Effective collaboration between different employees and their departments can boost productivity and help to drive growth for your business. This collaboration can be hindered when organisational silos begin to develop.
In this blog, we’ll examine what business silos are, how they can form and what you can do to break silos down.
What are business silos?
Silos are divisions between people or groups within a business. There are different kinds of silo, both tangible and intangible. For example, separate departments represent a common example of organisational silo.
It's common for staff to be split into groups based on their job titles, responsibilities and skills. After all, it makes sense for employees whose roles overlap to work closely together. However, it can be easy for departments to focus their attention inwards – creating a silo mentality.
Separate teams can fall into bad habits, such as focusing solely on their own goals and tasks, meaning they fail to interact with individuals in other departments. Communication levels drop and important information becomes trapped.
Why should your business break down silos?
Breaking down silos is about removing divisions between people or groups in a business. When departments have a silo mentality, they often fail to share information or resources with anyone outside their group.
It’s not a case of them keeping the information for themselves, it’s more that they increasingly focus on their own team and don’t consider how simple information or data could be effectively utilised elsewhere.
Divisions can hinder communication and collaboration throughout your company. When businesses try to break down silos, it can make a big difference.
When departments share their resources, it can help them accomplish tasks and projects more efficiently. Beyond seeking help from other departments, employees may find opportunities to learn from them to improve their usual processes.
Cultivate better decision-making
Eliminating silos enables and encourages groups to share information and resources with individuals across the business. This streamlined flow of information can help managers and leaders make more informed decisions because they have more data available at a much faster pace.
One way to break down silos is by incorporating collaboration tools into the workplace. These tools make it easy for individuals across different departments and teams to communicate and work with one another on projects.
Different departments represent unique skills and knowledge. Bringing groups together to solve problems or work on projects can lead to more innovative solutions because of these diverse perspectives.
How to break down silos
So, how can you break down silos in your business and prevent them from forming in the future?
Establish clear business-wide goals
Long-term, large-scale goals can serve as a unifying force for employees, no matter the department they’re a part of. When silos exist, each department develops its own goals and objectives based on its wants or needs. As a result, these goals may not always align with the goals of another department leading to friction.
Promote cross-department collaboration
A great way to break down silos between departments is by encouraging or requiring them to work together on projects. These projects provide specific goals for different departments to work toward. This collaboration also promotes the sharing of resources, information and knowledge across various areas of the organization.
Simple social activities can bring people together whose paths might never ordinarily cross. Hosting in-person or even virtual events gives staff the opportunity to meet and interact with one another. Keep them relaxed and informal and you’ll find that any initial awkwardness soon melts away as people get to know each other.
Encourage better communication
How you accomplish this is up you, but the goal is simply to make it as easy as possible for messages and resources to pass between departments. This only really works if it’s implemented at all levels of the business. From the very top downwards, it needs to be so that anyone is accessible. This doesn’t mean that emails are sent to hundreds of people, rather than just those who are relevant. However, it does mean that employees should feel as though they can approach anyone with an issue or message.
Use effective communication tools
Leading on from the previous point, you’ll also need to consider how you want each department to communicate with one another. How are they communicating currently? Do you have the tools and systems in place right now to allow for seamless communication?
It might be that your current system is causing bottlenecks of information and resources that are helping to contribute to the forming of silos. Conduct an internal audit of your communication tools and see how staff feel about them. Then, if there are areas for improvement, you can consider alternatives.
Take your phone system, for example. Is it easy for staff to easily reach the right person at your business with an internal issue or external call from a customer?
CircleLoop is a cloud-based phone system that is reliable, scalable and easy-to-use for staff, whatever their department. To see how it can ease communication concerns at your business, sign up for a free trial now.