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January 23rd, 2023 · 6 min read

Silo mentality: How to combat organizational silos through learning

blog header graphic for silo mentality article

What is silo mentality?

Causes of silo mentality

Examples of silo mentality

The negative effects of organizational silo mentality

  • Slowed or stagnant productivity: Collaboration is the key to efficiency and innovation. But when teams are unable to share knowledge with one another, productivity and performance can diminish. 
  • Lowered morale: A culture of competition can make addressing day-to-day tasks exhausting, especially if silos are causing teams to deliberately withhold information from one another.

    But low morale doesn't only happen when knowledge is withheld deliberately — sometimes individuals might not even know they are participating in silos. Morale can also be impacted negatively when other factors, such as lack of resources or proper technology, are reinforcing silos and making effective collaboration challenging for teams.
  • Diminished cognitive diversity: Simply put, your organization can lose out on “culture-add” individuals who seek out a workplace that promotes collaboration and innovation.
  • Poor customer experience: When unchecked, the effects of silo mentality can trickle throughout all areas of a business and work against the interests of the customer. Missteps caused by silo mentality can bleed into client-facing interactions, and they can also have negative consequences that impact the customer experience at the product or solution level.

How to overcome silo mentality through workplace learning

Create a shared learning vision

Emphasize mentorship and cross-team knowledge sharing

Take a top-down approach

Initiate knowledge-sharing forums that make cross-functional learning easily accessible 

The impact of L&D on silo mentality

You can address talent development challenges