As employee relationships grow and evolve in the workplace, organisational silos can be hardly avoided. This growing issue has always been a challenge for HR department, and it needs the right approach to break down this relationship barrier. When silos are developed within your organisation, walls are enacted in communication interrupting seamless flow of information and thus overall work productivity. HR managers should take concrete steps to address this growing concern and prepare the workforce with proper organisational mindset.
Organisational silos can be easily found both in small scale and large-scale organisations. Sometimes, organisational silos are also compared to high school cliques. Silos are created, when a tight and close group of say, 10 or 100 employees, fail to cooperate and work cohesively in a team across departments. Inter-departmental conflicts also give rise to organisational silos.
Great team work relies on trust. Sometimes silos prove to work for company advantage and facilitate talent retention, since employees develop a sense of loyalty towards their group, rather than the company. The members of the silos continue to stay since they get along well, however find difficulty when they have to collaborate with people outside their group.
While they might be passionate about working independently in a team, those employees who tend to create organisational silos by forming groups, might be less interested in wider company goals. No wonder, organisational silos can be dangerous internal threat that might disrupt workings and close collaboration within departments to help execute and achieve bigger company goals.
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Before the silos created make organisations bleed away profits in the long run, here are 5 steps to break down the walls:
Different departments within your company might have different goals. For example, your marketing department would aim to achieve as many sales as possible, while your IT department would be keen on receiving positive feedback from the clients. While the difference between these goals is understandable, you should not focus on team-specific or department-specific objectives.
To prevent development of organisational silos, you should promote organisational values, wherein everyone should focus on working towards achieving the larger company vision and business growth objectives.
It is true that competitive spirit will encourage your employees to work harder and drive productivity. Yet, too much competitiveness can be dangerous for the whole organisation. Therefore, you should create a common ‘enemy’, which is your business competitor. Encourage employees to work together to compete with the current competitors, and not each other. Through this approach, you can help develop a healthy competitive spirit among employees.
Owing to lack of understanding of each other’s roles and values that other department brings, one team might think that their job is more important than others. If your employees nurture this kind of mindset, they tend to distrust people from different teams or departments.
As a HR leader, you should encourage people from different divisions within the organisation to work on the same projects together. This strategy will help build effective teamwork and promote better trust among your workforce, irrespective of their job roles.
Be it Christmas, New Year, or occasional holidays, you can organise social events that will encourage the workforce to participate and rejoice together. Encouraging such cultures to invite active employee participation across departments, you can thus provide them an opportunity to interact with people outside their own teams or department, and understand workings of others to respect their contribution towards achieving the overall company vision.
The first and most important step to stop development of organisational silos is to understand and analyse, how they are formed. Since the silos can be naturally-formed without deliberate efforts and intentions from employees, it might be tough for HR managers to detect its forming and shaping up. Nevertheless, you can always initiate preliminary approaches to stop the existing silos being created, while stopping the formation of new ones through careful observation and knowledge.
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