Throughout the pandemic, countless companies focused on improved collaboration as workforces remained remote. Leaders communicated more frequently, and employees mastered multiple tools and techniques to improve virtual teamwork. Agile organizations which collaborated effectively didn’t experience negative effects on productivity that the sudden change to work structure could have created.
For culture change to be effective, that same conscious approach to effective collaboration is a big part of the success equation, and it starts with leaders. Leaders at high-performance companies are 3.5x more likely than those at low performers to structure work in ways that take advantage of the power of collaboration. For example, they purposefully select collaborative group members based on the expertise of the individuals or relevancy to the project at hand rather than their relationship with the person. They are also more likely to encourage collaboration across all employee and leadership levels to break down information silos and to help individuals build more effective personal networks across the enterprise.
This is especially beneficial and important in organizations made up of highly complex systems (operating units in multiple countries, distinct businesses with similar customer groups or suppliers, etc.) where personal connections and information exchange are essential. In fact, a Next Practice revealed in our research is having leaders actively help others build effective networks. High-performance organizations implement this practice 8x more than lesser-performing companies, a finding that has been backed up in many different research studies. And the benefit is clear: employees who establish broad and helpful networks tend to be more productive and tend to stay much longer at a company.
As the “Great Resignation” increases the attrition rates at organizations, ensuring employees have robust networks from which to draw can be a great retention tool, and a critical component to making sure culture renovation works.