Real Organisational Experience Through Cross-Organisation Collaboration and Communication

One of the keys to retaining valued employees and talents is to provide them with an organisational experience that truly inspires them to stay.

This article is part of a 6-week series exploring the key dimensions of the organisational experience - Meaningful Work, Supportive Management, Positive Work Environment, Growth Opportunity, Trust in Leadership, and Cross-Organisational Collaboration and Communication. Based on Deloitte’s Simply Irresistible Organisation Model, PACE developed further research to determine which factors within these dimensions are the most important.

The 2019 Global Human Capital Trends found that businesses have been steadily moving away from hierarchical structures and towards cross-functional teams, with 53% of respondents seeing a “significant improvement in performance” since switching to team-driven projects. As the world becomes increasingly connected and problems become more complex, we can no longer rely on individuals to tackle issues that cross department lines. This is where teaming comes in.

Professor Amy Edmonson describes teaming as “teamwork on the fly. It involves coordinating and collaborating without stable team structures (as) the constantly shifting nature of work means that many teams disband as soon as they form.” This term recognises that the types of cross-organisational teamwork required could be for both short-term and long-term projects, and involves essential collaborators from different departments.

How can we ensure that our teams are most effective? Here are four key factors that ensure an effective team:

  1. Open communication
  2. Diversity
  3. Inclusive Environment
  4. Shared Goals

Open Communication

Employees must first be comfortable having open, honest conversations about what is and isn’t working within the team. Organisations can support their employees by creating a framework for communication. This means establishing everyone’s role in the team, their preferred communication style and tools, as well as a clear sense of direction.

According to the Harvard Business Review, communication should be highly visible, well-explained, daily, and timely. While these are lessons learned from 9/11 and the more recent Covid-19 pandemic, the crux of the matter is the same - regular updates ease anxiety and establish trust.

Diversity and An Inclusive Environment

The second and third factors are inextricably linked. A diverse team is made up of employees with different backgrounds and perspectives, while an inclusive environment explores how diversity is fostered and supported.

Diverse teams perform better. A Forbes study found that gender-diverse teams make better business decisions “73% of the time”, compared to all-male teams at 53%. Teams that included wider age ranges and geographical locations made better business decisions 87% of the time. Similarly, Mckinsey’s 2019 Diversity Wins report found that “companies in the top quartile for gender diversity on executive teams were 25 percent more likely to have above-average profitability”.

Organisations can create an inclusive environment through inclusive decision making. This goes a step beyond diverse hiring practices. Companies can also leverage their existing diverse employees by including them in business decisions on all levels, rather than waiting to hire someone that fits the bill. They should also uphold a zero-tolerance policy for discriminatory behaviour, and ensure ongoing dialogue.

Diversity begets diversity. The Women in the Workplace 2020 report found that not only are company profits close to 50% higher when women are well-represented at the top, the majority of senior-level women also say they consistently take a public stand for gender and racial equality at work.

Shared Goals

All teams should be aligned to the organisational vision and feel supported by adequate and shared resources. Team members should understand how their project supports the organisation and the importance of collaborating well. Departmental heads should also be brought on board to support their employees in achieving both team and individual targets. According to the Centre for Management & Organisation Effectiveness, aligning goals “reduces redundancies, clarifies competitive advantages, and supports market manoeuvrability.”

Overall, cross-organisation collaboration and communication is most effective when open communication, diversity, an inclusive environment, and shared goals are present.

To close this article series, we are mindful that when employees have a positive organisational experience, they tend to stay longer and are more driven to contribute to their organisations.

How does your organisation fare on  the 6 dimensions of positive organisational experience? Do your employees:

  1. Find their job meaningful?
  2. Get management support?
  3. Have a positive work environment?
  4. Get opportunity to grow in their job?
  5. Trust in their leadership?
  6. Get cross-organisational Collaboration and Communication?

To find out more about how your organisation can assess how it fares on the the six dimensions from employee’s perspectives or for a sample copy of our Real Organisation Report , click the link here for enquiry.

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