5 Ways to Break Down Silos in Business Culture
Introduction to Silos in Business
When business teams do not effectively collaborate and communicate with employees from other departments, the company's operations will become fragmented. These silos should be prevented or broken down to protect the organization's wellbeing.
Additionally, when information and resources are shared openly between different teams, staff members will be able to productively complete their responsibilities and help the business achieve its goals.
What are Silos in Business?
A silo is when teams and employees within the organization's hierarchy fail to communicate ideas and information to staff in other departments. This often stems from the mindset that certain information or resources need to be protected or owned by one group. Key warning signs that demonstrate silo mentality include the following.
- Unawareness From the Top - When senior-level executives and stakeholders are not informed of important initiatives that were established by other departments and teams, there is a silo in the organization.
- Teams are Underprepared - Departments that are underprepared to take on tasks demonstrate that there is miscommunication in the company. For example, a product development team that spent months planning to sell a new item and only informed the marketing team about it a week before its launch is operating in a silo.
- Lack of Bottom-Up Communication - This is when subordinates who are carrying out business plans are not speaking directly to management teams to inform them about the company's performance.
These types of silos will negatively impact a business' goal achievement and can cause plans to be delayed. A collaborative work environment where information is freely shared should be fostered within the company.
5 Tips to Prevent Silos in Business
Organizations can deter silo mentality or break down organizational silos in their operation by implementing these best practices.
1. Communicate Common Visions and Goals
The company should establish a common goal and unified vision, as well as what each team can do to help achieve expectations in the long term.
These objectives should then be shared with individuals across all departments so they can gain a better understanding of how each team's function is interconnected. This will demonstrate to staff that they must all work together to reach these company goals.
Executives can communicate their vision during employee training or by showcasing displays and visuals during meetings to indicate their progress towards meeting the set objectives.
2. Establish Multi-Functional Teams
Multi-functional teams that have members or representatives from different departments, such as marketing, customer service, engineering, and sales, can help promote innovative thinking and will streamline product launches.
This type of collaboration will prevent organizational silos and allow information to flow freely between the teams. Additionally, it enables each person to understand the function of other departments and their role in successful goal achievement.
3. Utilize Communication Tools
All teams should be able to accessibly reach out and communicate with their colleagues. Executives can create a space for team members to gather in the workplace and have collaborative meetings.
Utilizing digital communication tools will allow staff to meet with their teams, remotely from their office or from any other location. Typically, companies will have emailing systems, instant messaging chats, and video conferencing for employees to connect digitally.
When using an online communication solution, it is important to indicate to employees the main platform they should share information on. This will prevent disjointed communication and lost messages.
4. Encourage Teams to Work Together
According to statistics, 86% of employees say that lack of collaboration leads to failures in the workplace. Organizations can prevent this by promoting teamwork and communication across all departments.
Managers can develop collaborative projects that allow multiple teams to brainstorm together and contribute work. This will help keep them engaged with their colleagues as they share new ideas and insights.
The company can also encourage partnership by hosting company-wide training where employees perform activities that require a joint effort. Team-building events and regular meetings with all departments will also enable employees to meet other teams.
5. Employ Cross-Functional Liaisons
Organizations can hire mediators or facilitators to help encourage departments to cooperate. Since these professionals will not have a personal stake or opinion on the business's matters, they can help with fairly reconciling any miscommunication between departments.
Liaisons can help with facilitating meetings in a way that will allow team representatives to be transparent. For example, members will be motivated to clearly state what they need from other teams, share resources, and provide the necessary information. This will help with building relationships between the departments and ensure a streamlined workflow.
In Conclusion - Silos in Business
If left unmanaged, organization silos can cause delays and interruptions in business functions. Businesses need to establish strategies that will promote teamwork within all departments and ensure that key information is shared with the right employee in a timely manner. By breaking down silos, the business will be able to maintain productivity and achieve the organizational objectives.