2 heads are better than 1: Why working together works

Is collaboration a core part of operations at your small business? A new report by Deloitte for Google estimates that collaboration has a net value add to the Australian economy of $46 billion dollars.

Yet 30 per cent of respondents to Deloitte’s survey still said they desired more collaboration in their organisation.

Whether small businesses are hesitant to introduce collaborative systems to their organisations because of a lack of time, knowledge or resources is up for debate. However, what is known for sure is businesses can improve in numerous ways after committing to collaboration. Specifically, Deloitte’s report identified six key ways a collaborative business can expect to experience success.

1) Time saving and productivity of employees

In a survey of more than 1,000 employees and managers across Australia, more than half of respondents identified time saved completing tasks as a positive result of collaboration. Even considering time-wasting activities involved in introducing collaborative systems, based on wages as a measure of value of time, collaboration time savings are worth around $1,660 per employee and manager per year. Importantly, those surveyed were found to work 15 per cent faster on average with collaborative systems in place.

2) Quality of work output

Quality of work output is a well-known benefit of collaboration. It’s so common we have a name for the phenomenon — we call it the wisdom of the crowd. In the survey it was estimated collaboration positively impacted the quality of employee and manager work output to the value of approximately $2,517 per employee and manager, per year. Seventy-three per cent of respondents were found to produce higher quality outputs with collaborative systems.

3) Innovation and new ideas

Australian businesses were found to be less innovative in 2015 than they had been in the previous period of 2013-2014. Collaboration with several people who can validate and improve upon business ideas can accelerate the rate of innovative thinking and creation. The Deloitte report found around 60 per cent of respondents experienced positive change in their approach to innovative thinking as a result of collaboration.

4) Employee engagement and reduced turnover

One simple yet important upside to collaborative work is that, overall, employees enjoy doing it. In the 2013 Connected Workplace paper, also published by Deloitte, there was a direct correlation between employee satisfaction and the rate of collaboration — with satisfied employees collaborating 28 per cent of the working week, compared to dissatisfied employees who only collaborated on average 12 per cent of the working week. Research from this year’s report found similar results, with 56 per cent of respondents reporting they were happier when collaborating.


5) Growth

When collaboration becomes part of an organisation’s business strategy, the innovation and efficiency it generates can give them the necessary edge to stand out competitively. The Deloitte report found only 20 per cent of businesses without collaboration strategies outgrew the market, compared to 30 per cent with a middling strategy and 52 per cent with an important strategy. Companies that prioritised collaboration were found to be five times more likely to experience a considerable increase in employment growth, twice as likely to be profitable, and twice as likely to outgrow competitors.

6) Profitability

As with overall growth, there was a strong correlation between an organisation’s profitability and the presence of a collaborative strategy. Of the businesses that had experienced significant increases in profitability over the past three years the majority had what was deemed “an important collaboration strategy”. In fact, the businesses that claimed collaboration was an important component of their overall business strategy were four times more likely to see improvement in their bottom-line financials.

To improve collaboration at your small business, why not try Reep? Reep is cloud-based software with live access to continuously updated financial information. With simultaneous access available to multiple users, your management team can collaborate on financials anywhere, anytime, on any device.