While I have come across Slack in recent years when working for businesses, it has usually been the tool of choice for IT Development teams and not a platform I’d actually used.
That changed with my recent interim leadership assignment for Comic Relief where Slack is the tool used by everyone for instant messaging and project and team collaboration. (They also have Facebook Workplace my favourite enterprise social platform which is used as the internal comms hub.)
Having used Slack for 6 months I grew to really like it. It’s simple and intuitive to use. Here’s what’s great:
- Conversions and collaboration happen in channels which you can quickly set up for your project / team. They can be open to anyone to join / see content or closed where you have to request to join and be approved – useful for confidential projects
- Channels are particular good for speedy cross-team / cross-site collaboration on a project or initiative
- You can easily share files, video etc.
- The instant messaging is quicker and easier than email – I found I was using email a lot less than usual
- You can initiate a voice or video call from any channel or conversation
- And you can set up a shared channel to collaborate effectively with people in another organisations – brilliant for e.g. merger / integration projects
- It’s great on both desktop and mobile
- You can set your status so colleagues can see if you’re online, working from home, on holiday etc. It’s great for searching for and connecting with people quickly and easily.
Is it a viable option for an internal comms hub/social platform? Theoretically yes but in my view other platforms like Workplace / Yammer are more fit for purpose – unless you’re a small business with e.g. less than 100 people when it might be adequate for your needs. Slack themselves promote it as a place to get work done – and that’s really what it’s best at.
As we deliver internal communications reviews for clients across different sectors, we get to hear from hundreds of employees of businesses across the country about what is important to them when it comes to effective communications.
The top three feedback themes have been consistent for the last few years:
“We want to connect with the leadership team on a regular basis”
This remains right at the top of peoples’ lists. They want to hear about how the business is doing, future plans etc. and what means for them, but more they also want to give feedback, share their day to day experiences with customers, and put forward ideas – in other words they want their voice to be heard and they want the leadership team to do more listening! A good IC strategy needs a consistent programme of informal and formal face to face activities plus the ability to connect easily online.
“We want to discuss the issues that are important to us”
Organisations have got much better in recent years at talking to their people about their agenda i.e. business strategy, priorities, performance – but still aren’t focusing enough on what employees want to know about and are interested in – the employee agenda. I hear this consistently – they want to hear more about the stuff they care about – plans for the future, outlook for jobs, learning & development, reward and recognition.
“There’s lots of information available to me – but it’s difficult to make sense of it all”
With the growth in use of social intranets, ESNs like Yammer and Workplace and digital workspaces, the amount of information available to corporate employees to ‘pull’ is huge. But in my reviews they often tell us that it’s all too much – and as they have busy working days they want help in making sense of it all so they don’t miss the important stuff! I’m often recommending and implementing a regular push digital channel which pushes key business news into peoples’ inboxes in an easily digestible format, driving traffic to key online info as well as having standalone content.
When did you last ask your people what they think of your internal communications and whether they’re meeting their needs?
The Internal Comms Team can deliver a review for you in as little as 10 days, for as little as 10k plus travel expenses and VAT. Get in touch if you’d like to know more…
By Jos Harrison
Over the last 14 years I’ve provided interim leadership of internal comms for businesses as diverse as MotoNovo Finance, ITV, Principality Building Society, and Wonga, and for me the key focus areas have remained pretty much the same – albeit with new technology playing an increasing role.
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