaboration

Blog 4 Ways To Cultivate A Culture Of Collaboration 2022

Developing and maintaining positive company cultures has become a top initiative for company leaders of all sizes, in all sectors – and for good reasons. When you hire and nurture the right people, you build a company culture of collaboration and trust. Achieving this type of culture is an imperative at a time when the feeling of connection between coworkers has proven to correlate with employer appeal and employee engagement and productivity. Consider these statistics:

  • Jobvite reports that 86% of workers believe company culture is somewhat-to-very crucial in the decision to apply for a job.
  • The ADP Research Institute found that US workers who feel strongly connected to their employer are 75 times more likely to be engaged than those who do not feel connected.

Cultivating a healthy company culture with strong bonds between workers requires trustworthy people, policies, and processes. The latter two develop over time and create an infrastructure of accountability to the culture, but it all begins with hiring and nurturing people who value cooperation, trust, and collaboration.

Trustworthiness is a critical component that is difficult to identify in hiring because demonstrating qualities like ethics, motivations, and honesty during interviews isn’t easy for candidates. For interviewing managers, identifying these qualities is even more challenging. So company leaders must think strategically about building a culture of collaboration and trust, beginning with individual employees. We have a few suggestions to help you do that:

Hire for the Qualities You Seek by Asking Open-Ended Questions

When you ask job candidates about their experiences with collaboration and cooperation, they immediately know your hiring criteria and adjust their answers to your liking. A key to distinguishing the suitable candidates from the imposters is asking open-ended questions that don’t suggest what the company is looking for in an answer. Ask questions like “Tell us about how your current coworkers describe your style and contributions in team settings.” Think specifically about how your best employees respond in certain situations and offer hypotheticals to test how your candidates are likely to respond. Bringing in new employees with the correct values sets the foundation for cultivating healthy company culture.

Foster an Inclusive Culture

As America’s demographics become increasingly diverse, it’s incumbent upon company leaders to build diverse and inclusive cultures in which people of various races, national ancestries, ages, sexual orientations, and genders feel welcome. Everyone must feel that they have the same opportunities to enjoy their work, build relationships, develop their skills, and advance their careers. Employees in certain minority groups will feel part of an inclusive culture by approaching diversity as a hiring consideration.

Hiring for diversity may not be easy, depending on your location. If most candidates within the driving range are of narrow demographics, you may need to use outreach through your employees and social media to reach under-represented groups. Once you have achieved diversity, there are plenty of online resources to help you provide cultural awareness and bias training to ensure that you are building a spirit of inclusion.

Use Team-Building Exercises

You may not have the luxury of building group cohesion naturally over time. If you assemble a new department or replace several employees, you may need to accelerate the process. Negative & Positive is an example of a team-building exercise that can help. To do this, have your group pair up. In each team, one partner shares something negative that has happened to them in a professional setting. After the first partner presents the experience as a negative, the second has to offer the same experience to focus on uncovering the silver lining(s) of the experience. Then the two switch roles. The objective is to collaborate in turning adverse situations into positive and productive experiences.

Model a Task and Relationship Orientation

The traditional management model is task-oriented, involving delegation of responsibilities. Collaborative company cultures foster working relationships between people based on shared goals, trust, and accountability. Productivity and innovation result in groups trained to be both highly task-oriented and relationship-oriented.

Invest in training resources to help your managers develop the skills necessary to foster connections between teammates throughout completing tasks and projects. Positive reinforcement of collaborative behaviors and avoiding finger-pointing when things go wrong to contribute to sustainable team success. Communicating these ideas in meetings and emails helps to ingrain enduring relationship-oriented behaviors.

Once your organization is established and mature, the next step toward sustainable success is to develop a culture that rewards cooperation and coordination. It all starts with cultivating trust between teammates, and these suggestions can help your leaders plant the right seeds.

Alan Margulis

About the Author

Alan Margulis is an accomplished copywriter with two decades of experience in content marketing, nurture stream, and direct response writing. He has done extensive work in a wide range of industries, from software and academia to staffing and entrepreneurial.