How to Stop Organisational Silos Forming Within Your Company
A recent Tweet by @JeppeHansgaard got me thinking about “organisational silos”.
Organisational silos are tight, sealed groups of workers that form within a business. These groups work really well as independent units, but find it difficult to work with other teams.
Organisational silos can form within businesses of any size, but will often go undetected. This is because in the short-term, they give off false positives. Team members who “click” with each other can produce awesome results! But this can mask the fact that they are not “clicking” with other teams, which can cause long-term problems for bigger business goals.
Breaking organisational silos can be very difficult, so it pays to learn how to prevent them from forming.
How an Organisational Silo Forms
Organisational silos can form practically anywhere within your business, and they can take many forms. For example, a silo could be a handful of people within a single team. It could also be an entire department. Or, if you have multiple locations, it could even be an entire building.
Organisational silos begin when employees develop more loyalty to their group than to their employer. This gradually builds, and members of the silo begin to distrust people on the “outside”. Teamwork relies on trust. Once the trust is gone, it gets very hard for people within the silo to work with people outside it.
This process can happen over a very long period of time. You might not spot a silo forming until it’s too late. It might look like people within a dormant silo are performing really well (because they are), until you need them to collaborate with another team on an important project. That’s when it starts to go downhill.
Because silos can go unnoticed for months, or sometimes years, it is important you do what you can to stop them forming.
How to Stop Organisational Silos Forming
Breaking organisational silos is possible, but difficult. These ideas will help you break existing silos, and prevent new ones from forming:
–Promote Common Organisational Goals. Different teams within your business will all have their own unique goals. For example, your sales team wants as many new sales as possible. Your customer service team wants great feedback from customers. If you only focus on these team-based goals, you are putting your company at risk of silo formation. You need to develop and promote a set of common organisational goals that all departments can work towards, regardless of their specific role.
–Create a Common Enemy. We already touched on this when we wrote about building team spirit. The idea is to encourage your teams to try to beat a common enemy – like a competitor – instead of trying to compete against themselves. This is particularly important in businesses where teams within departments may feel the need to beat each other’s scores or results.
–Make Departments Flexible. At People®, we try to encourage people in all departments to learn about things not quite relevant to their role. We also encourage them to ask for help from people who may not be on obvious speed dial for the issue they’re facing. For example, instead of practicing their sales pitches with each other, our sales people might grab hold of somebody in accounts. Or even one of our contractors! Encouraging employees to actively work with other people and departments is a really effective way to prevent silos from forming.
–More “Whole Workforce” Events. As a final tip, you should be getting your entire workforce together more often for social activities and fun. This can be tough if your workforce spans the globe, but it shouldn’t stop you trying.
Have you ever experienced issues with organisational silos? What did you do to break them?
Stay ahead with HR
Get free HR insights, expert tips and exclusive interviews, and start making more impact at work
HR Software Optimised for Beaches or Sofas
What would you do with the unrestricted freedom to work from anywhere? Would you stay in the office, work from your sofa or kick back and work from the comfort of sandy paradise? This 1min video is all about HR software optimised for beaches and sofas. Enjoy!
Will Your HR Software Survive the Mobile Revolution
Why HR Super Heroes Need ‘Responsive Design’
Embark on your most ambitious HR journey to date
This short video takes you through the different ways people helps you work smarter, challenge your abilities and get yourself noticed – all using one simple, stunning cloud-based platform.
What is the Bradford Factor?
Ever wondered how the Bradford Factor formula calculates your employees' absence scores? Check out this graphic to have the Bradford Factor calculation explained to you clearly.
So… Who Exactly ARE You?!
If you like the sound of People, but you’re not familiar with the name… then it’s only natural that you’ll have questions.
6 Reasons People’s HR System Delivers Something Different
So many HR systems claim to be different. But when you actually look at what they offer, it’s easy to see that they’re all selling the same old thing...
See People HR in action
View our short video demo
Get started absolutely free
No credit card required