Collaboration Among Employees

people talking in a conference room.

Teamwork and collaboration among employees are two of the keystone elements behind any successful business or organization. When teams work collaboratively, they accomplish more, and every employee feels needed and valued. Collaboration also creates a cohesive work environment, which boosts morale in the workplace.

How to Encourage Collaboration Among Employees

But what does collaboration among employees mean? Why is this working style important, and how can you encourage employees to work more collaboratively? Walk with us as we explore employee collaboration, highlight its benefits, and then provide tips to promote it in the workplace.

What Is Employee Collaboration?

Employee collaboration involves working together and sharing ideas and beliefs to create actions that help your business achieve its goals. Collaboration is not just about working together. It’s also about having the same beliefs and values in the workplace. Every employee needs to have a similar view about the business, idea, or goal.

All employees are equal in a collaborative environment. There is no manager or leader to assign tasks to everybody according to their knowledge and skillset. Each employee can contribute equally or give ideas on how to solve a problem. There needs to be trust, respect, and autonomy for employee collaboration to thrive.

Are Collaboration and Teamwork the Same Thing?

The terms “collaboration” and “teamwork” might seem interchangeable, but they stand for different things. Both lead to a similar outcome, which is achieving one common goal. The process behind each concept is, however, different.

people in a conference room looking at a document.

In teamwork, employees work together by dividing roles according to one’s skillset. Each person in the team has to play their part to help the business accomplish its goals. There is also a leader who oversees everything to ensure each employee performs tasks as they should.

Teamwork requires some form of control. Without it, the teams might not work cohesively. Employees in a teamwork-based environment don’t have to like or trust each other, but they need to get the job done.

A classic example of teamwork is in team sports, where each player knows their position. In the case of basketball, there needs to be a forward, center, point guard, and so on. There is also a coach who overseas gameplay and tells each player what to do.

Collaboration, by contrast, has no leader, and there is no “my role, your role” way of thinking. Employees are self-managed, and they don’t work individually. They share responsibilities and ideas that contribute towards achieving the goal.

There needs to be flexibility in a collaborative environment. Employees should be flexible enough to perform tasks they aren’t necessarily good at or those of another team member.

A collaborative environment can have a temporary leader, but not somebody who’s there to call all the shots. This person might be there for a specific task. Whether the leader is present or absent, employees will keep working towards accomplishing their vision. They don’t need a leader or manager to tell them what to do.

What Are Some Examples of Collaboration?

As the workplace becomes more and more modern, many businesses are embracing the concepts of teamwork and collaboration. Employees are being given the privilege and autonomy to perform tasks without supervision. They now have the voice to contribute to strategic decisions for growing the organization. Let’s look at two examples of collaboration among employees:

1. Brainstorming to Solve Problems

A classic example of collaboration in the workplace is when employees brainstorm creative solutions to solve a problem. Brainstorming requires employees to respect each other’s ideas. They shouldn’t be quick to criticize or reward one another’s suggestions.

Like collaboration, brainstorming encourages trust, equality, and autonomy. Each employee should have the freedom to contribute without a feeling of judgment or ridicule. They should also trust in each other’s ability to create clever solutions.

2. Editing a Shared Document

Editing a shared document or system not only promotes collaboration among teams. It also saves time because you won’t have to wait for other team members to make updates for you. Employees with authorization can access and edit the document simultaneously. Every user can see the changes made and who’s making them.

The ERP (Enterprise Resource Planning) system is an excellent example of a shared document. This system allows employees in different departments to make changes regarding business operations. Anyone with authorization can access the ERP system, and any updated information is visible to all other users. Employees collaborate in editing the system so that all business sectors run smoothly.

What Are the Examples of Online Collaboration?

A group of people looking at a computer screen.

Online collaboration involves using cloud-based tools that help employees work together and share ideas. The great thing about this collaboration style is it allows your staff to work remotely. They don’t have to be together. Here are two examples of online collaboration:

1. Problem-solving With Virtual Whiteboards

Virtual whiteboards are an excellent online collaboration tool because they allow anyone with authorization to present their ideas for solving a problem. Employees can use these boards to interact, brainstorm and perform designing projects remotely. Multiple users can access and write on the virtual whiteboards. The changes and updates are visible in real-time.

2. Managing Operations with a Task Management Tool

Like virtual whiteboards, task management tools are accessible and editable by every team member. They enable your employees to clarify tasks and efficiently manage them remotely.

Employees can use task management software to manage operations and track deadlines. For example, once a team member finishes their work assignment, they can update the scorecard from “in progress” to “complete.” Other users will see in real-time the number of complete and incompletes tasks.

Why Is Employee Collaboration Important?

We’ve now defined and outlined a few examples of employee collaboration. Let’s explore some of its key benefits.

Increased Employee Engagement and Satisfaction

Collaboration enables employees to give their best since they feel valued and needed. It creates a positive culture of sharing and equality. Everyone gets treated equally, and no one feels burdened with tasks. Embracing collaboration also motivates teams to work harder because they feel a sense of belonging.

Reduced Work Stress

Employees that work collaboratively have fewer cases of stress and burnout. Work gets distributed equally, which means no one feels overwhelmed. When one staff member struggles with tasks, the others can help out, thus alleviating the pressure.

Collaboration also helps improve the health and wellbeing of each employee. It prevents any health concerns that may arise from stress, for example, anxiety, depression, and insomnia. Employees get to be more productive since they are in a better mood and in perfect health.

Improved Time Management

When employees work together, they finish tasks and projects faster. The workload reduces, and workflow moves more efficiently in the organization.

Embracing collaboration also reduces bureaucracy in an organization. Employees can report their ideas straight to other team members instead of passing them through a manager. This working style helps ideas to flow faster in an organization and reduces the time it takes to implement changes.

Increased Productivity

In addition to saving time, collaborating also helps employees accomplish more. Whether working in the office or remotely, they can handle more tasks and achieve better results. Collaboration increases the chances of the organization achieving its goals.

Improved Employee Relationships

Collaboration allows employees to form harmonious relationships with each other. It creates a fun work environment, which inspires them to foster long-lasting friendships with their colleagues. Your employees will not only enjoy working together, but they’ll also feel more relaxed and satisfied performing tasks. The overall benefit is higher employee retention in the organization.

Better Problem Solving

Teams with a collaborative culture are better equipped to overcome problems in the workplace. They can brainstorm and bounce ideas off of each other to find the best solutions. And since every employee brings a different skill set, they can build on each other’s innovative suggestions for more creative output.

How Do You Encourage Collaboration Among Employees?

Getting employees to collaborate isn’t something you can do overnight. It’s an ongoing process that requires training and time. Check out these tips to help you encourage collaboration in the workplace.

Start Leading by Example

The best way to encourage collaboration among employees is to raise this conversation then lead by example. Begin by training them on what it means to collaborate and live up to your word. Give your employees the equality and autonomy to share ideas. Trust that they can put forward creative solutions, probably even better than you. Try and foster a work environment where everyone shares responsibilities and has each other’s backs.

Promote Communication Among Employees

Effective communication is vital when encouraging collaboration in the workplace. You need to plan regular training sessions to show your employees how to collaborate. You can also mention how this working style benefits them and the organization.

Communication is also crucial to building a collaborative work culture. Your employees should learn to communicate effectively and with autonomy. It will make them more open to airing their thoughts and sharing feedback.

Reward Teams That Enhance Collaboration

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Another way to encourage collaboration among employees is by rewarding teams that embrace this working style. Doing so will motivate others to join the bandwagon. It will send the message to other staff members that this is how you want your business to operate.

There are numerous ways you could do this. You can reward your employees by giving them time off or granting each of them a gift. You can also take them out for lunch or the movies. Just find a creative option that doesn’t require a lot of money but makes your team feel appreciated.

Engage in Team-Building Activities

If you want your employees to start collaborating, try encouraging them to know each other outside the workplace. Engaging in these activities enables your staff to build personal relationships, thus enhancing trust and openness. It’s also a great way to get them to talk to each other.

Get Collaborative Tools

Once you introduce the idea of collaboration to your employees, get the collaborative tools to make it possible. You can invest in tools like virtual whiteboards for brainstorming, task management tools, and shared systems for collaborative editing. Investing in collaboration tools will ease the collaborating process and make communications more effective.

For the tools you think would be a good fit, I suggest you look at reviews for information about what others have experienced. If you have preferences, you’ll want a list of functions so you don’t waste time reviewing tools that don’t have the functionality you’re looking for. See the latest Google search results for employee collaboration tools.

What are the Four Types of Collaboration?

There are four types of collaboration, and they all have their strengths and drawbacks. Knowing which type to use will help you achieve the best results with minimal time and cost. Let’s look at them one by one:

1. Open Collaboration

In open collaboration, anyone can participate in the project, task, or activity. This type is ideal when you want the input of a large number of people. It allows you to get opinions from many team members, thus increasing your chances of getting a solution.

One notable advantage of using open collaboration is you generate a wide range of ideas from different problem solvers. The disadvantage, however, is that you may spend a lot of time and money evaluating each solution to find the best one.

2. Closed Collaboration

Closed collaboration allows the participation of a selected group of problem solvers. This type is suitable when you want the input of a small yet knowledgeable number of people. You can choose who you want on your team.

The advantage of closed collaboration is it allows you to receive the best ideas from a small group of problem solvers. You also won’t have to do a lot of screening and evaluation to find the best solutions. This type might be limiting if you are not surrounded by people with the knowledge and expertise you need.

3. Flat Collaboration

In flat collaboration, no one person has the ultimate authority to make decisions. Decisions are made collectively by most or all the team members. This type is advantageous if you want to share the cost and risk of problem-solving. The limitation, however, is that the decision-making process might be slow because you need a consensus.

4. Hierarchical Collaboration

Hierarchical collaboration allows a specific group of people to make the ultimate decisions. They have the authority to decide which solutions to try and which pathways to follow.

In hierarchical collaboration, the decision-making process is faster since not many people are involved. This type can also be limiting if the group in charge is not knowledgeable.


Employee collaboration involves more than working together. It also includes the sharing of similar beliefs and values about a business. This working style is beneficial to not only employees but also to the entire organization. It helps your employees save time and achieve more tasks since they work collaboratively. Creating a collaborative environment also increases the chances of your business achieving its goals.

The four types of employee collaboration include open, closed, flat, and hierarchical collaboration. You can encourage collaboration in your organization by fostering better communication among employees and leading by example. Find ways to get them to know each other outside the office and get collaborative tools for your team to use. Remember that getting your employees to collaborate in the workplace may take time. It can’t happen overnight.

a group of people in an office looking at computer screen.


Workshops are a great way to learn and gain experience. Some workshops may be a day a weekend or even longer. When taking a workshop you can ask questions and get to know other participants. These days you can even participate in workshops online.

Here are the latest search results for employee collaboration workshops.


Worksheets are a great way to organize an activity and benefit from the experience of completing the worksheet. Another benefit is you can use the worksheet as a reference if you want a refresher, later on.

See the latest worksheets related to employee collaboration.


Another method to learn more about employee collaboration is to read books. I prefer to read the table of contents to get a good sense of what the book offers.

Another advantage of utilizing a book is reading and studying at your own speed. For example, let’s say you have an e-reader or you download a book on your phone. In such a case, you may read it whenever you have downtime and nothing to do, such as when waiting at an airport or train station.

Check out the latest Google search results for books related to Employee collaboration.


Learning combined with experience can give you a strong understanding of almost any topic. When you take a course, put the information to use with practice, and you’re on your way to mastering whatever topic you want.

For example, suppose you’re interested in mastering or even becoming very knowledgeable in employee collaboration. In that case, it might be worth your while to check out the courses available and determine if it makes sense for you to invest your time and money to take the course.

Courses Related to Employee Collaboration


You may want to check out what’s in the media related to employee collaboration. But, naturally, waiting for your subject to emerge in the news isn’t an effective method to monitor it. So instead, utilize Google News to get current and historical material about your subject.

Click here to see the most recent Google news search results related to employee collaboration.


I wish YouTube had been available when I was a teenager. Unfortunately, we had to learn everything by trial and error or by reading books; looking for a video on YouTube was not an option.

Today, you may type in a term and get hundreds of results relating to that topic. Furthermore, YouTube videos are a great method to expand your knowledge on almost any subject.

Click here to see the most recent videos related to employee collaboration.

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