Slack was the first way to unify communications across the company outside of email.
✅ Ever taken a survey?
✅ Ever been on the internet?
✅ Ever taken a survey on the internet?
If you answered yes to two or more of these questions, you've basically already met the team behind SurveyMonkey. As they’ve grown their team to more than 650 monkeys (what employees call themselves) across multiple locations handling over 25 million customers, keeping everyone in the loop hasn’t been easy. The amount of internal email had grown unmanageable, training and onboarding 10 new people each week put a strain on already busy employees, and higher-ups needed a better system for keeping in touch with the team that now spanned four offices in North America, one in Australia, and two in Europe. Last year, they started using Slack to improve their communications across teams and across the globe.
Someone new that joins the company tomorrow has access to all of the conversations we’ve had since we’ve been using Slack because it’s sitting there in a channel.
Slack began in the engineering group at SurveyMonkey, then spread throughout the company first as a replacement for instant messaging as well as a useful employee directory. Brent Chudoba, the company’s Chief Revenue Officer, describes Slack usage as a drive towards radical transparency while focusing on speeding up internal communication: “I definitely believe there’s been a productivity jump. We started to increase our usage of Slack at the same time that our company grew from 350 employees to about 550 employees. Any company between 300 and 800 employees is likely struggling because they don’t yet have all the infrastructure needed to support that team because they didn’t need it at 250. As the saying goes, ‘it’s like building a plane while flying it,’ and Slack has helped us bridge the communications gap because we can get messages out very, very fast.”
There’s been a reduction in internal email at SurveyMonkey and while there aren’t fewer meetings, Brent says meetings are more effective because there’s no need to repeat team updates that have already been shared in Slack channels. Their IT team describes a time when the company operated nearly 200 email distribution lists that have since been replaced with Slack. As Slack usage has increased for the company both across channels and for direct messaging, SurveyMonkey has even taken steps to eliminate desk phones as they’re growing increasingly unnecessary.
It's such a seamless integration into our workflow. For me, that’s the best part. It’s a really natural thing for us to be using.
Some of the popular channels at SurveyMonkey include #honorable-mentions, where anyone in the company can give thanks to others when they get help or want to thank someone going the extra mile to help out others in the office. There’s also a #tripnotes channel where traveling employees write up their experiences at off-site visits, summarizing in-depth customer interviews that get shared to over 100 employees.
Slack lends itself to a lot of natural team and culture building.
For a company built on gathering feedback, management has found similar benefits from Slack when drafting corporate policy. During a recent spate of light-rail construction that induced area-wide delays, employees were struggling to make it to and from the office on time and banded together in Slack channels to organize carpools and ridesharing in real-time. Management took notice, and used the feedback from those events to create a new reimbursement policy for ridesharing trips on days when such delays occurred.
Slack has helped SurveyMonkey employees stay in touch with one another across continents and timezones, letting Ralph Freshour in IT talk to coworkers in Dublin, Ireland and Portland, Oregon while also letting Karen Callahan train employees in Canada, Australia and beyond. With Slack, the company is more efficient and transparent, as hundreds of SurveyMonkey employees in a variety of roles help run the world's leading provider of online surveys.
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