A common issue found throughout various companies is the presence of organizational silos. Organizational silos occur when groups of people, typically within a department or subdepartment, are isolated from collaborating or sharing information with other departments or groups. Although organizational silos may form because a group doesn’t want to communicate with another team, some organizations simply fail to facilitate proper communication across departments.
To avoid silos from forming at your company, it’s important to encourage leadership teams to promote interdepartmental relationships and to help department leaders implement strategies to avoid forming these silos. If organizational silos go unresolved within your company, the overall quality of work and employee morale can greatly suffer.
How Can Organizational Silos Affect Your Company?
Let’s say a company’s marketing team and engineering team are at odds with one another—the engineers may not see any value in the marketing team, so they choose to not provide them with a full list of features for their new product. With an incomplete list of product features, the marketing team may be unable to develop a successful marketing strategy.
Longstanding organizational silos within a company can lead to animosity between departments, decreased productivity and even loss of revenue if not resolved. In fact, a recent poll showed that 86% of employees and executives attributed workplace failures to a combination of bad communication and lack of collaboration. To combat the formation of organizational silos at your workplace, it’s crucial to identify what situations may cause them to form.
What Causes Organizational Silos?
Although experts have found that issues among leadership can largely contribute to the formation of organizational silos, all employees can be guilty of forming their own subdepartment silos or actively isolating themselves from other departments. There are a variety of reasons why organizational silos may form within a company, including:
- A lack of communication between departments
- Departments competing for funds or other resources
- A team failing to understand or acknowledge the value of another department
- Company goals that are unclear or lost among department goals
- Important information poorly communicated throughout departments
Although some causes of conflict between departments may not be avoidable, steps can be taken to help prevent and overcome organizational silos.
Tips to Overcome Organizational Silos
In order to keep organizational silos out of the company, it’s important that all employees are working toward a healthy relationship between departments. Although it is primarily the responsibility of the leadership teams to break down any departmental barriers, all employees should be aware of the initiative and understand what they can do to help accomplish the goal.
To overcome organizational silos at your company, assist your leadership and executive teams in executing the following action items:
- Conduct regular company meetings. Company meetings can help reestablish company goals, and help department leaders realign themselves and their teams with company initiatives.
- Promote regular interdepartmental communication. It’s important for employees to collaborate and get to know employees from other departments. This can help open lines of communication and promote innovative ideas.
- Schedule a lunch or meeting with other departments. Getting various departments together to meet can help employees see the value in other departments and how their conjoined efforts help accomplish a common goal.
- Invite other teams to development kickoff meetings. If a department is kicking off something new, invite other teams that may be affected or could benefit from sitting in on the meeting. This can promote inclusivity and help employees gain a better understanding of another department.
- Rebuild trust. In some instances, organizational silos may exist from continuous disagreements or issues between departments. Try utilizing conflict resolution tactics to help resolve conflict between departments and help reestablish trust.