Collaboration Within the Virtual Workplace

In today’s workplace, employees are clocking in from home or even from other countries. Technology has enabled employees to commute virtually to work. This offers tremendous opportunities for organizations, allowing them to scale without expanding offices, while also allowing them to pool talent from virtually anywhere on the globe. However, this trend poses challenges to executives trying to cultivate a positive company culture.

According to Richard Hackman and his team of Harvard psychologists, the single strongest predictor of group effectiveness was the amount of help that employees gave each other, or in other words, collaboration (Grant). This defied the popular belief that the critical factors to effective teams were having stable team membership, or having well-defined roles and responsibilities. Evidence from studies led by Indiana University’s Phillip Podsakoff demonstrates that the frequency with which employees collaborate and help one another predicts sales revenues in pharmaceutical units and retail stores; profits, costs, and customer service in banks; creativity in consulting and engineering firms; productivity in paper mills; and revenues, operating efficiency, customer satisfaction, and performance quality in restaurants (Grant).

The research conducted by Podaskoff revealed some key benefits that collaboration among employees facilitates. The benefits include: enabling employees to solve problems and get work done faster, enchanting team cohesion, reducing variability in performance when some members are overloaded or distracted, and establishing an environment in which customers and suppliers feel that their needs are the organizations top priority.

Executives recognize the importance of cultivating a corporate culture that promotes collaboration to improve organizational efficiency, but with many employees now scattered across multiple states or constantly working on the road, they are facing challenges to implement an effective collaboration program.

Certain software and online tools are answering this question. YouEarnedIt for example, is a software platform that allows employees to reward co-workers for their achievements. The software allows employees to receive recognition points that they can redeem for prizes, such as donations to a favorite charity or executive coaching. YouEarnedIt promotes employee engagement and makes rewarding employees an easy task no matter where they are located geographically.

Although YouEarnedIt is a great service, it doesn’t tackle the challenge of effectively implementing a platform for collaboration from employees across multiple states. Inqiri provide an efficient and effective platform for employees to voice their ideas and collaborate. Inqiri empowers Management to ask questions about current organizational issues and allows employees to submit their opinion and rate their answers in an anonymous manner. The technology behind inqiri has not only developed a technology to present decision alternatives in an easy to understand, quantifiable manner, but has also leveraged the phenomenon of “collective intelligence”. Collective intelligence has the potential to produce very effective decisions and create outcomes that normally would either not be recognized, or fall subject to personal bias.

With more and more organizations with employees working from different regions, the challenge of collaboration is something that needs to be addressed. As Richard Hackman and his team found, creating a culture that supports collaboration is the single most important factor to cultivating an effective team. Inqiri provides a very effective and efficient solution to organizations that want to scale without expanding offices, but still foster a collaborative culture.

For more information on inqiri’s creative solution, visit www.inqiri.com

Sources

Grant, Adam. “Givers Take All: The Hidden Dimension of Corporate Culture.” McKinsey & Company (n.d.): n. pag. Web.

http://www.mckinsey.com/insights/organization/givers_take_all_the_hidden_dimension_of_corporate_culture

Mirshahzadeh, Darius. “3 Online Tools for Supercharging a Company’s Culture.” Entrepreneur. N.p., n.d. Web.

http://www.entrepreneur.com/article/234798

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inqiri

inqiri is a web application on the leading edge of cognitive science. Combining the insights of collective intelligence with the power of synthetic intelligence, inqiri helps optimize the decision-making process.

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