In every aspect of life, long-term relationships are more rewarding for all parts involved than short-term alliances. Of course, the latter can make useful strategies at key moments and for achieving immediate goals. However, if you are running a marathon and not just trying to win a race, you definitely want reliable partners you can actually count on along the way. Therefore, if you are looking to building your company up in the future, you should see long-term collaboration as a priority.
The purpose of this article is to help you understand why and how to build long-term relationships that will help your company evolve.
Why long-term collaboration is so important
Data shows that replacing an employee is draining a company the equivalent costs of 6 to 9 months of salary. According to a study published by Center for American Progress, the costs increase proportionally with two key elements:
- the role in the company and
- the wage of the person that is being replaced
For employees earning the minimum wage, the costs can go as low as 16 percent of their annual salary. For executive positions it can reach as high as 213 percent of their annual income. Highest costs are associated with hiring, onboarding and training, low productivity in the period of transition, and beginner errors.
But these are just some of the factors that make employee retention so important for companies. There are other costs that are a lot harder to measure:
- Team collaboration is always affected each time a member leaves or joins the team.
- Earning trust and learning to work together with the newcomer takes time and it is not always a guaranteed success.
- There are always risks associated with integration in a collective.
- There are strategies to help new employees fit in, but they all come at a cost, especially in terms of time and energy.
- Changes are always accompanied by a period of lower productivity for teams, until everyone manages to adjust. And low team productivity is the nightmare of any entrepreneur.
Now you can see why long-term collaboration is so important for your company. But this is only half of the conversation on this matter. Read forward to find out how you can build long-term relationships within your team.
How to build long-term collaboration
Long-term collaboration brings long-term success. Any leader should keep this in mind and act accordingly when building relationships with clients and team members.
Unlike short-term alliances, long-term collaboration requires constant investments and a high degree of dedication from all sides involved. In employer-employee relationships, this usually translates in employers keeping their people happy and the employees returning a satisfying rate of productivity to help the company grow.
Ultimately, building long-lasting collaboration with your employees revolves around three very important concepts.
As with any other type of relationship, work relationships need to be based on trust in order to last. To build trust within your team, you have to lead by example. Asking your employees to perform at the highest levels and deliver on time while you are constantly late and avoiding hard work will never help you gain the trust and respect you expect from your people.
However, you should be careful not to overdo it either. Micromanaging your team will make your employees think that you don’t trust their abilities, which will hurt not only your collaboration, but also their job performance.
Therefore, the best way to show people you trust them and motivate them to trust you back, is by working side by side and making team decisions together. Of course, this does not mean that you should run every business decision by your entire team. However, asking questions and listening to their opinions, while always being willing to offer your expertise when it is needed, will build trust and strengthen your relationships.
Communication is key in keeping relationships alive. Collaboration is virtually impossible when communication is lacking. Luckily, we live in the age of technology, which makes team communication easier than ever. Team communication solutions help teams operate at the same high levels, no matter if they are located in the same office or on different corners of the world.
Constantly communicating with your team members makes things run smoothly, while also reassuring people that you are ready to put in the same work and efforts in working towards a common goal.
Show that you care by having regular one-on-one conversations with your team members. Discuss their career plans. Help your employees advance by assigning the right tasks not only for the skills they currently have, but also for the ones they are interested in developing. Having well-prepared employees is in the best interest of your company. Besides, opportunity for growth is a great incentive for employees to stay loyal and get involved on the long run.
Building a culture of cooperation within your company will make long-term collaboration a lot more likely to happen organically. In team relationships based on trust, there should always be little competition. Everyone needs to understand that they have the same goal: bring the best results and help the company grow.
There is no room for competition when trying to build something together. It is not about who does things better or faster, but about getting things done. Working together to accomplish that is a lot more likely to bring better results. We all know that two heads are better than one, and there’s no “I” in “team”.
Long-term collaboration brings great benefits to both your company and your employees. Besides savings associated with onboarding new employees and preserving team unity, old employees are more loyal, trustworthy and happier. Ultimately, this makes them more productive.
Using the three key concepts – trust, communication, and cooperation – to build long-term relationships with and among your employees will create the right company culture to set your company up for success.
Hoping that you found this article useful, we invite you to share your thoughts on the subject. Have you been using different strategies to forge long-term collaboration in your company? Share your experience with us in the comments section below.