If you want employees to collaborate, you’ve got to start with management. In Tribe’s recent national study on functional silos in large companies, employees cited their managers as one of the chief hurdles to collaboration. There are three ways this plays out:
1. Managers actively discourage collaboration: Some employees reported that their managers nix efforts to share information across silos or to ask for input from subject matter experts in other disciplines. Most speculate that this is due to their managers’ fear of losing control. One employee said, “My boss’s boss discourages collaboration in some areas and would rather have the upper hand with some groups.”
2. Managers don’t model collaborative behavior: When employees don’t see their managers collaborating across silos or even within their own teams, they’re less likely to do the same. One respondent suggested, “They have to team up, let us see their teaming, and let us see that their career is not as important to them as the success of the whole corporation, versus their silo.”
3. Managers don’t make collaboration a priority. Collaboration often slows things down, and most managers prefer projects to move quickly. It takes employees more time to reach out to colleagues across silos. According to one employee, some managers “discourage (or at least don’t encourage) personnel to expend the time required for collaboration.”
“I don’t know how to change the culture,” said one employee, “but I know it starts with the leaders.” As with most business behaviors, employees take their cue from the top. Embedding collaboration into the culture requires commitment from the C-level, and promoting cross-silo interaction all the way through the ranks.
Interested in promoting collaboration in your organization? Tribe can help. For a copy of Tribe’s white paper on employee recommendations for connecting across functional silos, contact Steve Baskin (email@example.com or 404-256-5858, extension 2).