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Breaking Down Organizational Silos

Harbor America - Aug 27, 2019 8:54:00 AM

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Organizational silos are somewhat the nature of being in business, working in a specific department, or out of a regional office. While it’s hardly the intention of any employer to construct silos, eventually they will creep up, separating groups of people by department, project, geography, function or role, or skill set.

A block against collaboration, communication, and sharing, silos can inadvertently cause duplication of effort and potentially cost. For example, one group may be working on a project and be unaware that another department is nearly done with a very similar project which will yield the same outcome. Managers will find this to be a waste of time and resources, and ultimately, cost.

There are a number of ways to implement a more collaborative environment and break down the existing organizational silos. Here are our top recommendations:

Adopt a Team Collaboration Software

Team collaboration software is an application that contains all of the possible elements needed for a team to work collectively on a project. This software helps employees of any organization come together to more effectively track, report, communicate, and manage projects.

Software like Microsoft Teams, Slack, or Asana are just a few of the available platforms. Each has  their own pros and cons, however, the most valuable aspect of each platform is the collaboration where departments can get more done with a joint-mindset.

Share Company Goals. Create Joint Team/Department Goals.

Every company has its own annual goals, which are typically in addition to its mission and vision. Team and department missions should include an effort to localize the larger company goals, finding elements of the goal attainability that apply directly to the team. Continue the “one-team” mentality by either creating key initiatives that feed the company goals. Led by a unified team of managers, each department’s employees will encourage one another to step out of the silos.

Employ Cross-Training or Interdepartmental Liaisons

One of the reasons silos are not a preferred operational method is the innate separation in communication and collaboration. In addition to streamlining processes to eliminate any gaps or segmented roles, nominate one person from each team to act as an interdepartmental liaison. This person will work to encourage cross-team communication and collaboration during a project or specific time-frame.

If this additional role doesn’t make sense for your company, the idea of cross-training may be more your speed. Cross-training allows members from each team to learn aspects of a different role. This helps the teams eliminate a single point of failure. This is where only one person knows how to do one specific task or use a specific application. If they are sick or leave the company, that process fails. Cross-training also ensures employees know what their available resources are, where to get information, and how to enlist the assistance of other departments.

While each of your departments and teams may be operating at full capacity that doesn’t mean they are communicating or collaborating effectively with other teams or departments. Don’t let working silos derail your business’s forward momentum Contact Harbor America to see how we can help by providing a professional team of HR experts ready to assist with employee onboarding, handbook development, or regulatory compliance. Our help can give you necessary time back to focus on eliminating existing inter-departmental silos.

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