Breaking organizational silos in the modern workplace

Breaking organizational silos in the modern workplace

No business can afford to be inefficient, which is why you need to tear down organizational silos in your company.

What are organizational silos?

Organizational silos are essentially divisions in a company. Segmenting your organization into various specialized teams, however, doesn’t necessarily create silos, as long as all segments work together toward your company’s goals. Silos form when each division begins to function independently from and avoid sharing information with other groups.

Silos create walls that prevent teams from coordinating and collaborating effectively with one another. As divisions become too preoccupied with their own ends, they lose sight of the company’s goals. This often results in errors, inefficiencies, and redundancies, and degrades your company culture. Ultimately, organizational silos prevent your company from providing quality products and experiences to your customers.

Tech giant Sony demonstrated the disastrous effects of organizational silos when, in 1999, competing product divisions launched two different digital Walkmans in the same event. In contrast to this was Apple’s united front when the company released the iPod in 2001. Guess which company ended up selling more digital music players.

How can you break apart organizational silos?

To effectively eliminate organizational silos, you must:

  1. Enable employee interactions
  2. Getting your employees to participate in the same activities not only gives them a better idea of what their colleagues do, but it also reminds them that they are on the same team. Cross-department interactions, such as town hall meetings, bring attention to issues that affect different teams and lead to the development of solutions that benefit everyone.

    It’s also important to strengthen camaraderie among your staff. Conduct cross-departmental teambuilding exercises instead of ones focused on small groups — having fun and learning together make it easier for people to communicate with each other. If feasible, consider placing everyone’s desks closer to each other. This allows any employee who encounters a problem to ask a nearby colleague for suggestions or advice, leading to the formation of positive relationships.

  3. Discover why employees monopolize information
  4. It’s possible that some of your employees may withhold key information from their colleagues to monopolize rewards and recognition, but other factors may also be at play. For instance, some of your staff may keep quiet for fear of negative feedback from their bosses and peers. Others may be compelled to hoard information in the name of job security — it increases their value in your organization and makes them irreplaceable. Whatever the reasons may be, you need to find and resolve them to effectively dismantle silos.

    Depending on the issues you uncover, you may need to improve your employees' morale, develop new guidelines, or provide incentives, among others. You should also lead by example by interacting with staff across different teams more often and modeling proper communication behaviors.

  5. Establish a free flow of information
  6. You can support a free exchange of ideas, insights, and other crucial information by investing in communication and collaboration tools. Must-haves include messaging apps like Slack and Microsoft Teams, and project management apps such as Trello and Basecamp. These tools enhance transparency in your workplace by allowing your employees to easily exchange updates and files, and stay up-to-date on the status of everyone’s tasks.

    Cloud-based collaboration platforms like Microsoft 365 and Google Workspace allow teams to work together on projects even if some of their members are miles away from the office. These solutions help break down geographical silos that commonly form in organizations with both on-site and off-site team members.

    Another way to level information silos is by making crucial information — such as processes and manuals for tools — readily available to employees who need them. You can do this through a knowledge management system that your staff can access like a digital encyclopedia.

Regulating the flow of information in your company is key to destroying and preventing organizational silos. At Quicktech, our specialists can help you find and implement solutions to facilitate free and secure exchange of information among your employees. Discover the other ways we can help your company grow by downloading this free eBook today.

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