A report amongst over 500 cross sector HR managers, proves silo working is one of the biggest hindrances to an organisation’s impact – both in terms of innovation and its wider social purpose.
As a result, the report calls for a shift in focus, from traditional leadership training, which only 22 percent of HR managers believe have a tangible impact on an organisation’s success, to programmes that develop changemakers. A new report from Koreo revealed two thirds (66 percent) of the HR Managers surveyed said that silo working exists in their organisation and that it has had a negative impact on their company, including hindering their ability to collaborate across teams (25 percent) and build a strong internal culture (18 percent) – some of the key drivers for staff retention. Building partnerships across sectors, one of the key means of wider problem solving, was also cited by 19 percent of HR leaders. A lack of joined up thinking is seen as having the most negative impact on an organisation delivering its purpose (29 percent).
Yet when looking into the causes of the issue, the research found training programmes were not only failing to address the issue but perpetuating it further. It found that programmes are heavily focused on training talent solely to facilitate their current role (53 percent). As such, a minority of those surveyed said their organisation provides training around partnership working (28 percent), cross sector thinking (23 percent) or systems thinking (25 percent), all of which are key skills for fostering innovation and creating social impact.
This suggests traditional training programmes are not set up to develop the people and working environments needed to create impact for the organisation and beyond. Just 29 percent of HR Managers felt that their employees acted on the skills learnt in their training programmes and only 31 percent believe that their talent development programmes produce changemakers.
With private, public and social organisations increasingly looking to engage in a broader, global narrative around societal issues, the research suggests this is the area that will suffer most if silo working is not addressed – with cross-sector collaboration seen as one of key drivers for social change. Organisations admit their talent is their greatest asset for creating wider social change (42 percent) but also their biggest potential impediment. Currently, 45 percent of HR professionals do not think their existing talent development programme encourages staff members to think about how their work contributes to society.
Rachel Whale, Founder of Koreo, the UK’s leading people development provider for organisations with social purpose, commented: “That we’re still experiencing such widespread and intractable silo working, despite our long awareness of the problem and the damage it does to our organisations, says it all about our approach to combatting it. We need to start understanding organisations as networks of people, and develop our talent in a way that promotes connection and collaboration at all levels of our workforces. By doing that, we increase our potential to create change within an organisation, and also increase our ability to have on the impact on the wider world. We’ve seen from our years of work with organisations in the social sector that organisations which are connected internally and externally are the most able to affect sustained social change on the issues they care about.”