How Do We Avoid Creating Silos with Digital Tools?

At WNDYR, we use a variety of different digital tools to communicate, other than email, but are we still creating silos?

At WNDYR, we use a number of different digital tools to communicate:

Internal instant messaging, a collaborative online workspace, social media platforms like Linkedin and various apps to integrate all of these.

Email isn’t something we use internally though, and here’s why: as opposed to digital tools like social media that create natural filters, and personalise communication, we don’t like the way email creates endless threads of information that only selected people have access to.

This “me-centric” approach creates silos, which we work very hard to avoid by keeping most of our communication in a shared online workspace, which also increases the value of our business.

“Without email I am better able to focus on my tasks and prioritise off a meaningful list.” – Tracey Foulkes, Chief Operations Officer (COO)

So in relation to email, our approach is more “we-centric”, so we only use it externally when we need to, because it’s still a valuable tool for certain kinds of communication. But while we don’t use email internally, for the very reason that we don’t want to create silos, a question that has recently come up is:

Are we still creating the same kind of silos with the other digital tools we use?

And the honest answer is, yes. As much as we try to avoid it, we do. This is especially true for people in our company whose roles revolve around managing ALL of our company communication (and there’s a lot of it).

“Instead of an inbox full of email I have a multitude of threads to read through.” – Trudy Janse van Rensburg, Head of Admin

So silos still happen, by accident, by necessity and because, quite frankly, everyone does what they need to do to get their work done. We don’t have all the answers, but as we continue to work in an increasingly digital world, we know the fragmentation of tools is an issue.

Not just from a practical point of view, but also from a neuroscientific perspective. Our brains aren’t wired to multitask. “Multiple tab syndrome”, is distracting, and ultimately, unproductive.

So how do we make sure that all important company information is shared the right place when the pressure is on? How do we communicate with everyone that we need to (internally and externally) and keep to our core values of transparency and openness?

To get a better idea, we asked our team what they thought:

On managing multiple threads:

“Having visibility over streams is inclusive in that you can explore what’s going on with other people/teams and projects. Conversely, you can limit your exposure to only the channels most relevant to you.” – Jon Maliepaard, Chief “Meddling” Officer

On practical tools to prevent silos:

“The deployment team is using a daily sprint check-in [in shared instant messaging feed] which really helps with the silo issue.”– Richard Benade, Deployment Consultant

What do you do to better manage your internal communication avoid communication silos in your company?

Let us know in the comments below:

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