How well employees collaborate with each other determines how successful a company is overall. Many companies have long realized that without collaboration there is no innovation. The world is becoming increasingly networked and teamwork and cross-functional knowledge sharing are key to success. Collaboration is therefore required and even demanded of every employee. But all too often, reward systems are neglected that also value this collaboration.
Two problems regarding knowledge transfer
We have observed that two problems can arise in terms of knowledge transfer. Firstly, there are employees who are not willing to share their knowledge adequately or to make their own resources available to others. And second, those employees who are willing to share their resources with others and collaborate voluntarily are not adequately rewarded. Their collaborative skills are left unnoticed.
Collaboration is not only time-consuming but also requires special skills
Since the basis of Open Innovation is an uninterrupted transfer of knowledge and knowledge can only be shared by employees, it is essential that employees are also willing to share their expertise. This, however, could become a problem especially if the company cooperates with external partners through Open Innovation projects. Employees who may be willing to share their knowledge with colleagues within the company are more reluctant to collaborate with external partners. This barrier needs to be breached.
Collaboration is not only time-consuming but it also requires special skills. Have you noticed that certain employees collaborate with their colleagues more often than other employees? Often it is exactly these employees who are in great demand. This is no coincidence because those who collaborate more help not only themselves but also others to do their job better.
But these employees are also exposed to a higher level of stress than those who are less collaborative. Because those who invest time in social interactions still haven’t done their actual job. And only the success of this “actual” work is measured. The collaboration and social interactions that have taken place alongside this work go unnoticed. Why is that?
A reward system for collaboration and knowledge exchange is needed
In the Harvard Business Review article Collaborative Overload the authors draw an interesting comparison to the world of sports. “Consider professional basketball, hockey, and soccer teams. They don’t just measure goals; they also track assists.”, they write. Why not integrate this attitude into companies? “Organizations should do the same, using tools such as network analysis, peer recognition programs, and value-added performance metrics.” In the increasingly global and cross-functional corporate culture, an employee’s success is partly dependent on his or her colleagues. But far too often, assists are not measured in companies, let alone rewarded.
It is therefore important to integrate a system that also measures the performance of collaboration and that the data resulting from this measurement is used to decide which employees deserve promotions and salary increases, for example.
This system of collaboration measurement and rewards not only creates a fairer reward system for those who go the extra mile but also creates incentives for those employees who have been reluctant to collaborate and are reluctant to share their expertise with their colleagues.
OMIND consulting offers various tools to tackle knowledge-sharing barriers
OMIND consulting offers various tools to address these two problems. Our mindset coaching and team workshops help your employees to identify barriers to knowledge sharing and subsequently eliminate them. It is important to create an environment in which all employees feel comfortable sharing their knowledge and ideas. Through customized workshops and training, we help employees to open up more and establish trust in their colleagues.
Our performance measurement app allows you to track and measure the very collaborations that are so important to the success of your business. The data you collect with this app will also help you integrate these collaborative efforts into your reward system. Whether it’s the next promotion, a pay raise or other forms of reward.
In summary, it is important to support your employees in creating the right balance between individual success and collaborative contribution.