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Hannah Taylor

Collaboration Counts: Eye-Opening Teamwork Statistics for 2024

Relationships and collaboration are central to our work, but what does the research say about teamwork? Take a look at this roundup of teamwork statistics.

Many hands make light work. There’s no ‘I’ in ‘team.’ No one can whistle a symphony. Teamwork makes the dream work.

There’s a reason we have so many sayings about teamwork. Working with others is an integral part of our work lives, and teamwork can make or break a project — at least, according to teamwork statistics.

Have you ever wondered how you can improve your teamwork skills? Or do you need to be convinced of the power of effective communication? We’ve compiled 35+ workplace collaboration statistics here, looking at everything from the optimal team size to the impact of collaboration tools. Keep reading for answers to your questions.

In numbers: the importance of teamwork statistics

Everyone knows that good teamwork is essential. But does the data support this? Let’s take a look.

Teamwork impacts project success

One study published by Statista found that a massive 89% of respondents believe that teamwork between departments and other business units is either important or very important to their overall job satisfaction.

Backing this up, 37% of respondents to a Gusto study into small business employees claimed that ‘working with a great team’ wasn’t just a motivator for staying in a job but their primary reason for staying.

But teamwork isn’t just crucial for boosting employee morale and job satisfaction. It can also play a role in project success.

A Stanford study found that employees who are open to collaborative working are not only likely to focus on tasks for longer — 64% longer than their solo peers, to be exact — but are also more engaged, display less fatigue, and generally deliver more successful outcomes. Researchers believe this is because people who feel part of a team are more motivated to tackle challenges and communicate effectively.

Another study by the Institute for Corporate Productivity (i4cp) found that businesses promoting collaboration are five times more likely to be considered high-performing.

What’s more, a Fierce Inc. report showed that 86% of respondents blame a lack of workplace collaboration or ineffective communication for workplace failures, while 97% believe a lack of alignment within a team impacts tasks or project outcomes.

What's the perfect team size?

The evidence is clear: good teamwork delivers positive results for individuals and their employers. But what’s the ideal team size? Well, that depends on the type of work the team is doing.

A study published by the American Psychological Association revealed that groups perform better than duos and individuals when solving complex problems. Groups of three, four, and five individuals performed best as they collaborated on information processing and rejecting incorrect answers, while groups of two performed at the same level as solo participants, suggesting they were too small to foster the necessary systems for improved problem-solving.

However, a larger team does not always equal improved performance. In a study published in Joomag, four-person teams took 44% longer to build a Lego figure (52 minutes) than two-person teams (36 minutes).

Teamwork and collaboration statistics

While ‘teamwork’ refers to individuals with similar skills working together, collaborative teams typically comprise members with more diverse skill sets. So, what’s the connection between these two factors?

For starters, Gallup found that 84% of U.S. employees are ‘matrixed,’ meaning they work across multiple teams or report to different managers. In situations like this, teamwork and collaboration become increasingly important.

Workplace collaboration is increasingly important in modern businesses

Productive collaboration has become increasingly important in an increasingly digital world where 8 in 10 people work exclusively remotely or have a hybrid setup.

Yet, 39% of employees believe people in their organization don’t collaborate enough, according to a Queens University of Charlotte study. The same survey found that three in four employers rate teamwork and collaboration as ‘very important.’

Men and women collaborate differently

In a not-so-surprising twist, one study found that men and women take different approaches to collaborative work. While men are 36% more likely to offer informational support by sharing knowledge and expertise, women are 66% more likely to assist others, which requires more time and energy. 

People view their contributions differently, too. In an experiment by Madeline Heilman, an NYU psychologist, people rated a man who worked overtime to support colleagues 14% higher than a woman who did the same, and penalized the woman 12% more than the man when neither helped.

Discouraging unconscious biases will go a long way to building a healthy team where everyone feels supported.

Managers are primarily responsible for team success

So, it’s clear people want —and need— to collaborate better. But whose responsibility is it to ensure effective collaboration becomes integral to job and workplace culture? Managers and senior leadership, of course!

Gallup research has repeatedly found a correlation between employee engagement and manager performance — accounting for 70% of the variance — with managers responsible for providing the conditions for great teamwork and influencing team culture and team dynamics.

Let’s start with some good news: HBR found that the time managers spend with employees in workplace collaborative activities has increased by at least 50% over the past two decades.

But there's still room for improvement when it comes to effective collaboration. 90% of workers think decision-makers should seek out their employees’ opinions before making a final decision, yet 40% say leaders and decision-makers repeatedly fail to do this.

Looping the team in on decisions helps create a sense of ownership, and failing to do so can only have negative consequences, including reducing workplace collaboration moving forward.

Finally, people tend not to collaborate when there’s little incentive to do so. Therefore, managers looking to improve team resilience should promote collaboration by offering incentives and rewards for successful collaboration. One way to manage this is by conducting communication evaluations, which only 18% of employees currently receive.

Teamwork and communication statistics

Communication is one of the most important skills to master in life and work. Most people agree; according to Microsoft, 96% of business decision-makers and 95% of surveyed employees believe effective communication is one of the most critical skills they’ll need for the coming year.

The impact of poor communication on team performance

When businesses don’t communicate with their employees, stress levels can increase. In fact, 80% of workers feel stressed due to poor communication from their employers.

17% of Dynamic Digital’s survey respondents went as far as recommending firing their company’s CEO because of how the company engaged with its employees. And a study by Ketchum Communications found that only 31% of people believe their leaders communicate well.

Considering 46% of employees claim to regularly receive confusing or unclear requests, spending around 40 minutes a day trying to decode these directions, poor communication clearly impacts productivity and team cohesion.

Not all communication is equal

People don’t necessarily want more communication but more effective, authentic communication. In a Salesforce report, 75% of workers said they’d prefer to speak with colleagues as they would their friends - revealing a need for more authentic, honest communication.

High-performing team statistics

Unsurprisingly, CIPD found that teamwork, teamwork training, and group goal-setting are all massive contributors to high-performing teams’ success. However, only 20% of executives in one McKinsey study believed their team was high-performing.

So, if you want to take steps to improve your team’s performance, you’ve got to look at what high-performing teams are doing.

The characteristics of an effective team

A 2001 report by Frank LaFasto and Carl Larson uncovered the five characteristics of an effective team, which they used to form ‘The Five Dynamics of Teamwork and Collaboration,’ one of the most popular team effectiveness models.

These characteristics are:

  1. Team members
  2. Team relationships
  3. Collaborative problem-solving
  4. Good leadership
  5. Organizational development

Interestingly, these characteristics align with much of the evidence we’ve reviewed in this article.

Building a high-performing team

According to statistics, there are three steps to building a high-performing team.

During the early stages of group development, you must address any diversity issues. Gartner found that teams with diverse memberships perform better than non-diverse workforces by 12%. This is likely due to more diverse perspectives supporting greater creativity and insight.

Next, consider your team’s size. As we covered, the ideal team size depends on the types of teams you’re building. McKinsey discovered that teams become less effective when they consist of more than ten people. Sub-teams begin to form, and ownership is undermined because there isn’t enough time for everyone to share their thoughts. The ideal team size, therefore, is somewhere between three and nine members.

Finally, ensure your team is aligned under a shared vision. According to McKinsey, this increases a team’s likelihood of having above-median financial performance by 1.9 times.

Teamwork and tech statistics: collaboration tools

While more businesses are introducing ‘return to work’ mandates in 2024, remote and hybrid working remain options for many. Five in 10 US employees work ‘remote-capable’ jobs, so technology is key to facilitating teamwork among remote workers and hybrid teams.

When managing remote teams, leaders need to adapt their ways of working. It’s no surprise that Gartner has tracked a 44% increase in workers’ use of online collaboration tools since 2019. These can include video conferencing tools, social collaboration tools, communication tools, and more.

As for the effectiveness of collaboration tools in supporting workplace collaboration efforts, you can’t argue with the numbers:

The undeniable effectiveness of online collaboration tools has led to an increase in spending on such tools, with IDC finding that almost half (48%) of businesses expected to increase their budget for collaboration software in 2021. It's a worthwhile investment for more than one reason: building great communication systems will not only enhance productivity but also help reduce turnover.

Confirmed: online collaboration tools improve teamwork

Technology has played an essential role in our approach to building healthy teams at Runn since we were founded. We have seen first-hand how collaborating online can improve efficiency and support employee wellbeing, and it’s fantastic to see workplace collaboration statistics support our practices.

Between online collaboration tools that facilitate asynchronous communication and digital resource management software that streamlines project management tasks, technology offers many opportunities to bolster your collaborative teamwork.

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