Top 3 ways to break down the silos between employees, departments

Technology should be increasing collaboration between workers and departments, but in many cases, it’s actually creating more barriers.  
During a recent presentation, Christine Hollinden offered these strategies for breaking down silos and bolstering collaboration:

1. Environment

Employers need to go beyond just offering the tools that spur collaboration – they have to make sure those tool are being used.
Example: Many businesses have some unused space (e.g., empty conference rooms). These can be designated as collaboration spaces. Upper management should take the lead and show staffers exactly how this space should be used.

2. Soft skills

According to Hollinden, soft skills training is better at breaking down barriers than monetary incentives.
Some examples of soft skill training include empathy in the workplace, purposeful conversations and conflict resolution. Key: Soft skills training must be as important as technical training and part of the review process for it to be effective. When it’s not required, employees won’t do it.

3. Task versus relationship

Managers tend to take a task-oriented leadership role that focuses on objective steps, deadlines, etc.
But collaboration thrives when managers and leaders start with a task-oriented approach (setting goals, roles, etc.) and switch the focus to relationships (coaching, demonstrating, brainstorming, etc.).
Based on “Breaking Down the Silos: Creating a Culture of Collaboration,” by Christine Hollinden, as presented at the 2015 Association for Financial Professionals Conference in Denver.