Collaboration is based on creating something greater as a group than would be possible for an individual. It can reinvigorate a business by fully engaging employees, breaking down silos, encouraging better innovation and ultimately increasing morale, retention and productivity.

True collaboration is a process with behaviors that can be taught and developed. It is governed by a set of norms that maximizes individual contributions while leveraging the collective intelligence of everyone involved. It improves organizational flexibility and agility, enhances employee well-being and performance and creates a competitive advantage in attracting top talent.

Begin today to build a collaborating culture – a culture that focuses on searching for creative solutions rather than pointing fingers or placing blame.


Keep your entire team continually updated and aware of how they and the business are doing. Give them the good, the bad and the ugly regarding performance and customer feedback. Focus on results at all levels.

  • Communicate openly, every day and to the entire staff. This may involve shift startup meetings or a daily internal email highlighting the day’s news, developments and events. This helps keep things transparent and minimize rumors.

Support and Recognition

Make it clear that your people are what is most important. Your guiding principles include advocacy, flexibility, empathy and support, as well as respect for personal commitments outside the workplace.

  • Make a special effort if employees are going through a tough personal time. This sets you apart as a caring, collaborative organization. It is the best, right and only thing to do.
  • Recognize the contributions of team members who have made a difference. Implement fair, appropriate rewards programs.
  • When people leave, view them as part of your extended family. Maintain strong ties. You may one day want them back.

A Commitment from the Top

Your senior leadership must have the right mindset and commitment to building a collaborative culture. Staff looks to them to set the tone. If the passion and follow through are lacking, your workforce will know it. Your leaders must:

  • Consistently show respect for people. Treat everyone fairly and well, even those who they may not particularly like.
  • Keep the sense of hierarchy as low as possible. Every individual should feel as though they can be an equal contributor. This kind of servant leadership truly galvanizes a team.
  • Lighten the tone with humor. Having fun with you work sets a positive tone for the entire organization.

Leadership puts into perspective not only what is expected of the leaders themselves, but of the entire workforce. Even small things make a difference. For instance, design all offices to be roughly the same size. Make leaders be the last to get new furniture and park in more distant spaces when it is their turn.


Build ownership by involving employees in decision making. Give serious consideration to their input and whenever possible, implement their suggestions.

  • Hold regular company-wide meetings where everyone is invited to participate and contribute.
  • Include employees in interviewing and onboarding new hires. This serves the additional purpose of candidates getting a good feel for collaboration right from the onset.

The executive recruitment and development experts at BrainWorks can partner with you to build a culture where the best talent thrives – along with your business. Contact us to learn more.

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