In the current context where remote work has almost become the norm, the concept of supportive collaboration takes on its full meaning. What does that consist of exactly? Julie Tremblay-Potvin, cofounder and president of the consulting firm De Saison, shares her vision.
Strategist in the development of people and organizations for De Saison – Art of living and working, Julie Tremblay-Potvin specialises in helping employers and employees to better balance their professional and personal life.
According to her, the year that’s just passed has been a turning point. “Before the pandemic, we talked about work-family balance in companies without significantly changing the way things were done. But COVID-19, with remote work and homeschooling, has forced organizations to make work-life balance more than an intention.” And that’s where supportive collaboration comes in.
Some key ingredients of supportive collaboration
“Supportive collaboration on the job means working towards a common goal, while taking care of both your needs and those of others,” explains Julie Tremblay-Potvin. Thus, an organization will no longer focus only on work and performance, but will also take into account employees and their different realities (availability, difficulties, needs), while still respecting a well-defined organizational framework. For example? “Common values, expected behaviour and responsibilities,” she itemizes.
To achieve this balance, we must first combine some fundamental ingredients: listening, comprehension, trust and agility. “We must create an environment where everyone will feel comfortable sharing their professional and personal challenges, whether it’s a lack of training or a child staying home because of the pandemic.”
Talking about challenges, Julie Tremblay-Potvin admits: Implementing a collaborative culture doesn’t happen without both effort and real willingness. “Not only must we set aside time each week to communicate and reflect as a team on the various human, organizational and operational challenges, but we must review the very definition of success to include human, social and environmental KPI’s (Key Performance Indicators). Then, you must truly adapt and change.
It would be worth it, because lack of support generally characterises toxic workplaces governed by individualism, competition, fear, desire for control, rigidity, intolerance and psychological fatigue.
A winning recipe
What are the advantages of basing your organizational culture on supportive collaboration? “In a supportive company, the employees feel included,” Julie Tremblay-Potvin confirms. “Consequently, their feeling of belonging, their engagement, their performance, their creativity, their autonomy and their job satisfaction increases. Not counting their psychological health which is better for it.”
A notable advantage in these times where psychological health could be compromised. “With health resources being strained, it’s important that organizations play a proactive and positive role in job related mental health,” insists the expert.
That being said, employers don’t have to improvise as psychologists. Key takeaway: the importance of finding a solution that works for everyone.