I gave a talk about the benefits of Slack at a Sullivan & Stanley internal event in July. Here’s a blogified version - enjoy!
- How I introduced Slack as a useful tool at a previous company
- Why it became an important part of our workflow
- How it helped us do more
In 2014, I was working at a consultancy that helped companies and organisations solve difficult software problems. As a distributed team, we tried using messaging and office collaboration tools like Yammer, Skype and Google+ but none of these seemed right.
Whilst working at a financial publishing client, our team - a mix of consultants and employees - had difficulty finding a viable collaboration tool. As consultants, we couldn’t access the client’s internal messaging apps and tools like Skype were explicitly blocked by the company.
Enter Slack, just at the right time. This new app - around for less than a year - was already getting positive news. We installed it and found that it solved some of our problems straight away. I created a workspace for the consultancy and, within a few months, we had 130 users signed up.
Why Slack worked
So, why did Slack succeed where other tools failed? The stand out reasons for me are:
- ease of installation
- lack of connectivity hassle
- doesn’t feel corporate or boring; it was fun to use
- it allowed us all to stay in touch without any admin overheads; conversations and groups grew organically
People set up specific groups to:
- share status updates across the company/teams
- keep in touch with colleagues working at other client sites
- start team and client discussions
- talk about social and non-work topics
Then we saw increased use to:
- promote fund raising and corporate responsibility actions
- create and share help, how-to, FAQs content
- set up communities of practice to help people in similar roles working for different clients help each other
- receive alerts from CI pipelines and build monitors
- play games and get feedback using polls
- improve our hiring and interview
- co-ordinate our sales effort
- easily integrate and receive updates from other apps and services
Some of the traits people exhibit whilst using Slack can be funny too:
- A cry for help from someone who can’t keep up with a conversation. Keep an eye out for these people as they happily throw messages into the same channel later in flagrant disregard of their earlier decree
@Dave I think your conversation with @Mike should be in #topic-that-is-of-no-interest-to-me-whatsover
- This person likes to tell other people that they should talk SOMEWHERE ELSE.
@Sarah 🤬⚠️😱🧛♂️ - yeah?
- The person who uses emojis more than words
- Finally, my favourite, the person who only ever messages ‘lol’ in response to someone else
So, here are the 8 ways Slack can help your company achieve more:
- improve support - at a recent company, we reduced the lead time on support requests by giving our clients shared channel access in Slack. Direct and easy communication with customers is a winner
- build better client relationships by bringing their people clients on board - again with shared channel access - to promote a single-team ethos where you can share progress, and good and bad news
- keep colleagues past and present in touch to improve cohesion
- help your teams continuously improve by setting up communities of practice to help people working in similar roles feel less isolated and to ask for help when they need it most
- you can help your teams maintain morale - when the COVID lock down began earlier this year, people set up channels to help others discuss and deal with the sudden change to everyone’s lives
- find out when your production systems are at risk by integrating your monitoring tools into Slack. I’ve seen how alerts fed into Slack helped avoid production outages so they can be an absolute life saver.
- promote good news: new baby pictures, new joiners, etc.
- help recruitment effort by posting new roles internally