Work together, earn together
According to the 2023 Anatomy of Work Global Index, 55% of workers who collaborate successfully across functions reported revenue growth over the past three years. Just 28% of respondents without successful collaboration across functions reported revenue growth over the past three years.
Words by Alison Bowen
Bringing people together has always been a vital component of any workplace. Getting people in the same workspace fosters creativity, boosts engagement, and can help make decision-making efficient.
And after years of a pandemic, the value of working together has never been more apparent. Collaboration can bring many positive benefits, whether in a video conference room, seeing coworkers’ faces populate across a screen, or sharing coffee over a conference table or lunch at a restaurant.
So it can seem obvious—teams working together well is beneficial. But can it also boost revenue?
Asana’s 2023 Anatomy of Work Global Index found that employees who collaborated well at their company also reported revenue growth over the past three years.
Asana surveyed the behaviors and attitudes of 9,615 knowledge workers across Australia, France, Germany, Japan, the U.K., and the U.S. The findings around the positive effects of strong collaboration were varied. But the most critical impact, given the uncertainty in global markets, was the benefit of strong collaboration on revenue growth.
It can be hard to draw a direct line from collaboration to revenue. Industry experts say the importance of that connection isn’t something leaders should ignore. Experts tell Asana how teams can impact a company’s bottom line, both from a revenue perspective and efficiency and innovation.
In the Anatomy of Work Global Index, more than half of workers at collaborative organizations reported revenue growth over the past three years—almost double that of weak collaborators (55% vs. 28%).
55% of respondents at organizations that collaborate successfully across functions reported revenue growth over the past three years. Just 28% of respondents without successful collaboration across functions reported revenue growth over the past three years.
Teams with stellar collaboration can work together to solve problems quickly—without wasting time circling back to figure out who is responsible for what. Collaboration occurs when teams across an organization establish, review, and achieve shared goals.
Collaboration translates to revenue
David C. Edelman, a Harvard senior lecturer, and former Aetna CMO, has studied strategic collaboration across all departments throughout his career.
Facilitating strong collaboration can lead to more creativity, which can help businesses more easily and quickly come up with and execute new ideas to boost business. Cross-functional collaboration allows employees to pool resources and tackle mission-critical challenges. Teams that work well together will be more likely to innovate, bringing new ways to reach customers and, with that, the possibility of driving profits.
Strong collaboration creates a focus on strategic work
Collaboration breeds positive results. Happier employees are more likely to stay, so companies can save money on recruiting, training, and retention.
Company leaders who foster strong collaboration might boost their business because employees use their time more efficiently. UCLA professor Cassie Holmes, the author of Happier Hour, studies the impact of time and happiness and how to better use the former for the latter.
When employee focus is scattered across tasks without clear direction or cohesion with colleagues, they can feel distracted or unhappy.
“If within an hour, you’re doing a variety of tasks, then that’s where you get that lower satisfaction,” Holmes tells The Workback. “You don’t feel like you’re having an effect and haven’t gotten anything done.”
Strong collaboration is linked to work that is appreciated
The Anatomy of Work Global Index also shows that 92% of surveyed workers who said their organization had strong cross-functional collaboration also felt their work had value. Meanwhile, just 50% of workers at companies with weak cross-functional collaboration could say the same.
Collaboration happens faster and easier when work is documented, and projects are connected. This doesn’t surprise Carson Tate, founder and managing partner at Working Simply. Tate says that in her conversations with executives, fostering more efficient collaboration is a behavior that can impact revenue.
“If I can do the work more efficiently with fewer re-dos, I am not wasting my time,” Tate says. “And my time as an employee costs you, the leader, money. I can do more work in less time when I can get the work done and move to another item or project.”