HR Trends 2017: Networking dissolves silos and advances projects

In all articles by Corinna Drebes

The year 2017 will be the acid test for human resources managers. They face the challenge of successfully implementing major topics such as digitization and collaboration. The networking of experts is becoming a decisive and overriding task which also management is increasingly getting involved in. For companies, closer cooperation between departments is becoming more and more important in order to advance larger projects. In our view, the four most important developments for Human Resources in the new year are:

  1. Teamwork and collaboration

When colleagues from different departments bring their expertise together, projects are much more successful. Silo thinking, on the other hand, is one of the biggest obstacles, and more and more companies are recognising this. In 2017, companies of all sizes will be looking for new ways to strengthen the exchange between employees. Digital collaboration tools continue to play a role here – but personal interaction is becoming increasingly important. One of the central tasks for human resources managers in the coming year will be to look for new ways to foster exchange.

  1. From virtual exchanges to personal meetings

Meetings and events are well suited to facilitate the networking of employees. However, more is often needed for cross-departmental solutions. Many companies have relied on company-internal social networks – so-called social collaboration tools – for this purpose. These can help to form communities on specific topics. In many cases, however, sustainable networking and a break-up of silo thinking only occurs when companies go one step further and make new personal contacts possible.

  1. Vertical and horizontal conversation and dialog

Exclusive top-down communication has been on the verge of collapse for some time. Companies have realized that they need more exchanges at all levels and therefore need to communicate between different levels and in all directions. The aim is to learn from each other and to develop further – thus the employee learns from the boss and vice versa. The same applies to the interaction of specialists with different expertise. Know-how often only becomes really valuable when it is transferred and exchanged.

  1. Networking supports recruiting and employee retention

Better communication is usually associated with a progressive and positive corporate culture. Also this is more important than ever with regards to recruiting and employee retention. For an increasing number of skilled workers, this is now often the key consideration when it comes to the question of “leaving or staying”. Potential new employees also gather much more information in advance. In particular, highly qualified specialists and managers do not only decide according to hard criteria such as salary or working hours, but also according to soft factors when looking for an employer.


Projects today are often so complex that a one-dimensional approach is not sufficient. Experts from different fields need to work together. In addition to exchanging knowledge, this also promotes a positive corporate culture. Managing directors and board members have recognized this and are driving corresponding initiatives forward today. In order to better connect employees from different departments and levels, companies need new solutions.