When a silo mentality seizes the corporate workplace, the downward spiral begins. “Guard the knowledge” leads to “us vs. them,” and declining morale stifles creativity. In-house social learning reverses the trajectory by encouraging interaction and cross-pollination. The question is how to ease into it to take the organization from compartmentalization to collaboration. A series of simple, incremental changes can lead to a sea change in your organization.
Introduce Data Integration
Data silos go hand in hand with worker silos, resulting in duplication of effort. Let more data flow from a central server to all departments to help unravel the silofication. The people will begin to cross-pollinate the data. It’s a natural opportunity for social learning and social interaction to take place. As duplication drops, efficiency and effectiveness increase as one department improves on another’s original implementation. So many wins for so little effort!
Incorporate Interdepartmental Blended Learning
With the many benefits of eLearning, it may seem odd that we’re talking about “live trainings.” Variety is the spice of life, and an experiential, interdepartmental training that includes role-playing or other game-playing opportunities can encourage teamwork. Video the role-playing sessions and post behind your firewall. Include the best ones in future eLearning modules. Follow up on eLearning with an online area for learners to congregate and receive peer assistance.
Ditch the In-House Organ
Are you still killing trees with a company newsletter? Set up an in-house blog with several new posts each day. Schedule educational pieces as well as company news, profiles, announcements, etc., and assign topics to various departments. Encourage comments to increase understanding and break down silos.
The original genius behind Southwest Airlines’ corporate culture and success was each front-line employee holding several positions. Encouraging social interaction and data accessibility is the quickest way to break down your silos—and technology speeds the process. When the silos fall, understanding increases and innovation multiplies.