Organizational Silos: A challenge to Effective Corporate Communication


happens, knowledge and information don’t flow between cross-functional teams, the right decisions don’t get made, and everyone doesn’t win.

The primary and most crucial goal of Managers of an organization should be to work towards breaking the hurdles caused by Silos. It will not only help to build solid and effective communication but also help the teams to collaborate well. Another great benefit of breaking down the silos is efficiency in the working process and excellent results in the favor of the organization.

What are silos?

The concept of silos is related to the keeping and securing of information in the workplace, just as many grain silos are stored and sealed away in the real world. Corporations can create silos due to poor communication in the workplace or over-complicated systems. 

Here are three kinds of silos:

Organizational silos

The organizational structure of most companies contains several departments and sub-departments. However, when the departments are overspecialized or hierarchical, they become organizational silos.

It is common for groups to work too independently and pursue their professional goals rather than company-wide ones. In the worst-case scenario, they might clash for resources or purposefully disrupt someone else’s workflow. 

As a startup grows, you might hear the sales team promise features the engineers still need to finish to get new clients. The engineers now have to meet demanding deadlines and reschedule their workflow. Still, if sales had communicated their goals beforehand, they wouldn’t have had to do that.

Information silos

The lack of proper recording, sharing, and integrating new information leads to silos. Instead of providing open access to data and ideas, departments hoard and hide them.

Slack can be used by multinational marketing teams with different offices to send messages, Google can be used to share documents, and internal employee portals can be used to manage projects. However, there is no way to keep everything organized between the channels and the teams within the system.

This case illustrates the challenge of combining data, as the sheer number of tools discourages sharing. Different content in different places causes discrepancies, resulting in less effective sales, lower employee engagement, and difficulties with data fusion. 

Another form of information silos is when teams don’t have the proper channels for sharing information. Due to a lack of resources, managers and the head of the organization often need help to share information and policies with the team members. 

Silo mentality

If you’re not a team player, employees, managers, and executives don’t want to share information that doesn’t work or doesn’t fit their goals. Silos happen at the individual level rather than between teams.

It is often observed that the co-workers with a silo mindset do not share ideas and information freely. Such people believe in keeping their knowledge restricted, no matter how useful it can be. 

For example, a large software company employee may receive a bonus if they meet efficiency or effectiveness goals during the year. However, instead of working together to resolve efficiency issues, employees may become secretive and work alone. 

How do silos generally form?

Individual mentality-

When people lose sight of their organization’s general mission, they focus on their individual goals. They must catch up on the bigger picture, losing focus on the company’s mission.

Misaligned priorities-

There might be more to it than just mentality. It’s a friction when prioritizing (as an organization and as individual departments).

Competing for resources-

Silos also develop in the workplace when departments fight for resources. They must catch up on the bigger picture, and the company becomes competitive.

Communication issues-

Usually, silos form when there aren’t clear communication channels, no unified knowledge hub, and people can’t speak up and suitably share ideas. We also need to gain our ability to engage in strategic conversations and understand each other’s viewpoints, interests, perspectives, and practices as we develop specialized knowledge and language.

Cross-cultural clashes-

Cultural barriers, stereotypes, and assumptions may be causing problems in multicultural teams.

Poor leadership-

The problem starts and ultimately ends at the top. One common lousy leadership practice is telling others what to do without modeling it.

Practical Steps To Take To Break Down Information Silos In The Workplace

It’s essential to break down information silos at work to foster collaboration, improve communication, and improve efficiency. The following seven steps will help you get there:

Assess Current Information Silos:

Identify your organization’s existing information silos. They could be departmental divisions, separate software systems, or communication bottlenecks. Figure out where information gets stuck or needs to flow.

Establish Clear Objectives:

Make sure you have clear objectives for breaking down information silos. What is your goal that you want to achieve? Whether improving cross-departmental collaboration, reducing duplicate tasks, or enhancing decision-making, clearly defined plans will guide your efforts.

Implement a Unified Communication Platform:

Utilize a unified communication and collaboration platform that allows employees to share information, updates, and documents. Tools like Slack, Microsoft Teams, or project management software like Asana or Trello can simplify communication.

Standardize Data and Information:

Data storage, naming conventions, and document formats must be standardized to ensure that information is stored, stored, and shared consistently throughout the organization, making it easier to locate and share information.

Promote Cross-Departmental Teams:

Facilitate cross-functional teamwork to solve problems, share insights, and break down silos. Make cross-functional teams and projects work together so info can flow.

Establish knowledge-sharing practices:

Build an environment of knowledge sharing. Have regular knowledge-sharing sessions, create internal knowledge bases, and reward employees who break down information silos.

Provide Training and Support:

Provide ongoing support and monitor progress to make sure the changes are successful. Break down information silos and teach employees how to use new tools and practices.

What is the result if you don't put a full stop on silos?

Any obstacles make things worse, especially when it comes to miscommunications. It has a negative impact on the success and growth of the firm; listed below are some significant consequences of silos- 

A stillness in the business growth

The workers of the organization who work in departmental silos might resist changes. Changes in any organization are a must. The problem that arises due to employee resistance to change creates a barrier to company growth.

Low reviews from customers

Not appropriately trained employees may circulate contradictory information to the clients and customers. It gets negative customer reviews on the company profile, followed by trust issues and unhealthy relationships between the customers and the clients.

Costly decision-making

It is a common trend of changing decisions in any organization, whether senior authorities or managers. Due to a lack of information, the decision-making process is ultimately slowed down, affecting the growth and success of the organization.

Poor decision-making makes up for upward of 2% to 3% of annual profits, making a sizable difference for big and small businesses. 

It is a common trend of changing decisions in any organization, whether senior authorities or managers. Due to a lack of information, the decision-making process is ultimately slowed down, affecting the growth and success of the organization.

Poor company culture

Communication is the base of a strong company culture. Companies with good communication have reportedly shown positive growth and progress since the employees are valued and feel safe and happy in their work environment.

Creative Ways To Share Information Across An Organization 

To break down silos in an organization, you have to change your culture and encourage a collaborative environment. Here are some tips:

  • Create a consistent culture across your physical and digital workspaces

If your company hires people, they should always feel like they get an incredible experience, no matter where they’re located. It’s crucial that employees feel connected to their colleagues and part of the same community now that more are working remotely. The digital workplace must provide the same information clarity and accessibility as the office.

  • Reduce email

A worker receives an average of 100 emails a day. Using emails as a communication tool is still important, but they must be updated and more efficient. With changing work expectations, people expect more flexible communication methods, so businesses must develop new internal communication strategies.

  • Utilise interactive content

In the corporate world, it’s common for internal communications to be passive with little engagement. So, what creative ways can turn a boring company survey or a broadcast of a corporate announcement into something more engaging? Some of the ideas

Employees are encouraged to interact with communication through this method, such as clicking through and responding rather than just reading. In addition to providing choices, interactive content explores scenarios and asks questions. Sixty-six percent of marketers say interactive content gets more engagement. Imagine how this could benefit your company and employees!

  • Recognize employees — publicly.

Recognizing employees for their hard work and effort is a great way to improve employee engagement and experience. In turn, you have higher morale, a better company culture, better job satisfaction, more attention, and more motivation.

  • Embrace gamification

You can gamify your workplace by rewarding employees or giving them points.

Using game design elements like rewards, personalization, and leaderboards in non-game situations is called gamification.

Businesses can use gamification to boost employee engagement, recognize progress, and keep track of their progress.

  • Show your personality

A notification shows up with an emoji. Another one only shows up with text. Which one would you like to open first? Using some personality to communicate shouldn’t be considered innovative, but it can be. You have important info to share, but it can be informal where appropriate.

  • The right tools for creative communication

You can think of creative internal communication as an investment in your business’s growth. Communicating creatively can boost employee engagement and improve employee experiences.

Installing Employee communication methods for hybrid and remote working is very fruitful in conveying the correct information and message to the employees.


What exactly are organizational silos, and why do they form in businesses?

Organizational silos refer to separating and isolating information and teams within a company. They form due to poor communication, competing priorities, and focusing on individual goals rather than the company’s objectives.

How do information silos impact a company's efficiency and productivity?

Information silos can reduce collaboration, duplicated efforts, and ineffective decision-making. It directly impacts the organization’s growth, resulting in higher costs and negatively affecting its culture.

What steps can organizations take to break down information silos in the workplace?

There are seven practical steps mentioned in the content, including assessing current information silos, implementing a unified communication platform, standardizing data and information, promoting cross-departmental teams, and providing training and support. Each step plays a role in improving communication and collaboration.

Why is it important to recognize and reward employees for breaking down silos?

There are many benefits associated with employee recognition, including enhancing morale and fostering more positive workplace cultures. Employee recognition can benefit remote employees and contribute significantly to job satisfaction and engagement.

What creative methods can organizations use to improve internal communication and break down silos?

There are many creative ways to communicate, such as creating a consistent culture across physical and virtual workspaces, reducing reliance on email, incorporating interactive content, using gamification, and showing off your personality. It’s aimed at making communication more engaging and effective in hybrid and remote workplaces.

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