Silos impact how your employees perceive the business, management and will impact the need to scale. When you have the continuous, free flow of information, you gain innovation, excitement, and empathy with your employees.
When you operate a remote organization, it’s imperative to make sure your team is staying engaged and developing a positive work culture that builds collaboration, promotes productivity, and facilitates open communication. Without physically sitting next to your colleagues, gathering together in a conference room for a quick brainstorming session or just grabbing a quick coffee together, you must make extra effort to ensure silos are not building up around the organization. Silos can be the kiss of death for any business. They create frustration, anxiety, trust issues and more importantly, they cause employees to feel less connected and invested in the operation, losing interest, productivity drops, and they start looking for new employment.
For most companies, silos aren’t built intentionally with the purpose to freeze communication or limit operational efficiencies. They are meant to be short lived, to help a department or team meet a goal, then be removed. But once the immediate need has ended, and if the silos aren’t dismantled timely, productivity and efficiencies begin to deteriorate over time. Silos impact how your employees perceive the business, management and will impact the need to scale. When you have the continuous, free flow of information, you gain innovation, excitement, and empathy with your employees.
What can you do to prevent unwanted silos, and build a strong healthy work culture filled with collaboration and satisfied employees? Technology has come a long way over the last few years, and how companies have embraced it since the pandemic is even greater.
Use Communication Technology
One of the most widely used forms of communication technology today is video conferencing. It’s like we’ve finally caught up with our favorite sci fi shows, like Star Trek or the Jetsons. Companies like Zoom, Google, GoTo, WebEx, Skype, Blue Jeans Network and RingCentral have become an integral part of daily business operations. Giving people the opportunity to talk to and see their counterparts, has really elevated how remote workers engage with each other. Having the ability to see facial expressions leads to a better understand body language or tone, which often gets lost in translation with email. Video technology has proven to be an effective resource to break down barriers companies faced prior having access to so many affordable options.
To maintain culture, companies have learned to be creative with how they leveraged video technology to stay connected with each other. Town halls, employee coffee chats, and happy hours have become a great way to develop collaboration, receive company updates, and feel a part of an office community, regardless of where you live. In addition, it’s become a new alternative to doing an office walk about. As a CEO of a mid-size business, it’s important to me develop a connection with my employees, have regular check-ins to see how they are mentally doing, answer questions, bounce ideas; video conferencing has made a big difference in my employee outreach.
Schedule Weekly Department Meetings
Indeed notes silos are divisions between people or groups within a business. When a silo mentality exists, it’s because departments solely focus on their goals and tasks, and rarely interact with individuals in other departments. When this happens, information, skills and resources become confined in individual departments and information isn’t free flowing amongst other departments or the company. Facilitate a more collaborative movement by holding weekly cross functional meetings that promotes communication across the organization. Bringing all department heads together and sharing project updates or team information can help prevent barriers that could potentially be built unknowingly. In addition, when resources are tight and help is needed, it’s great forum to ask for assistance or reset expectations.
Create Cross-departmental Training
One of the benefits of working in a brick-and-mortar office is the impromptu meetings that happen throughout the day. These engagements often lead to sharing new ideas, technology or giving quick project updates. One way my company recreates these experiences is hosting virtual lunch-and-learns. Lunch-and-learns provide informal group gatherings where departments can recreate many impromptu discussions that happen when you are in the office. Create a monthly cadence where different department hosts a lunch-and-learn where they can demonstrate new technology, crowdsource ideas, cross train or use for project updates or training.
Finally, implementing online collaboration tools empowers teams to work together and creates transparency, which can prevent silos from occurring. There is an endless list of tools you can leverage. Solutions like Microsoft Teams, Slack, Monday.com, Aha!, Skype for Business or Teamwork, for example, give employees the tools they need to engage, create and manage project plans, facilitate group discussions, and overall create transparency which helps the business execute projects better and optimize resources to improve productivity.
Silos generate unnecessary disturbances within organizations. Once you have a culture filled with silos, it can be difficult to eradicate like a bad infestation. Be proactive and create a culture that is silo free, as it will increase productivity, collaboration and employee retention.