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What is a knowledge silo?

Discover what a knowledge silo is, dangers of letting them develop and how they relate to L&D.

What is a knowledge silo?
  • Put simply, a knowledge silo is where someone in your organization (or a team) has information or skills that aren’t shared across the organization.
  • This reduces connectivity between teams as each team effectively works in isolation from each other and doesn’t collaborate.
  • There are many risks associated with allowing knowledge silos to develop, including duplication of work, teams operating towards different goals and slower times to complete projects and tasks.
  • L&D plays a key role in eliminating knowledge silos by encouraging collaborations and getting employees to share skills, leading to an overall upskilling of the workforce.
  • Knowledge silos are not necessarily a bad thing. Some projects require only one team's input, but when it comes to top level strategy and work that could benefit from multiple perspectives or inputs, having knowledge silos in your organization can affect productivity and quality of work.
  • Knowledge silos can become worse as work becomes more and more virtual, as communication between teams becomes even more fragmented and infrequent.
  • Knowledge silos are often very time consuming and can cost businesses money in the form of wasted time. A case study of a call center in Aberdeen estimated that knowledge silos were costing the 200 person company a huge $1.5 million due to the amount of time that employees spent looking for information rather than providing quality customer service for their callers.
  • Knowledge silos affect a huge number of businesses, with only 1 in 4 executives reporting that their teams are effectively sharing information across their organization, meaning a whopping 75% of businesses have some form of knowledge silos.
  • THRIVE Learning and Skills Platform is excellent at eliminating silos within organizations and encouraging social learning between teams. Check out our case studies to see how we have eliminated knowledge silos in businesses around the world.

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