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How to avoid collaboration overload

Sharon Florentine | March 10, 2016
Collaboration can do wonders for your organization's productivity, but there's a dark side. With an increase in collaboration comes an increase in burnout and attrition. The good news: Technology can help.

Freedom to experiment

"We leave quite a large degree of freedom for people to work on what they want to work on, because now we easily can see they are going to support and contribute to all the overarching strategies. The impact has been incredibly positive, and the biggest benefit is transparency and engagement. Everyone's much more bought-in now that they see what the strategy is, how they are contributing, and how they fit into larger initiatives and the objectives," Coureil says.

Being able to derive insights from collaboration data can also help weed out underperformers and determine where obstacles and roadblocks are occurring, says BetterWorks' Duggan. It's the flipside of the coin – you can determine who's taking on too much and also who's taking on too little and manage accordingly.

"If someone isn't doing enough cross-functional work, that's also a problem. Say you've got a guy named Bob who's only doing his own work, he isn't working cross-functionally, he's not actively contributing to other people's projects. Everyone can see that, too. That can create some social pressure to encourage folks like Bob to step up, or it can alert managers to areas where perhaps Bob needs additional training or coaching or it could be that Bob needs to find another position either inside or outside of your company," Duggan says.

It's really all about using data to discover how and where collaboration is working and where it's not, and delivering adequate feedback and support to your employees when, where and how they need it, says Duggan.

"The standard today is that workers are not getting a lot of feedback on what they're working on, and they don't know if what they're doing matters. We hope that we can help people understand that what they're working on is important, it matters and that they're making an open, transparent and clear contribution," he says.


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