Last week I attended a conference entitled “Connectivity: The Competitive Edge”. It was organised by Hodes and had some great content and some really interesting attendees (me for one!) I’m sure with further reflection a few more posts will appear from this event but the first revolves around a session which was focussed at presenting back some research on Silos in organisations.
The survey was of 210 HR professionals – 25% HRDs, 25% HRBPs, and 50% HR Managers in UK businesses of which 75% had over 250 employees. The research was commissioned by Hodes for the conference and carried out by Personnel Today online (credit where it’s due and all that!) and Rebecca Holland from Hodes and Noel O’Reilly from Personnel Today did an admirable job of presenting back the results.
Some summary outtakes from the research
When asked how prevalent silos were in their organisation, the responses were:
45% said either extremely widespread or fairly widespread whilst 47% said exist in places. Only 8% answered either fairly rare or extremely rare.
Highest instances were functional silos, geographical silos, hierarchical silos, cultural silos and when compared for their presence versus how challenging they are then functional and geographical were the highest
The lists of impacts (in order with %s shown in brackets)
- Effort duplicated across the business (80)
- Cross functional opportunities not exploited (80)
- Lack of knowledge sharing (71)
- Lack of employee engagement on companywide initiatives (63)
- Poor internal comms (53)
- Increased bureaucracy (48)
- Systems functioning poorly (42)
- Low employee engagement with corporate brand (35)
- Restriction to career progression (27)
- Low productivity (22)
Changes to improve: (in high/low order for will be attempted/are being attempted)
- Internal comms strategies
- Structured reform and change
- Information sharing
- Measures of collaboration and engagement
- Engaging employees across the org in prod/process development
- Implementing shared systems
- Cross departmental sales/working incentive programmes
- Cross company mentoring
So in summary (non-scientific):
- We’ve all got ‘em
- They make the business be less than it could be
Obviously there was a lot more information contained in the presentation and would imagine a begging e-mail to either Hodes or Personnel Today may just get you a copy but for my part I was surprised at some of the things that didn’t appear.
Let me give that some context, having worked in several organisations of different cultures and sizes the things I would have expected to appear in terms of changes to improve would be:
- Singular focus on customer/service/output of the organisation
- Shared and complimentary performance targets (KPIs don’t conflict)
- Whether top down or bottom up: all objectives ‘speak’ to the singular focus
- Leadership is anti-silo
- Cross functional projects/groups are common/encouraged/defacto
One of the businesses I worked in had very few silos and in reflecting on why I think the honest answer is silo mentality was unacceptable. If you were ‘caught’ demonstrating silo mentality it was frowned upon and in escalation the support would always be for the cross functional solution – when it came down to it the CEO believed the organisation was better by working together and would metaphorically ‘bang the heads together’ of those that didn’t.
Any other reactions to this data? Any other stories to share – either positive or horror?
Any errors or ommisions in the data are mine in transcription from the conference pack and not in the original work