Without knowing it, many companies regularly create environments that allow the development of organizational silos that make collaborative work difficult, generate the loss of resources and create a general tension that affects the growth of the organization.
Therefore, in this article we have compiled what are the causes that trigger these types of barriers in an organization and how you can overcome them to achieve a culture that promotes joint development successfully.
What are organizational silos?
Organizational silos consist of situations in which various departments or groups in an organization do not want to share information or knowledge with other people with whom they work.
Silos form when leaders, and ultimately employees, are allowed to develop more loyalty to a specific group or team than to the company as a whole.
The failure of employees in one department to interact openly and fluently with those in other departments can have a direct impact on business operations, resulting in lost revenue and even turf wars between departments.
Therefore, these organizational silos can become huge barriers within a company and can be very difficult to break down once they have been established.
Lack of direction from higher positions in the company with respect to overall goals, fostering an environment of mistrust, and lack of well-developed organizational communication give leaders and employees tacit permission to form these types of silos. .
Consequences of organizational silos
Some of the consequences of allowing organizational silos to develop are:
Difficulty in teamwork
When organizational silos exist, employees isolate themselves and distrust other departments, making teamwork increasingly difficult and information sharing stops.
We can see this clearly in meeting interactions, where team members are careful about what is shared, are reluctant to actually participate in discussions, and generally do not communicate.
Silos can significantly hurt your production levels. When your employees are not aware of some relevant information, or when they spend their time tracking it or preventing others from having it at their fingertips, this can affect productivity metrics by dedicating their time and effort on non-priority or based on tasks. a wrong assumption.
Restrictions on innovation
Data and discussion encourage creativity. If teams are not encouraged to share perspectives and brainstorm, innovation and idea generation that can lead to new projects or improvements in products and services is suppressed.
Loss of resources
Organizational silos can cause a lot of waste and unnecessary overhead, whether from redundant work, time spent searching for crucial information, or duplicating orders for the same resources.
Low business morale
Silos can become a big problem for workplace cohesion, lowering company morale and employee engagement . They can damage relationships between teams, weaken trust in company management, and lower job motivation .
Inconsistent customer experience
Organizational silos not only have an internal impact, they can lead to inconsistencies in the information presented to customers and become a major obstacle in delivering a seamless customer experience .
This can really hurt your bottom line, as more customers are willing to switch brands if they don’t get a consistent experience.
Causes of organizational silos
Some of the main causes that lead to the generation of an organizational silo are:
Lack of team mentality
A common cause of organizational silos is the lack of understanding of how a certain department or team fits into the bigger picture, which causes the executive or leader in charge to focus on what we can call local objectives versus the objectives of the company. business.
For example, if the players on a competitive sports team focus on their individual stats, they don’t really care whether the team wins or loses as long as it looks good.
Compete for resources
Organizational silos can also exist because groups are forced to compete for resources. This happens in every budget cycle and in every staff increase debate.
This means that if more is invested in one department, another dispenses with that investment. Unfortunately, this situation is true, since few companies have unlimited budgets, so you have to distribute the available resources.
Lack of communication
Silos are often created due to lack of communication between teams. This starts at the top, in the leadership team, so it is important to build trust and communication in the decision-making process.
Most of the problems within an organization are due to insufficient communication with employees , so each one is dedicated to setting their own priorities and direction without knowing or caring much about what the other departments want or need.
Losing sight of company goals
An organizational silo can be generated when groups focus on immediate results versus the broader goals of the business. For example, the Software Development team may set aside a key feature to meet a certain schedule.
Thus, they manage to meet the calendar. However, the overall product suffers. Or, the sales team is focused on getting deals signed, not necessarily whether those deals are good for the company.
How to overcome organizational silos?
Now that you know what an organizational silo is and what some of its origins are, we will present the most important recommendations that you should take into account to overcome them and develop a better employee experience :
1. Create a global vision of team collaboration
The silo mindset begins with leadership. Often times, divisions in an organization set goals that benefit their department but conflict with the goals of another. Each manager is focused on meeting their specific goals, and that approach often encourages siled information and creates resistance to sharing it across teams.
To end the silo mentality, department managers must have the vision that a free flow of information will help the entire organization.
2. Work common goals
Many people see things from your perspective and are likely to make decisions that protect only their department rather than the company as a whole.
To combat this problem, each person in the organization must work towards common goals. When people in the company have the same goals, they are more likely to communicate better.
Managers have to declare these common goals frequently so that they become part of the workplace culture . The specific objectives of each department should reflect the general objectives of the company, because by working together it is possible to break down the barriers of cooperation, communication and collaboration.
3. Promote interdepartmental training
One way to break down silos is to educate, work and promote joint training between different departments. Since companies already factor training costs into their budgets, cross-divisional collaborative training is one way to match needed training with collaborative practices to break down organizational silos.
In addition to collaborative training, the silo mindset can also be eradicated through business-to-business interactions.
4. Improve internal communication
In a sense, the division of labor in a company can be seen as a silo. Therefore the objective should not be to destroy the silos themselves, but to eliminate the resistance to sharing information .
Managers may think that getting rid of silos entirely is the solution, but the structure that silos provide can be organizationally positive. The essential thing is to communicate often.
By fostering internal communication between different teams, such as those in sales, operations, finance, internal audit, sales, and marketing, organizations will be able to make better-informed decisions, better serve customers, and ultimately increase sales.
5. Implement collaboration tools
Sometimes, resistance to sharing information by other members of the organization is due to organizational inefficiency or simply because people do not make the effort to update shared information.
To encourage the exchange of information and increase team collaboration, it is advisable to use collaboration tools that help to understand the needs of each employee and each department, compare them with each other and identify areas of opportunity and improvement.
For example, you can use an employee survey platform that allows you to carry out an organizational communication survey , 360 evaluations , pulse surveys or job exit surveys , among many others, to know if the way in which the exchange is implemented and the Interaction in your company is adequate or there are silos that must be overcome.