Smart Work

Working in Silos: Why It Hurts Large Organizations

Posted 24 July 2017 | BY Sansan

Large organisations today continue to be plagued by silos, where entire teams fail to interact and share information, ideas, processes, tools and goals with other employees.

For sales and marketing teams, this can be disastrous. Here’s why – and how – you can avoid working in silos.

The downside of silo mentality

Silos breed satellite teams that work in isolation on the periphery of the business strategy. They also make it difficult for employees to share in the company’s vision or communicate and collaborate effectively with others.

For instance, in 2015, PRWeek Asia reported that a whopping 75 per cent of marketers aren’t convinced that their team allows them to effectively execute multichannel campaigns.

Some of the effects of silos are:

Duplicated work

Unaware of what other departments are doing, siloed teams assume the same responsibilities and end up wasting valuable resources on the same task. For instance, market research and user experience research overlap in many areas, so both groups might end up setting out the same research questions and therefore getting the same results.

Poor project management

Teams that don’t work together don’t have visibility of the processes in other departments, so campaigns and projects that require input from other disciplines often have overly optimistic timeframes and unrealistic expectations. For example, marketing managers who fail to brief customer support may end up introducing a product to the public before the customer servicing team is equipped to answer questions about it.

Breaking through the barriers

To overcome the silo effect, marketers must ensure that they work well not just with sales and production teams, but also within their own department. These steps can help them smash the silos and work together for improved success:

Have a unified vision

Sales and marketing teams should align their strategy around the customer to deliver a similar, excellent experience. Once they agree on delivering a consistent message, their KPIs and budgets will also naturally reflect the unity across teams so that they don’t end up competing with or working against each other.

Incentivise collaboration

Invite members of other teams to give constructive feedback and suggest ideas for working together. Encourage employees in your own team to train with other departments and exchange skills and ideas, and support and reward those who do so. Why shouldn’t a digital marketing specialist speak to customers on the phone, for instance?

Collaboration need not always be formal either. Give employees the time and opportunity to chat with people in other teams, such as during a pizza night – it may be the quickest way to break down the barriers between them.

Taking these steps to actively break down silos will help improve collaboration, stimulate creativity and discussion, and foster a culture in your organisation that supports innovation, honesty and learning. When all your team members are rowing together, you’ll easily reach the destination you’ve got your eye on.