One for all or one for one? Combating silo mentality in the workplace

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It is far too easy for silos to develop in the workplace. When this happens, it can lead to a lack of communication and common goals between teams, the hoarding of knowledge and a breakdown of trust. It can all have a major impact on overall team morale. Unfortunately, a workplace silo mentality isn’t restricted to certain sectors. It is a well-known and documented phenomenon across almost every sector there is.

The perfect storm

When you add the challenges of the recent pandemic to the historic challenges of a business you can create the perfect storm for silos to establish. This is true even in companies where this previously wasn’t a problem.  Companies and employees are tackling the combined challenges of trying to keep businesses going with teams working in the office, working on the factory floor, working from home, or even up until very recently, on furlough.

The opportunity to work from home has been embraced by many people. However, not every role can lend itself to being sited away of the official place of work.  Some roles, for say in manufacturing, require employees to be present in the factory. Other roles, such as receptionists and front of house roles, need to be based in-situ. Otherwise, how can they welcome visitors and all the other jobs that require face-to-face interactions?

In businesses where there is a clear split between employees that can work from home and those that can’t, it’s important that this differentiation is acknowledged and addressed. If it’s ignored, it has the potential to lead to further divides, and workplace cohesion and employee engagement will suffer.

Creating a unified team – remotely

Even with the current challenges facing businesses, it is still possible to get the different areas of the business working together. Key to this is good communication. It’s amazing the difference that open and honest communications can make with your team. Explain the rationale behind why certain people have the flexibility to work from home and others haven’t. If the business reason and approach is clear, people are often more accepting of the situation.

You also need to think about what you are trying to achieve as a business. How different areas and individuals can contribute and collaborate to make this happen. Even your remote teams can collaborate, as platforms like Zoom and Teams have made this much easier. You might also want to consider opportunities for team training or even softer activities to get people working and talking together.

Your senior management team will play a vital role in making this all happen. So, you might want to consider what support they need to enable them to work in this different environment and break down any of the barriers that have developed over the last 18 months.  Contact us today to see how we can help with coaching and navigating change.