Overcoming the Silo Effect: Keeping the Lines of Communication Open

Posted on Fri, Apr 3, 2015 @ 10:28 PM by Carlos Lahrssen

Business communicationMany businesses with multiple departments suffer from the Silo Effect, which refers to the tendency for employees not to share information or ideas between departments. The causes of the Silo Effect can be various. Sometimes a kind of rivalry springs up between departments that causes employees not to communicate in ways that can help the other department. More often, though, employees just fail to see the value in sharing information and communicating with the other departments that make up their company.

When departments don't communicate, the consequences can be detrimental to the business as a whole. Tasks can be duplicated needlessly, and ideas that could make the business more profitable or productive can be lost. As the saying goes, the left hand doesn't know what the right hand is doing. That is never a positive thing.

Consequences of Silo Mentality

When the Silo Mentality controls all or part of a business, certain patterns emerge. Managers make decisions based on what's best for their department rather than the business as a whole. Employees don't take ownership of the business's overall goals, focusing instead on their own personal goals or those of their department. When everyone blames each other, it's harder to bring about change.

The Benefits of Tearing Down Silos

Communicating across departments has many benefits for the business. New ideas about how to improve business functions may lead to an increase in profits, a decrease in labor or production costs, or both. Employees will come to see the business's big picture more clearly, as well as how they fit into that picture. Seeing the big picture improves motivation and job satisfaction.

Next step: Contact Nexogy to find out how a business phone system can help your business's communications

Breaking the Silo Effect

Communication from the top down is the key to eliminating the Silo Effect. Owners can communicate the importance of a unified vision and common goals to all of the management teams. Once the management teams understand this concept, they can pass it down to all the other employees working under them. Rather than giving incentives for individual or team achievement, Forbes magazine suggests that incentives be given for how well employees work within the vision toward the goals set for the company overall.

Any goals the company has must be measured in order to determine success. Once specific tasks have been identified, business phone system software can track and measure the success of these tasks. Easy-to-use reports allow management to see at a glance how teams are performing and give feedback in real time.

Collaborating between departments is possible with today's business phone systems, even when it is impossible for teams to meet in person. When staff may be spread out over large geographical locations, video conferencing makes it possible for everyone to access the same information from the same source. It would be virtually possible to address an entire department or the entire company at the same time without video conferencing, and communications can be easily recorded for later review as needed.

Next step: Contact Nexogy for information on business phone systems that can break down the silos holding your company back from reaching its potential.

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Carlos Lahrssen is president of Nexogy.

photo source: Flickr

Topics: business phone systems

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About the Author

Carlos Lahrssen
Carlos Lahrssen
Carlos Lahrssen is president and CEO of nexogy, as well as founder, president and CEO of LD Telecommunications, Inc., nexogy’s parent company. Lahrssen is an industry fan, follower and advocate — stay...read more