Slack incorporates everything necessary for a productive online workplace. Manage projects through the use of specific channels for collaboration and make video calls with teammates. The program lets users tag teammates to notify them straight away or notify the whole channel at once. Users can share files, view other users’ profiles, build lists, and send any necessary information to as many people as they choose. The paid version of Slack allows users to expand upon the features in the free version and streamlines the workflow of the whole team The service is available on most devices and is downloadable for Windows, Mac, and Linux.
The Ultimate Project Manager Arrives with Slack
Name: Slack (Visit Slack)
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Slack incorporates everything necessary for a productive online workplace. Manage projects through the use of specific channels for collaboration and make video calls with teammates.
A little kindness can be a powerful negotiation toolhttps://medium.com/media/ab07788a2b16e659025b589df006249c/href
An extended audio version of this story can be heard on Episode 28 of Work in Progress, Slack’s podcast about the meaning and identity we find in work.
Getting paid can be a hassle, especially for freelancers. Following up on unpaid invoices only makes the situation more stressful. That’s where Julie Elster, self-described “AR business lady and Thermonuclear Niceness expert,” comes in.
Through her company, Just Tell Julie, Elster acts as an accounts receivable assistant who helps freelancers get paid. Her tactic to approaching this challenging conversation is fairly straightforward: she picks up the phone and calls. And she calls. And she calls some more.
For Elster, determined and persistent politeness is key. “If I am calling somebody, I’m calling every day,” she says. “I’m going to kill them with kindness until they decide to take care of it.”
Elster notes that by the time a bill is overdue, it can be difficult to approach the situation with anything but anger. But as her clients’ intermediary, she has the objectivity to generously assume that those who aren’t paying their freelancers on time, if at all, have the best intentions.
Even though it may seem counterintuitive — especially in the context of calling to collect outstanding debts — empathy is crucial to Elster’s success.
When Elster calls, her request is simple: Would the company in question like to take care of that unpaid invoice straight away? “Most legitimate businesses will want to take care of it right then and there,” she says. Often, she can procure payment for her client within minutes.
But it also helps that she understands what it’s like to be on both sides of an unpaid bill. She recalls a time when she was chronically behind on daycare payments and how it was a “humiliating experience”. Then, someone who worked at the facility offered to waive the late fees if she agreed to set up a payment plan to get back on track.
“We worked it out together,” she recalls. “That was years and years ago, and I still remember that. It helps me relate to the people I’m calling.”
Inspired by her own experience, Elster’s empathic approach now includes suggesting compromises that help move both parties toward a mutually satisfying settlement. As she explains to all her clients, her “goal is to get them paid and keep the relationship positive.”
Still, despite making all those calls for a living, Elster isn’t immune to feeling nervous about what she does. “Honestly, I get phone anxiety, too,” she admits. “I think everybody does, just because we don’t use our phones so much anymore.” What keeps her grounded — and makes her effective on her clients’ behalf — is knowing she’s in control.
But no matter who she’s calling, she adheres to her generous principles. “I’m not judging you. I’m not angry with you. I’m not here to pick on you,” she stresses. “I want to work this out.”
Work in Progress story produced by Tara Blackwell.
Got another minute? Check out:
- How to choose the most thoughtful medium for your message
- Creating a strong ‘office’ culture for remote workers
Calling for compassion was originally published in Several People Are Typing — The Official Slack Blog on Medium, where people are continuing the conversation by highlighting and responding to this story.
An update on our data, April 2018
In February, we celebrated Slack’s fourth birthday. Today we are more than 1,000 employees strong and fortunate to serve millions of customers around the world. While we’ve more than quadrupled in size since our very first report, our commitment to inclusion and diversity through rapid growth has never wavered. Success is impossible without our people, and both inclusion and diversity have been core to our values since day one.
As we grow and mature as a company, we strive to bring more rigor and discipline to our reporting. 2017 marked the first year we standardized on the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission’s (EEOC) reporting format. We’ve followed the same format again this year, which provides a meaningful comparison that helps us see progress as well as opportunities for continuous improvement¹.
Additionally, this year we publicly released our Employer Information Report, or EEO1, which we intend to integrate into our diversity reporting going forward for greater transparency. For additional information, you can download our EEO1 report here.
Where we stand today²
Globally, 44.7% of our workforce is comprised of women, up from 43.5% (+1.2 pts) from our last report in April 2017.
- 34.3% of people in technical roles are women, up from 29.8% (+4.5 pts) last year.
- 48.0% of our managers (employees with direct reports) are women, down from 48.1% (-0.1 pts) last year.
- 30.6% of our leadership (director level and above) are women, up from 28.3% (+2.3 pts) last year.
In the U.S., 12.6% of our workforce is comprised of people from one or more underrepresented racial and/or ethnic backgrounds³, up from 11.5% (+1.1 pts) last year.
- 14.0% of our U.S. managers are from underrepresented racial and/or ethnic backgrounds, up from 10.7% (+3.3 pts) last year.
- 6% of our U.S. leadership team are from underrepresented racial and/or ethnic backgrounds, up from 5.9% (+0.1 pts) last year.
- 12.8% of our U.S. technical organization is comprised of people from underrepresented racial and/or ethnic backgrounds, up from 11.4% (+1.4 pts) last year.
In the U.S., we also look at LGBTQ, disability⁴, and veteran status among employees.
- 8.3% of our U.S. workforce identify as LGBTQ, up from 7.8% (+0.5 pts) last year.
- 8.7% of our U.S. managers identify as LGBTQ, up from 7.6% (+1.1 pts) last year.
- 1.4% of our U.S. workforce identify as having a disability, down from 1.7% (-0.3 pts) last year.
- .85% of our U.S. workforce identify as veterans; this is the first time we are reporting on this, so we do not have a comparison to last year. Our Veterans’ ERG is actively involved in raising the visibility of opportunities within the veteran community, and we intend to include this number (and see it grow!) in the years ahead.
Women at Slack
We continue our commitment to pay and promotion equity among people of all genders⁵, and have confirmed equal pay and promotion rates for three years running. Pay and promotion parity is foundational to elevating representation at all levels within our business, and we’re pleased to maintain parity while adding a higher percentage of women to the company overall.
We believe part of that growth can be attributed to the work of our Women’s Employee Resource Group (ERG), which has significantly grown in size and reach over the past year. Through recruiting and networking events, guest speakers, internal mentoring relationships, workshops and more, the ERG has created new opportunities for women to advance their skills, elevate their profiles and bring more talented women into our organization. We are grateful to the leaders of the Women’s ERG — their time and dedication is essential to the success and health of this organization.
Representation and inclusion at Slack
To better serve our increasingly global and diverse customer base, we must recruit, hire and retain a workforce that looks like them. That’s not just about compiling numbers, but ensuring we have an environment that’s open and inclusive and promotes equality of opportunity — because we want to support the growth of underrepresented people at every stage of their careers in technology. That’s not a switch you flip; it’s an ongoing, continuous effort that requires input from across backgrounds, teams, functions and levels.
One way we work to address this is high engagement with our employee resource groups. In addition to the Women’s and Veterans’ ERGs mentioned above, we have active ERGs centered on people of color (“Earthtones”), people of different abilities (“Abilities”), and people who are LGBTQ (“Out”). These groups are actively involved in influencing diversity and inclusion at Slack and their leaders regularly meet to share best practices and feedback, and take action where needed.
This commitment is also reflected in how we’re engaging in our communities. A few examples:
- In addition to bringing in (and hiring) Year Up interns, we donated $10,000 to the organization last year as part of our commitment via the Slack Shop, where we rotate benefiting charities every six months. We’ll make a similar donation to Code.org this year.
- We’re excited to announce a new partnership with Code2040 to support Black and Latinx computer science majors and recent grads as they take on their first software engineering jobs. Slack will partner with Code2040 on curriculum development, mentoring, program delivery, and event hosting. This is a brand new and highly experimental program, and we are eager to learn from the experience and iterate for subsequent future programming.
- We’ve also partnered with the Transgender Law Center to provide the initial funding for the creation of a comprehensive ally skills curriculum designed to improve companies’ ability to recruit, hire, include, and retain transgender and gender nonconforming employees. The curriculum that is created will also be made available across the entire tech sector.
These are all key steps — but by no means the only ones — that can help us learn new and expanded ways to identify, recruit and elevate talent across underrepresented demographics.
As Slack continues to expand, our commitment to transparency, inclusion and diversity will remain a priority. We strongly believe that to move the needle, we must focus on recruiting and retaining the best talent in the world. We must get more underrepresented people in the door and put them in a position to excel at our company. We must focus on building and sustaining an environment where everyone can thrive.
In addition to reflecting diversity within our ranks, we must also continue to expand the inclusiveness and accessibility of our product as well. Last year, we localized Slack into four new languages — Spanish, French, German and Japanese — with more to come in 2018. In addition to localizing, we made accessibility improvements, including a re-crafted zoom experience to better help people with visual impairments use Slack, and we released a new keyboard navigation model for people who cannot use a mouse, or simply prefer to use Slack by keyboard.
Our mission is to make people’s working lives simpler, more pleasant and more productive: We want this for our customers and we want this for all our employees as well. Growth is not an excuse to compromise our commitment to diversity and inclusion.
We want Slack to always be a place where people of different backgrounds can succeed and do the best work of their lives. Our goal from the beginning has been to avoid becoming a place where underrepresented groups exit the technology industry; instead, we hope to foster the next generation of tech leaders and entrepreneurs. We don’t want to be a place where people give up on their ambition, but rather a place where people can accelerate their career experience and thrive.
Our work is far from complete, but we’re committed to learning, improving, partnering and investing in the effort to keep moving this forward.
¹ Other than gender, we have limited our demographic reporting to United States-based employees in order to adhere to local laws in the other countries in which we operate.
² Slack Diversity Data as of December 31, 2017
³ “URM” includes Black or African American, Hispanic or Latino, Native Hawaiian and Pacific Islander, and American Indian or Alaska Native.
⁴ The vast majority of employees do not choose to disclose whether or not they identify as having a disability or as veterans; the data we share here is based on the small number who do disclose this information.
⁵We report today on women specifically as a reflection of our current data, but we know and support the fact that gender is not binary, and collect self-reported information on gender identity.
Got another minute? Check out:
Diversity at Slack was originally published in Several People Are Typing — The Official Slack Blog on Medium, where people are continuing the conversation by highlighting and responding to this story.
Keep tabs on your KPIs in channels with these apps for Slack
Data is only as good as what you’re able to make of it, and you can’t make much of your data if you’re spending all your time pulling reports rather than analyzing their contents. We put together a collection of apps from our App Directory that make it easier for marketers to integrate their analytics tools with Slack and receive automated reports and summaries in channels. That way, everyone on the team can have visibility into the numbers and insights they need to act quickly and make the most informed decisions.
Here are seven reports you can set up in Slack to automatically track your metrics and KPIs (key performance indicators).
1. Website traffic reports
Simple traffic summaries — with Arc
Arc delivers your Google Analytics data to you and your team in Slack. Not only that, it presents raw data in the form of a simple, easy-to-read message that everyone understands, making it easier for team members to stay informed and make better customer decisions. Plus, think of all the time you’ll save on clicking around for information.
Try it out: Connect Arc to your Google Analytics account and have it send daily, weekly, and monthly summaries of site traffic trends to a channel like #marketing-team.
Robust interactive reports — with Statsbot
If you want the ability to filter and break down site traffic more granularly — say, by source or campaign — Statsbot is a helpful option. In addition to connecting with Google Analytics, this app also works with Mixpanel, SQL data sources, and more. Statsbot can even learn from your data and notify you about suspicious changes in key metrics, like a dip in traffic to your checkout page.
Try it out: Schedule a weekly traffic source report to post into a #growth-marketing channel every morning. If you see something interesting and want to dig further, you can use the interactive buttons and dropdowns to filter the report and get just the information you need, without having to leave Slack to pull the data.
2. Social engagement summaries
Keep an eye on your audience growth — with Glance
If much of your week consists of pulling data from Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, and so on, Glance saves you the trouble by connecting to your social accounts, then posts a recurring report of your stats to a Slack channel of your choice.
Try it out: Schedule a weekly social engagement report, which can track the net change in your followers and the average engagement on each of your social accounts, and have it automatically post to your #social-media channel.
Monitor earned social — with Mention
In addition to providing daily summaries of social sentiment and activity, the social media monitoring tool Mention will also send you real-time alerts in Slack when there’s a conversation happening that you need to know about.
Try it out: Set up a Mention account and connect the app for Slack to your#social-media channel to receive daily recaps.
3. Blog and content performance
Recurring blog engagement summaries — with Glance
How many visits did your blog get last week? How many leads came through? Here’s another great use for Glance’s automated reports. Best of all, if you have a follow-up question about the stats you see, all you have to do is ask Glance right in Slack and it will surface the answers and data you’re looking for.
Try it out: Schedule a weekly blog report to post to your #content-marketing channel at 9am every Monday so everyone can begin the week by seeing what content is performing well.
Measure content pickup and results — with Content Tracker
It’s great if your content is read, but does it actually drive results? Content Tracker is a content marketing performance dashboard that helps you monitor engagement through to conversion — and it keeps tabs on social media and press pickup along the way. This app will notify you in Slack, in real time, whenever you get an inbound link to your content, when new content is published, or when your blog content hits big milestones, like an influx in social engagement or traffic.
Try it out: Connect Content Tracker with your #content-tracker channel and receive notifications when posts hit key milestones.
4. Paid media metrics
Paid search and social reporting — with AskAdStage
AdStage is a paid search and social campaign reporting tool that connects to Facebook Ads, Twitter, Google AdWords, and more, providing digital marketers with instant access to a customized and holistic view of campaign performance, all from Slack channels. It also helps you make smart adjustments to your campaigns, boost your return on ad spend (ROAS), and keep your broader team informed on how things are going. You can even pause underperforming campaigns directly from Slack without needing to log into another tool.
Try it out: Connect AskAdStage to your paid media accounts and schedule recurring reports to your #paid-media channel.
5. Email engagement
See who’s subscribing to your emails — with MailChimp
Know whether your email subject line is a hit or a miss by receiving updates in Slack when people subscribe or unsubscribe from your emails and newsletters. You’ll also be able to see the overall status of sent campaigns.
Try it out: Once you’ve authenticated your MailChimp account, you’ll be able to pick and choose which lists to monitor and the types of notifications you’d like to have posted to your #lifecycle-marketing channel.
Get a response rate summary the day after a campaign sends — with GetResponse
Congrats! You’ve launched your campaign, and you’re probably eager to see how it performs. The GetResponse app will send you a quick summary in Slack the day after your campaign goes out so you can see how many people opened and engaged with its content.
Try it out: Add GetResponse to your #launch-campaign channel to monitor email engagement after a campaign is sent.
6. Event registration goals
Keep an eye on your attendee counts — with Zapier
Zapier is a tool that moves data from one platform to another. Let’s say you want to receive updates on event registrations and RSVPs as they come in: You can easily create a “Zap” that will automatically port that data from the registration site you’re using right into a Slack channel.
Try it out: First, set up a Zap to automatically send attendee counts from your registration tool (like Splash, EventBrite, or GotoWebinar) into a Google Sheet as they come in. Then, set up a Zap that posts summaries of that data into a channel like #Q1-event.
7. Custom analytics reports
Share any report to a Slack channel — with the email integration
The email integration, built here at Slack, allows you to send any reports you usually get via email straight into a Slack channel. You can even configure it to post the message with a specific name and thumbnail, so people can have immediate context into what the report is about. Bringing this information into public channels in Slack — and out of siloed inboxes — makes it easier for teams to address issues quickly or act on new opportunities.
Try it out: Schedule a weekly report in Google Analytics or Adobe Analytics and have it sent to a #performance-marketing channel for the whole team to see.
Whatever KPIs your team is focused on, the apps in our directory will help you make data more visible and accessible, keeping everyone in the loop. Discover more ways to integrate your tools with Slack in the marketing and analytics categories of our app directory.
Want to learn more about how marketing teams can get the most out of Slack?
Join our upcoming Slack for Marketing session on April 26 and discover ways to power your marketing campaigns with Slack.In the meantime, check out our handbook for marketing teams. It’s short, sweet, and chock-full of tips.
Got another minute? Check out:
7 marketing reports you’ll never have to pull again was originally published in Several People Are Typing — The Official Slack Blog on Medium, where people are continuing the conversation by highlighting and responding to this story.
Building a product that meets the needs of both enterprise administrators and their users
We recently posted an update commemorating one year of Enterprise Grid, which highlighted the 150-plus customers using Slack’s product for large, complex companies, including global brands like IBM, Condé Nast, Target, and Capital One. But now we’d like to talk a bit more about how Enterprise Grid powers the work of some of the world’s largest organizations.
As more and more large enterprises move their work to Slack, we’re evolving our Grid offering with a focus on two core themes: supporting Slack at the scale of hundreds of thousands of users and creating an industry-leading security and compliance offering. Here are a few new ways Grid helps large organizations get work done:
Scaling Slack for end-users and admins alike
When we talk about scale, we aren’t just talking about building a product that supports up to 500,000 users (which it does). Rather, deploying Slack to hundreds of thousands of people requires tools that enable users to get work done in focused workspaces, while providing administrators with centralized oversight and management.
Company-wide announcement channels
Make and discover important announcements by creating default channels, which automatically include everyone in your company (with the option to make membership required). Given the size and impact of these channels, only admins can create them and posting permissions are limited to certain people, such as executives or internal communications managers. Plus, admins have the ability to turn on emoji reactions and threading for messages if desired.
Streamlined app management
We’ve added a new “Apps”page to the Admin Dashboard that provides insight into which apps are being used across all workspaces in your organization. For each app, Org Admins can view the workspace(s) it’s on, who installed it, and whether it was installed from the App Directory.
We’re also working on adding new tools to help admins streamline app management by defining rules to automatically approve (or reject) apps based on their level of requested scopes.
Improved workspace discoverability and onboarding
We’ve updated the onboarding experience to help new users find relevant workspaces in Slack while reducing administrative overhead. Now, new users who aren’t already assigned to a workspace can find workspaces by entering the names of people they work closely with. Additionally, we’re adding the ability to customize onboarding to insert guidance or relevant links specific to how your company uses Slack.
Security and compliance
Enterprise organizations don’t have to compromise between the products they need to be productive and meeting security or compliance requirements. We’re continuously investing in new tools and certifications that help enterprise admins enable their teams to work how they want and need to in Slack, even if that work contains sensitive information or you’re in a regulated industry.
Custom Terms of Service
If your organization has specific policies for using Slack, Org Admins can create a Custom Terms of Service that everyone in their organization (and optionally guest accounts) must accept in order to sign in.
Audit access, download, and other events
Admins can proactively monitor or reactively audit events that occur within your enterprise using our Audit Log API that surfaces 30-plus critical events including file downloads, login activity, and workspace permission changes. Additionally, you can pipe the API into monitoring tools such as Splunk or Sumo Logic to look for abnormalities or combine Slack data with that from other sources.
Enhanced device-level security controls
We’re continuing to invest in controls that help ensure only the right people have access to your organization’s information. Building off support for Enterprise Mobility Management (EMM) we announced last summer, admins can now restrict the ability to copy text or links from either of Slack’s mobile applications. We are also investigating other device-level security controls such as app-specific passcodes and force logout on specific devices.
Making Slack where your work happens, regardless of your industry or location
We’re continually evolving our security offering and adding new third-party certifications to mirror our growing customer base. For those of you who operate in Europe, Slack is GDPR compliant. Additionally, we recently received certifications for ISO 27001 and 27018.
You can learn more about Enterprise Grid here, or write in to our team at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Got another minute? Check out:
- Celebrating one year and 150-plus customers on Slack Enterprise Grid
- Introducing Shared Channels: Where you can work with anyone in Slack
How Enterprise Grid powers the work of large, global enterprises was originally published in Several People Are Typing — The Official Slack Blog on Medium, where people are continuing the conversation by highlighting and responding to this story.
Use Slack even on a single-member paid team
Regardless of your area of expertise, freelancing is about juggling projects with variable deadlines, having companies pay you on irregular schedules, and always being on the lookout for your next gig. The best freelancers are those that can navigate this sea of uncertainty, and bring order to the chaos.
For freelancers, working in Slack beats managing endless email chains with clients. Once invited into Slack teams as a guest, freelancers can post mockups, read feedback, and share final deliverables in a channel specific to the work. Either party can search past conversations and find files whenever they need. Freelancers can also respond to DM requests from clients if another project is on the horizon.
But busy freelancers have a lot of client projects each year. And for those working in Slack, that can mean juggling a long list of different workspaces in the Slack app, each workspace consisting of just a single guest channel.
Share and share alike
Last Fall, Slack introduced Shared Channels on paid plans, allowing two different teams using Slack to create channels that bridge between their organizations. For small agencies and service organizations working with larger firms, this can be a real boon as teams collaborate on projects in channels where people can join and leave as they are needed in the process.
But let’s not forget about freelancers. For less than $7 a month, a solo freelancer can create a paid Slack team to adopt an unlimited number of Shared Channels. Once in place, freelancers can create a shared channel for each of their clients, but keep all of these channels within their own single-person workspace. After the project is complete, all that work and associated discussions stick around in those channels and can be referenced at any time.
While Slack is really about collaboration, a single-user Slack team can also be useful for managing calendar reminders, keeping notes to yourself, and tracking ideas for future projects, among other things.
The best part is when a solo freelancer decides to join up with a friend to tackle projects together. Instead of requesting additional guest access to every client Slack team one by one, adding another freelancer to your existing one-person Slack workspace is simply a matter of inviting them in and adding each client’s shared channel for projects they’ll be involved in.
Shared Channels allow different organizations to collaborate with each other, without having to manage additional logins or complicated access rules. It works across large companies working together on shared initiatives or special projects that involve smaller agencies and firms. But they’re also great for working with outside consultants and freelancers from even the smallest of companies — those of just one person.
Got another minute? Check out:
How Shared Channels can help freelancers was originally published in Several People Are Typing — The Official Slack Blog on Medium, where people are continuing the conversation by highlighting and responding to this story.
March was a busy month for Slack, loaded with announcements, updates, and refinements. Let’s take a look at what transpired in the past 30 days.
We announced two big partnerships for Slack, one with Concur and another with Workday. Concur released a new bot that streamlines requests and approvals for travel and business expenses. Workday’s tools are coming soon, with plans to let you check your time-off balances, request days off, and look up coworker profile information, all from Slack.
Our own recent updates have included a bevy of improvements. The Quick Switcher — which gives you an easier way to bounce between Slack channels — got a spiffy makeover, and we’ve also made it easier for Admins to manage apps, integrations, and audit logs for their organizations.
For developers, we released an update to the Slack node SDK. The Github Slack app also saw a big refresh, with new options for reporting commits and pull requests in channels. And last but not least, we launched Spec, our first-ever Slack developer conference — coming to San Francisco in May.
School is in session
For anyone new to Slack, we published a back-to-basics overview of how channels work and also shared some tips for designing eye-catching and easy-to-read messages. If language and lingo is your thing, you might be interested in reading about the effort and thought that our translation team put into localizing Slack.
We also added three new sessions to our webinar series to help you get the most out of Slack. On April 3, there’s a session introducing how apps and integrations work; on April 17, a session just for administrators who manage Slack teams; and on April 26, we have a new session designed especially for marketing teams using Slack.
Stories from Slack
Among the bounty of interesting people we’ve profiled on our blog this month, we hear from the head of a nationwide chain of LEGO resellers about how his team uses Slack to connect and price inventory across local franchises. We then continue the explorations of our dream workspace series, this time featuring author Chuck Klosterman and designer Jessica Hische. In this fascinating story of a Japanese translator who survived a shipwreck in Antarctica, we learn some valuable lessons about leadership. Finally, we catch up with an expert at Deloitte’s Center for the Edge to hear about his latest research on harnessing the power of teams.
Slack is where work happens. Learn more at slack.com.
The strides of March was originally published in Several People Are Typing — The Official Slack Blog on Medium, where people are continuing the conversation by highlighting and responding to this story.
A roundup of helpful integrations to simplify how you get work done
A lot of tools connect with Slack to help with routine busy work (like scheduling meetings) and to reduce the time you spend switching between tools and digging around for data. Some recent additions include a new version of the Github integration and a bot from Concur; a new integration from Workday is also on its way.
With more than 1,000 apps in the Slack App Directory — and new ones being added all the time — we thought we’d share a collection of the latest ones to hit the stands.
Let a bot schedule your meetings
Juggling calendars can be a pain. But with the x.ai app for Slack, you can set up meetings with a simple slash command. Type /amy or /andrew, add meeting details, and get back to work.
Manage tasks and to-dos
Skip filling out complex forms and easily create and assign follow-up tasks with Begin. This integration also automatically organizes your to-do list tasks and shares your progress with the team to keep everyone coordinated.
Live-chat with customers right from Slack
Responding quickly once you have a customer’s attention can mean the difference between landing a deal and losing a deal. Intercom recently released a new version of its app that notifies you in Slack when a potential customer visits your site. It then launches a dedicated channel where you can communicate with that customer right from Slack. Learn how to close deals faster with Intercom and Slack in this recent webinar.
Receive personalized daily news briefings
Stay ahead of the competition with Nuzzel, an app that continuously tracks news from a wide range of sources and delivers a digest of your industry’s trending news to a Slack channel for the whole team to access.
Connect your team to the voice of the customer
Customer feedback is critical to making informed product and design decisions. The UserTesting integration allows you to easily share study summaries and customer video interviews to any public Slack channel so that everyone on the team can stay in the know.
Lighten the load for your IT team with virtual assistance
Have you tried turning your computer off and on again? Virtual agents like Spoke and Astound help IT teams automate responses to frequently asked questions, which in turn help employees solve their own challenges. If the issue is more complex, these apps route the ticket to the right person so it can be resolved quickly.
See what other tools connect to Slack and how they help teams get the information they need, when they need it, at slack.com/apps.
Got another minute? Check out:
New and noteworthy apps for Slack was originally published in Several People Are Typing — The Official Slack Blog on Medium, where people are continuing the conversation by highlighting and responding to this story.
How the dispersed team at Student Loan Hero prioritizes communication and connection
Andy Josuweit is the Austin, TX-based CEO you’re more likely to catch in a coffee shop than a corner office. The founder of Student Loan Hero, a solution for managing and repaying student loans, works remotely. And so do the 70 employees of his six-year-old company.
Josuweit graduated from college in 2009 during the recession and was unable to find work. Instead of heading down the classic cubicle-bound 9-to-5 career path, he found himself off to an internship in Africa, then Asia, to chase his entrepreneurial pursuits on a budget, followed by South America for an accelerator. “[Remote work] is all I know,” says Josuweit.
To keep everyone on the same page, Josuweit advises, “You really have to overemphasize the importance of communication. You need to figure out how you can create a safe environment to communicate and how you can allow for constructive confrontation and have healthy debates.”
He feels like this needs to be a priority because remote work diminishes access to nonverbal communication and provides limited opportunities to build rapport and trust with colleagues. “You don’t have the opportunities to sit down to lunch together or go out for happy hour with people.”
While Student Loan Hero does do two annual retreats to get their employees face-to-face, they’ve found an easy daily workaround for body language by using emojis and gifs “to share how we’re feeling on a deeper level.”
Jacy Cruz, who joined the company four months ago as their Customer Experience Manager, says sometimes she feels like she doesn’t use enough emojis. Cruz, who’d lobbied hard at her last company for more flexibility around working from home, did have some concern about going fully remote, “Because I’m shy and I thought that it was going to be even more difficult for people to get to know me.”
Fortunately, Student Loan Hero has several initiatives in place to foster connectedness. They have two all-company meetings each week. The Monday meeting is more business focused, but the Friday afternoon meeting is more laidback and functions as a “happy hour.” Colleagues can chat about their wins from the week and their plans for the weekend, just like they would on a Friday afternoon in the office.
Cruz also has her first Slack Donut bot chat coming up. The bot will do the work of pairing her with someone at random within her company for a 15 to 20-minute chat. Cruz likes this setup because she’s “not naturally inclined to reach out to people” she’s not working with directly.
But her favorite community building effort is the “Learning Rewards” program. The company has a pre-approved list of books they recommend employees read. Employees are encouraged to block out at least one hour on their calendar during the workweek to read and are rewarded with $15 for each hour they spend reading. “I love it because they recognize it’s a small amount of money for them to pay for their employees to do two things: One is to immediately begin applying whatever they’re learning to their jobs, but the second thing, that I think is actually more important, is to develop this habit, this thirst for learning.” Cruz continues, “And so many people are burnt out at work, what’s their incentive to go out and learn things unless it’s about trying to find a new job and get paid more.”
And what Student Loan Hero is doing is working. Shaun Moten, the HR Coordinator at Student Loan Hero who helps develop and manage employee culture, says, “Up until December of last year, we had a non-existent turnover rate. Then present day, we’ve had three employees to leave the company, so it’s still ridiculously low to have been around since 2012.”
Moten assists new hires in establishing a daily routine and conducts “stay interviews” to unearth and address any employee grievances early. For her, Student Loan Hero is “HR heaven.”
Josuweit, the CEO, predicts a more remote workforce will become the norm. “We’re going to see this demand in the workplace to create more work-life balance, or work-life integration. And I think remote work is somewhat inevitable. I think it’s kind of like fighting gravity.” But that doesn’t mean the future of work is without issue, says Josuweit. “It comes with its own unique challenges.” But for him and the entire team at Student Loan Hero, the extra effort is worth the reward.
Got another minute? Check out:
- Making work tools feel more human, so people can thrive
- How to choose the most thoughtful medium for your message
Creating a strong ‘office’ culture for remote workers was originally published in Several People Are Typing — The Official Slack Blog on Medium, where people are continuing the conversation by highlighting and responding to this story.
For the people building the software used by 6 million workers every day
Join us on May 22 in San Francisco for Spec: Slack’s first conference for builders. Hear from our platform team about upcoming products, connect with the growing global community of developers, partners, and customers building on Slack, and see how your work is changing the workplace.
Along with technical demos and motivating keynotes, we’ll roll up our sleeves and build a map — a spec, you could say — of the industry and platform we are shaping together.
Whether you’re creating helpful integrations just for your company, or building a new business on top of Slack’s platform, Spec will feature a range of sessions from technical talks to business-oriented best practices for partners and developers.
And (drumroll, please): Now’s your chance to share your Slack platform story! Our call for submissions is open until April 15, 2018. Tell us about your hits, your misses, and the lessons you learned from building on Slack.
See you at Spec.
Keep an eye out for speaker announcements and more news over the coming months. Tickets are free but limited, so RSVP today.
Got another minute? Check out:
Introducing Spec: Slack’s first developer conference was originally published in Several People Are Typing — The Official Slack Blog on Medium, where people are continuing the conversation by highlighting and responding to this story.
Easily complete time off requests, look up employee info, and give peer feedback
Slack and Workday both contain essential information that enables people to do their jobs — from finding the best person to answer a question to understanding the details of a new health plan. That’s why Slack is officially partnering with Workday to put the right information in the hands of the right people whenever they need it.
Every day, Slack customers look to Workday to reference org charts, find a coworker’s location, check their benefits, or request time off. Coming soon, you’ll be able to use Workday and Slack together to perform these tasks securely from Slack without switching context.
Here’s a look at what’s coming.
Request and share time-off details from Slack
Request time off using Workday’s conversational interface without having to leave Slack. Both you and your manager will be notified of updates or tasks related to approving the request. Not sure how many PTO days you have left? Just ask before you plan your vacation.
Quickly provide peer feedback
We all know how important yet time consuming peer feedback can be. Workday wants to make it a little easier by sending you reminders and allowing you to complete peer feedback tasks directly within Slack.
Easily look up coworker information
Chat with Workday’s conversational UI to look up coworker profile information in Slack. You can request information like title, manager, department, location, organizational structure, etc., to help you get the information you need to connect across teams.
Next on the roadmap:
Get team members access to the right Slack channels
Our Slack and Workday integration will allow your IT team to easily assign team members to the right Slack channels based on their department, sparing employees the hassle of requesting access to information or channels as the organization changes and grows.
Setup customized notifications
Configure Workday alerts and notifications that you’ll receive in Slack. For instance, you can get updates from your Workday inbox, and soon, you’ll be able to take action on those tasks directly from within Slack.
These integrations will be available for your team to use beginning fall 2018. As a strategic partner to our platform, Workday will be adding even more capabilities in the future. As these new features are added, customers already using the Workday-Slack integration will automatically receive these updates to do more right in Slack.
Want more apps?
Bringing the apps you use every day into Slack keeps your team coordinated and working faster. Visit our app directory to explore all the tools you can connect with Slack at slack.com/apps.
Slack and Workday: Get the HR information you need, when you need it was originally published in Several People Are Typing — The Official Slack Blog on Medium, where people are continuing the conversation by highlighting and responding to this story.