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End Organizational Silos with One-on-One Meetings Between Coworkers

End Organizational Silos with One-on-One Meetings Between Coworkers

You know that organizational silos can inhibit innovation and lead to inefficient work, but how can you break them down and increase collaboration between departments? One-on-ones are a way to build cross-departmental relationships and encourage collaboration.

This article covers how to have a productive one-on-one, plus six additional ways to bring people together from across your company. With some planning and process, but at no cost to your org, you can start putting practices into action that foster a more connected and engaged team.

What are Organizational Silos?

Organizational silos happen when employees within a department can’t or don’t want to share information with members of other departments. This is also known as a silo mentality. Having a silo mentality isn’t necessarily an intentional decision; rather, it occurs because:

The Negative Impact of Organizational Silos

No surprises here: a silo mentality negatively impacts your company, including:

Luckily, no one actually wants to work with a silo mentality. It’s isolating. It’s unfortunately the default mindset people tend to fall back on when the right tools and practices aren’t in place.

How to End Organizational Silos, Starting with One-on-One Meetings

It’s up to managers to lead the charge against organizational silos, and one way to do that is to encourage one-on-one meetings between coworkers from different departments.

To get the process started, managers from different departments could suggest pairings between coworkers, such as a marketing coordinator and a sales rep who can use their connection to create a more efficient lead generation process. Employees should then be encouraged to take the initiative and plan and coordinate these interdepartmental one-on-one meetings on their own so that this process becomes a routine part of the work environment and is ingrained into the company culture.

Create a meeting agenda and share with people if they need ideas for how to get started, especially if they’re having a conversation with someone they’ve never met before.

 

download-one-on-one-agenda

 

Here are a few things to consider including in a suggested agenda for a successful one-on-one meeting:

Here’s a sample one-on-one agenda for anyone who needs it.

6 More Strategies for Breaking Down Organizational Silos

In combination with creating a culture where cross-functional one-on-one meetings are expected and enjoyed—something that takes time—here are six other strategies for encouraging collaboration and building trust and connection between your employees and teams.

1. Host a Virtual Staff Retreat

While the COVID-19 pandemic has hit the pause button on in-person retreats, many companies are adjusting by hosting virtual retreats. The team at Agorapulse, a social media management tool, found that careful structuring of an online event is the key to fostering relationships between team members, even at a distance. Schedule sessions that are similar to the one-on-one meeting agenda, with icebreakers that pair employees with their counterparts in other departments.

2. Switch Up Your Seating Chart

Having employees sit near members of their own department is important for collaboration on that team, but the downside is it naturally increases a silo mentality. Try switching up your seating chart so that coworkers are sitting near their peers from other departments.

If you use org chart software like Pingboard, you can include an employee’s desk location in their profile so people from other departments know where to find them.

3. Encourage Cross-Departmental Recognition in Your Peer-to-Peer Recognition Program

A peer-to-peer recognition program can increase employee satisfaction and workplace engagement. As part of your company’s program, encourage staff to praise peers in other departments, not just their own.

Applause—a Pingboard feature—allows coworkers to share praise about each other publicly. If you prefer an analog solution, have a corkboard in a shared space where staff can share positive notes about their peers.

4. Have an Employee Directory

Sometimes increasing cross-departmental collaboration is as easy as making sure employees have the contact info of everyone on staff. An employee directory allows coworkers to reach out to each other without having to go through a gatekeeper like a manager or a department head.

5. Include Cross-Departmental Introductions During New Hire Onboarding

Get new employees started on the right foot by introducing them to peers across every department. Schedule sessions in your onboarding checklist for new hires to mingle with other departments and learn how they can work together.

6. Use Cross-Functional Teams for Projects

Perhaps the quickest way to break down silos is to have cross-functional teams work together daily on various projects, rather than passing off work to each other. A cross-functional team includes members from a variety of departments working toward a shared outcome, such as a product launch.

End Silos for Good

Breaking down silos and increasing collaboration between departments isn’t as tough as it seems. It just takes some rethinking the usual way of doing things and implementing new processes and, in some cases, cultural norms.

One-on-one meetings between coworkers can build the relationships necessary to end silos. Additionally, simple fixes like how you onboard new hires or being more deliberate when assigning desks can go a long way toward building bridges between different parts of your company.

 

download-one-on-one-agenda

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