Collaborate and boost productivity, Deloitte Digital

Perspectives

Collaborate and boost productivity

Collaboration worth $46 billion to Australia

Unlocking the power of collaboration in the workplace is helping institutions meet their productivity and innovation challenges.

New Australian research from Deloitte for Google found that the Australian economy will lose $9.3 billion worth of value, if it doesn’t leverage collaboration in the workplace (currently worth $46 billion a year). The dollar value was arrived at by analysing productivity, profitability, employee satisfaction, improved product quality and innovation – all functions of faster-growing, profitable businesses with collaboration at their core. Companies that prioritise collaborationare five times more likely to experience a considerable increase in employment, twice as likely to be profitable, and twice as likely to outgrow competitors.

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. The research conducted by Deloitte Access Economics and Deloitte Digital found that by unlocking the potential capacity and knowledge of its people, employees who collaborate are 10 times more likely to be satisfied with their job. A third of the 1000-strong sample of employees and managers surveyed say that collaboration helps them work faster with three quarters acknowledging that collaboration improves the quality of their work.

This article was first published in Australian Banking & Finance. 

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. The research conducted by Deloitte Access Economics and Deloitte Digital found that by unlocking the potential capacity and knowledge of its people, employees who collaborate are 10 times more likely to be satisfied with their job. A third of the 1000-strong sample of employees and managers surveyed say that collaboration helps them work faster with three quarters acknowledging that collaboration improves the quality of their work.

 

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Collaboration is a function of people communicating and working together and building on each other’s ideas to produce something new, or do something differently. In a competitive marketplace, firms that collaborate become more efficient in the way they operate, and develop more innovative processes and products.

However, according to the AustralianBureau of Statistics, only 36 per cent ofAustralian businesses were innovative in2012-13 – that is, they introduced new orsignificantly improved goods, services, operational, organisational, managerial processes, or marketing methods. This was down from 41 per cent the year before.

 

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Collaboration

In addition, stopping Australia’s slide in productivity is one of the nation’s biggest challenges with productivity falling at an average of 0.6 per cent a yearsince2007-08, according to the Productivity Commission. ChairmanPeter Harris said our performance hadbeen significantly worse than that of most other developed economies for more than a decade.

The normal response to these challenges is for companies to immediately seek to reduce headcount. But with a more strategic and sustainable approach, more people, companies, and institutions will be able to explore a range of collaboration opportunities that could change the dial on both productivity an performance.

The July 2014 research identified a strong correlation between collaboration and the performance of Australian companies. Those that actively encourage collaboration do better – not by a little, but by a lot. Collaboration, driven by a clear strategy, brings revenue growth, more profit, greater employee satisfaction, higher productivity, improved product quality and innovation. The concern in Australia is that more than half of Australian businesses are leaving collaboration to chance. They have no collaboration strategy and are therefore missing out on what are very significant benefits for them, their people, and the national economy.

According to the Deloitte Access Economics’ research only a quarter of those Australian businesses surveyed said they had a collaboration strategy that was important for their business.

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Innovation and productivity

As customers increasingly need personal, safe and digitally enabled services, employees need collaborative and intelligent technology platforms to be able to be responsive, agile and helpful. They also need progressive leadership and culture, and workplace champions. Given that by 2025, 75 per cent of the global workforce will be digital natives or illennials (those born after 1983), technology continues to offer the means for such connection and co-creation, within and beyond corporate boundaries. It will be an enabler to drive collaboration.

The ongoing increase in high bandwidth connectivity, coupled with a rapid expansion in effective social media technologies, makes this possible. In the next few years, we expect to see more and more businesses use social platforms to better effect as they extend their connections with customers, suppliers, partners, and employees in a more meaningful way, and become more globally connected.

In fact, the whole process of connectivity and building new products and services today is moving from what used to be an internal approach to innovation and communication, towards a co-creating approach with customers, communities, suppliers and even competitors in open spaces. This shift also describes the movement to encouraging and recognising the more dynamic and collaborative flows of knowledge.

Australian workforces need to get better at strategizing for the anticipated changes. This becomes even more compelling when you consider that every year about 11 per cent of employees change their employer and for more than one in five it is because of unsatisfactory working conditions.

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Market demand

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