<img height="1" width="1" style="display:none" src="https://www.facebook.com/tr?id=290086984736480&amp;ev=PageView&amp;noscript=1">
Search
word-map-thumb

The Alternative Board Blog

End Workforce Silos and Build a Sense of Community

Jan. 17, 2020 | Posted by The Alternative Board

CEOs and business leaders understand that compartmentalizing departments and tasks is not desirable, yet—paradoxically—silos still crop up in organizations and inflict damage on the bottom line.

To counter this, it’s helpful to grasp specifically what the term “silo” means. As CMSWire explains, organizational silos “describe the isolation that occurs when employees or entire departments within an organization do not want to, or do not have the adequate means to share information or knowledge with each other.”

Silos can be even broader than that, notes Business Journals, since they “can occur from one department or workgroup to the next, one location to the next … one work shift to another, or even one generation of workers to the next.”

Damaging effects of silos include:

  • Isolated work teams
  • Duplication of tasks
  • Breakdown in customer service
  • Collapse in employee morale

What actions can be taken to prevent damage caused by silos?

Promote cross-functional efforts.

Leaders and managers should strive to create opportunities for different departments or teams to work more closely together. For example, try assembling a cross-functional team “to tackle a nagging business challenge while providing the tools and resources needed to achieve a favorable outcome.” Things may not always run smoothly, but employees will benefit from expanded knowledge and skills throughout the company.

Share a vision of the “big picture.”

All too often, employees and teams focus almost entirely on their own roles and work processes. They lack a sense of how these efforts fit into the big picture.

It’s up to business leaders to keep up the refrain that “we’re all in this together.” In ongoing communications—a personal message from the CEO, regularly scheduled all-staff meetings, etc.—outline how the work of varying teams contributes to primary organizational objectives. Emphasize how teamwork, as opposed to solitary workflows, helps move the company forward. Employees with a deeper understanding of the end-result of their work will have a stronger sense of the entire organization moving together to achieve strategic goals.

Want additional insight? Download Easy Ways to Improve Your Company Culture

DOWNLOAD

Practice greater transparency.

Silos crop up when isolated employees or teams know they’re working with an incomplete body of knowledge about the company. In the absence of concrete information concerning the organizational triumphs and challenges, rumors and gossip flourish—contributing to further isolation and diminished motivation. A culture of “non-transparency” only encourages individual departments to act in the same way, withholding key data from others who might benefit from that knowledge.

As part of your ongoing communications efforts, be transparent about what obstacles lie in the way of continued growth. Invite employees to contribute insights and possible solutions. This, too, reinforces the sense that working together is far preferable to operating in a silo.

Encourage informal gatherings.

In addition to cross-functional activity, look for ways to enable employees to bond. This can include team-building exercises and/or casual, offsite gatherings where “work talk” is discouraged, and having fun takes top priority.

This is not a waste of organizational resources. On the contrary, when employees in otherwise isolated departments get to know their co-workers, the result is a stronger sense of identification throughout the organization. When they become friendly with fellow employees, they understand that the actions they take often have a ripple effect elsewhere. Cooperation and collaboration can flourish when employees have this type of mindset.

What is your company doing to break down silos and build a collaborative culture? Check out our free TAB BOSS Webinar, “Culture—If You Build It, They Will Stay,” to learn more about leveraging the strengths and opportunities that exist in your organizational culture.

 

Read our 19 Reasons You Need a Business Owner Advisory Board

DOWNLOAD

Written by The Alternative Board

Related posts

How to Become an Agile Business for the Long-Term
Aug. 4, 2020 | Posted by Phil Spensieri
While every business owner has their own story about how they got started in business, if there’s one thing we all share in common, it’s that we hope our business succeeds. When many of us began our...
11 Rookie Mistakes Business Leaders Wish They Never Made
Jul. 30, 2020 | Posted by The Alternative Board
As Winston Churchill said, “All men make mistakes, but only wise men learn from their mistakes.” Being a leader comes with a lot of responsibilities and pressures. Not only are you accountable for...
A Quick Guide to Recruiting Remote Employees
Jun. 30, 2020 | Posted by The Alternative Board
The trend towards recruiting and hiring remote workers was already in place prior to the outbreak of the COVID-19 virus. It now appears that most businesses will likely seek some form of remote...
How to Improve Diversity in the Workplace
Jun. 9, 2020 | Posted by The Alternative Board
The U.S. is going through some challenging times right now, but a growing awareness of the value of diversity in business may prove to be of long-lasting value for us all. Though the future is...
Time for a Closer Look – Assess Your Business Practices For The New Normal
Jun. 3, 2020 | Posted by Phil Spensieri
For most, if not all, business owners COVID-19 has proven to be their biggest challenge yet. During the last couple of months, I’ve witnessed, firsthand, the resilience of many business owners...
Tips on Renegotiating Contracts and Leases
May. 26, 2020 | Posted by The Alternative Board
As businesses start opening up again and some sort of normalcy hopefully emerges soon, business owners and CEOs might take this time to look at their existing contracts with vendors and landlords....
Help Customers Stay Connected and Loyal to Your Business
May. 20, 2020 | Posted by The Alternative Board
Small businesses have always been challenged to attract and retain a loyal customer base. This challenge has been intensified a thousand times over because of the Coronavirus outbreak. Whatever their...
What Does Workplace Health and Safety Look Like Now?
May. 14, 2020 | Posted by The Alternative Board
As businesses across the U.S. slowly begin to reopen, there’s renewed focus on what constitutes a safe and healthy workplace. From the start of the COVID-19 epidemic, business owners and CEOs have...
EBITDAC: What is Your Business Worth Now?
May. 7, 2020 | Posted by John Dini
Several friends have sent me a picture of an EBITDAC coffee mug this week. As it states, EBITDAC stands for Earnings Before Interest, Taxes, Depreciation, Amortization and Coronavirus. Will this be...
Ready To Reopen Your Business? Here Are 3 Questions to Consider
May. 5, 2020 | Posted by Phil Spensieri
As business owners, we’ve been waiting to receive the much anticipated “green light” to go back to work. As this day inches closer, you’ll need to devise a plan that addresses how your business will...