What it Takes to Knock Down Company Silos

Knocking Down Company Silos: An Interview with Gal Halfon, Director of Customer Success at Emerj

It’s no secret: silos only impede the growth and success of a business. And they don’t just appear; they’re created when employees can’t find ways to productively work together.

According to Harvard Business Review, the vast majority of innovation and business-development opportunities lie in horizontal relationships. Yet oftentimes company leaders, HR professionals, and employees aren’t aware of what’s missing until the damage is done. Silos are especially prevalent in fast-growing companies like those found in the tech sector, where processes can occasionally take a backseat to rapid productivity. 

Gal Halfon, our Director of Customer Success, has had a front row seat to this challenge with Fortune 500 companies and startups alike. Below, she describes how Emerj enables the level of collaboration and interaction that can rid your company of silos for good.

Others’ knowledge isn’t readily accessible.

“Knowledge lives in professionals’ heads, where it’s not necessarily available to others. Accessing others’ expertise is something we always understood would have an impact, and it’s our goal to enable organizations to tap into it.” 

Accessing specific internal subject matter experts (SMEs) doesn’t happen by chance.

Although Emerj offers smart recommendations based on search terms, like topic, location, and department, among others.

“People already have an idea of who they’re going to speak with…and they often come across folks they didn’t even consider. That’s what Emerj aims for; we not only help you reach your desired level of wisdom; we help you to unlock knowledge elsewhere in the organization.” 

The job you were hired to do often doesn’t encompass your broader skill sets, past experiences and diverse range of expertise.

“Having been a manager, I feel that when you interview someone, it’s for a specific job. Yet this person has had different roles throughout their career, with a variety of experiences they may not have had the time or occasion to disclose. There’s a lot of diverse knowledge to be had—maybe they could help with a project you’re working on now.”

Accessing Useful Knowledge When You Need It

“When launching, we have a plan. We help users connect the platform with current events in their organization. You have a conference next month? Performance reviews? Quarterly meeting? Let’s put those dates on the table and send out messaging tied to those. Let’s let users know this is relevant for them, helping them to prepare and with leading mentors on certain issues.”

Campaigns also can be tied to specific topics and current events or trends. (‘Want to know more about Tik Tok?’ or ‘This is in demand; update your profile with this skill set.’) Companies can even add external experts as advisors or keep retiring teammates on as mentors.

“We connect the life of the organization to Emerj, and then Emerj to the life of the organization. This symbiotic relationship increases participation and closes knowledge gaps.”

“For Fortune 500s, we do see a relationship between publicly-reported events like personnel changes, stock fluctuations, and media attention and activity on the platform. Following a recent announcement, many searches and connections on Emerj involved a certain location, with topics tied to influence and changes. Probably one of our most valuable and underrated attributes is that leaders can take the temperature of their company culture based on topics that are trending within their organizations.” 

Mentoring Goes Global

Far-flung connections also can be more comfortable for employees, for multiple reasons: you might not want your boss or peers knowing you’re discussing certain issues, for example.

“Engaging with someone from a different location enables a level of anonymity and discretion. Nine out of ten connections on Emerj are actually across location and departments.”

Mentoring itself is less formal, more flexible and less time-consuming with Emerj, where mentors and mentees connect faster and less frequently, and access on-demand learning.

In the process of offering Emerj to companies, three things have caught us by surprise:

  1. “We always thought that those in non-managerial roles would want to ‘level up,’ reaching managers, directors, and leaders in the C-suite—yet we’ve also seen that connections aren’t always initiated in that direction, but also from the top down.”
  2. “Many times, leaders send questions to different types of colleagues—peers, other management teams, and employees.”
  3. “Most people would prefer a 10-minute chat with a colleague on a topic than researching their problem in an article online. It’s more specific, synchronous, and less time-consuming.”

It turns out that people want to create a ‘Brain Trust’ for themselves, casting a wider net to get insights from a real person, in real-time.

Leadership teams (yours likely included!) desire this broader perspective—and they’re not getting it in a vacuum at the top echelons of the company. In the process of connecting with others across levels and departments, they’re uncovering critical aspects of company culture, productivity, and operations efficiencies (and inefficiencies).

You’d always go with the 100% match to your query…right?

“Not necessarily. If your search includes marketing in a certain location, a 100% match might be to a professional working in that department and country. A 75% match, however, might be someone local to you with knowledge of the topic, the geographic area and relocation. This connection could ultimately be more beneficial because of the overlap and similarities in your circumstances and expertise.”

As new customers sign on, a pattern has…yes, emerged.

“In the first stage of onboarding, many users like to show what they know, so connecting to share knowledge and display expertise is common. But the next stage is when things get really interesting: people trust the platform more and become comfortable asking all kinds of questions.”

This has a very real business application for companies. 

“Cross-silo connections can also help members of more senior generations understand the needs of younger generations. For example, we’ve seen that some people prefer privacy when posing questions (they may be part of Gen X or are Baby Boomers), unlike their younger counterparts (Millennials or Gen Z) who might be fine with more public forums. Our onboarding then shifts to become more user-focused instead of mentor-focused. 

One of the coolest things we’ve learned? Mentors are reporting that they’re learning a lot from mentees—evidence that giving back has definite rewards.

At Emerj, our motto is “Let your people grow.” If you want to help your company and employees break free from organizational silos, let’s connect. Providing equitable resources and opportunities for your team won’t just enable growth to continue at a steady pace—it will create lasting value.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *