How thoughtful collaboration will drive revenue in the year ahead
In this guest article, Sanj Bhayro, GM EMEA at Asana, looks at the importance of thoughtful collaboration in driving revenue for businesses in 2023.
2023 has already presented huge difficulties for many businesses, with tech sector layoffs this year already surpassing the whole of last. Against this backdrop of economic uncertainty, there is an opportunity for businesses to grasp collaboration as the anchor they need.
Today, nearly everyone in the office has an opinion on how their company collaborates. Workers, now long since distanced from their pre-pandemic routines, are keen to spot collaboration blockers and efficiency bottlenecks. Cross-functional collaboration best practices, supported by the right technology, can help a company reach its goals, meet customer needs and grow revenue.
How collaboration reaps benefits across the board
Cross-functional collaboration happens when different teams work together to establish, review, and achieve shared goals. But what impact does cross-functional collaboration have on the modern workplace? Earlier this year, Asana launched its 2023 Anatomy of Work Global Index, which was designed to better understand the effects of cross-functional collaboration on businesses. The research uncovered three main findings:
- Successful XFN collaboration correlates to revenue growth
- Clear company and individual goals can lead to improved business preparedness
- Optimised processes can help businesses collaborate smarter
Diving further in, the data revealed that the majority (55%) of workers with ‘good’ collaboration in their workplace reported revenue growth over the past three years – almost double that of organisations deemed non-collaborative.
79% of workers at collaborative organisations also reported feeling well-prepared to respond to challenges (four times higher than weak collaborators) – highlighting how collaboration empowers workers to become more adaptable and flexible. In the current macroeconomic climate, building a resilient workforce such as this should be a critical priority for businesses as they look to establish a competitive advantage.
Debunking the myths around collaboration
It is evident that collaboration reaps benefits across the workplace, but for it to work best it needs to be tactical and thoughtful. There’s a common misconception that collaboration requires a lot of effort, but the goal shouldn’t simply be more collaboration: it should be effective collaboration where it is necessary.
Much of this misconception comes from many companies overcompensating and putting too much emphasis on keeping everyone involved in every decision, leading to numerous irrelevant meetings and a cluttered week of wasted resources.
According to the data, 58% of workers say ‘work about work’ (time spent on work coordination rather than the skilled, strategic jobs they want to do) is still a problem and so the immediate need is to collaborate where collaboration is necessary, fine-tune goals and identify where cross-functional collaboration needs to occur. Improved processes could save workers more than six working weeks across a year and so leaders must focus on smart collaboration and seek ways to streamline tasks.
The importance of setting clear goals in collaboration
For effective cross-functional collaboration, organisational leaders must give clear, connected goals to their workers – ones tied to overarching company goals – or risk finding themselves in an endless churn of demand and delivery. Setting and being accountable for clear organisational goals across all members of the business gives each individual an understanding of what the company wants to achieve and empowers them to be a part of that collective.
70% of workers who understand the impact of their work on the company’s overall mission would describe their company as innovative, and with innovation comes the ability to provide products and services that set an organisation apart from competitors. Furthermore, 87% of workers at companies with clear, connected goals say their organisation is well prepared to meet customer expectations – more than double those without.
By empowering different teams to work together to establish, review, and achieve shared goals, companies will see an immediate improvement in their workforce’s productivity, as well as revenue and performance, which is more important now than ever before.
Retaining the best people through collaboration
Effective collaboration can also provide a significant boost to employee retention, with 87% of workers with clear, connected goals saying they could see themselves working at their current company for the next year – more than double those who said their company lacked clear goals.
With the ability to contribute across the business, rather than act in siloed teams, employees access a broader experience and greater understanding of the core objectives that a company wants to achieve. Not only does this improve their sense of value in their work – 92% of workers at collaborative organisations say their work has value, versus just 50% at organisations with weak collaboration – it also improves interpersonal relationships between individuals and boosts employee engagement. When employees are most engaged, they do their best work.
With employee turnover rates estimated to increase to 35.6% in the UK this year and businesses facing a renewed challenge to boast the best talent, cross-functional collaboration presents a key retention opportunity.
Shifting collaboration from a ‘nice to have’ to a fundamental component
It is clear that teams with strong collaboration are better prepared to do their jobs effectively. They can work together to solve problems quickly, without wasting time trying to figure out who’s responsible for what. Asana’s data shows that this style of working isn’t just nice to have, it’s fundamental for any business.
The correlation between revenue and collaboration goes deeper than just productivity to profit. It enriches the work employees do and the workplace relationships they create. In this era of work where meaning and purpose are key employee motivators, collaboration has a critical role to play. By investing in your best people, your company revenue will reap the rewards.
Whether we remember the 2020s as the decade in which smart collaboration became the prime differentiator between success and failure for businesses remains to be seen. But one thing is for certain, the speed with which business leaders solve cross-functional collaboration problems will lay the foundations for the fortune of their companies.