If you have a sneaking suspicion that marketing is harboring a grudge against sales or if you’ve simply noticed a lack of collaboration between departments in your organization, you just may have a siloed work environment on your hands.
What are silos?
Working silos occur when competition or resistance to collaboration crops up between different areas of the same organization. While they sometimes stem from personal “us vs. them” mentalities between departments, silos are more often the natural result of day-to day-work; over time, a department develops its own rhythms and workflows and becomes an island, rarely needing to interact with other departments.
No matter how they start, silos present a huge problem to an organization’s leadership. They kill productivity and result in chaotic, non-collaborative work structures, with each individual department using multiple tools, apps, and processes that are disparate from that of their colleagues.
To end the madness and restore order, unity, and productivity across departments, here are three ways leaders can work to ditch workplace silos.
Equip everyone equally
Competition and resentment are sure to form if workers feel that management is playing favorites. If one department always gets the professional development, the company retreats, and the latest tech upgrades while others are forced to make do without basic tools, you’re creating the perfect conditions for silos and interdepartmental competition.
While different departments will need different tools, everyone in your organization should have the basics. For nearly all knowledge workers, 72% of whom use PDFs, this includes PDF productivity software. Unfortunately, due to the high cost and complex licensing of Adobe, as many as 9 in 10 workers are left without this essential tool.
Standardize work processes throughout your organization
When each department has a different way of dealing with documents and signatures, collaboration is that much harder. If you’ve already invested in digital document and signature solutions for your organization and are still having trouble standardizing workflows across departments, you’re likely dealing with low user adoption. This typically occurs when workers find the tool to be less-than-user-friendly or when they’re hesitant to let go of their version of business as usual. Investing in employee training for these digital tools — something that 42% of knowledge workers report wanting more of — can help get more employees out of their silos and on board with new, standardized workflows.
If you’re still progressing towards digitized document work, detailed rollout and training strategies for new tools can help you avoid adoption issues and promote standardized workflows from the start.
Facilitate collaboration and communication
Paper jams more than printers. It jams your business’s productivity and efficiency, especially when you’re attempting to work across departments. Cloud-based document software like Google Docs and Nitro Cloud allows users to quickly share and edit documents through secure links, eliminating the need for email attachments and ensuring that everyone is working with the most recent version of a document.
The document-tracking features of cloud-based software gives employees real-time information on who has seen, shared, commented on, and signed a document, helping your workers avoid the miscommunications that so often accompany interdepartmental work.
It’s time to crush those silos. The reality of a unified, collaborative workplace does exist, you just need the right partner. Click here to see how a wide variety of enterprise organizations are driving efficiency at scale. Prefer to see it first-hand, click here to watch Nitro in action.