As businesses grow bigger, silos become stronger.
Even the most innovative organizations – big, small, or somewhere in between – struggle to connect teams around common missions, visions, and goals. When information isn’t being shared, it’s your bottom line that takes the hit.
In an ideal world, every team member would be on the same page, in the loop about important projects, and focused on initiatives that move the needle. The information would flow freely, employees would have the resources that they need on-demand, and there would be zero organizational redundancies.
However, the harsh truth is it’s going to be impossible for businesses to eradicate team silos. There are initiatives, however, that leaders can implement to position their team in the right direction. Accelerate change through impactful, methodical steps. Here are 5 ideas to get you started on breaking down your own business silos.
1. Enable smart file sharing
One of the biggest challenges that teams face is the absence of a unified file sharing platform and collaboration tool. Rather than storing information in a central place, employees are sharing files through email — often generating confusion about up-to-date versions. A cloud-based, enterprise content management (ECM) or collaboration (ECC) platform can help you streamline communication and eliminate confusion. A company-wide system and robust administration features will help with breaking business silos, ensuring that people have open access to the right information. And don’t be scared off by the “Enterprise” in its name – ECM is for everyone and there are solutions built especially for small to mid-sized businesses!
2. Design a mobile device management strategy
With the mobile revolution, team members are accessing information at all hours of the day, no matter where they are in the world. Even still, companies of all sizes are lagging in implementing official BYOD policies — leaving team members confused about how to best stay connected. Eliminate potential confusion by setting expectations upfront and having a robust BYOD policy in place that all employees sign off on.
3. Create a ‘global’ view of your workforce
At any given time, the business owner, manager, and/or leaders should maintain an operational view of your workforce. Take time to evaluate ongoing initiatives in-depth and spot potential redundancies and areas of overlap.
Whether you’re a bigger operation or just a handful of people, find opportunities to break down information silos and build bridges between team members — help them share resources, assets, and information. Awareness is your first step to efficiency.
4. Encourage open dialogue
One of the biggest barriers to transparency is a fear of making mistakes. From a process optimization perspective, it’s crucial to build a culture that allows your team members to openly communicate changes in direction, experiment results, and learnings openly, all with a positive mindset.
Practice team discussions, coach your teams, and actively solicit feedback. Open dialogue is a practice that takes time to master — and will be crucial to your organization in the long run.
5. Invest in education
Webinars, knowledge centers, and resource hubs are valuable information management tools for breaking down business silos. Employees are eager to learn about the big picture. As fast as you’re running, it’s important to take a step back and ensure that every employee has quick and efficient access to the information they need. Empower teams to self-direct their own communication and learning, both through technology and processes.
After 85 years of imagining change, at Ricoh, we’ve learned a thing or two about changing with the times – especially when it comes to workplace technology. But experience has also taught us that technology needs to put people first.
Our people are here to help yours do their jobs better, faster, and more securely. We connect our customers with the right technology and back it with the expertise to support your success. If you need help, call on us.