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Fabernovel drives innovation and agility with Slack

‘Slack has this wonderful ability to form the backbone of a company.’

Stéphane DistinguinFounder and CEO, Fabernovel

Want to make your brand stand out in a crowded advertising environment, build a strategic digital roadmap or launch a new product? Fabernovel, an international consulting agency, has the teams for you.

Fabernovel helps clients to transform and scale their products and services for the digital age. With headquarters in Paris, nearly 400 employees work their magic across Asia, Europe and North America. These multidisciplinary teams apply insights to the entire digital value chain – from the production of useful, everyday products right up to managing creative campaigns.

With its passion for innovation, Fabernovel was an early adopter of Slack, the secure channel-based messaging platform. After trying it out in 2014, Stéphane Distinguin, the founder and CEO at Fabernovel, quickly saw Slack’s potential.

‘We needed to limit emails in our day-to-day management,’ Distinguin says. ‘We felt there was something to explore with Slack, and our intuition was right.’

Today, Fabernovel is right at home in Slack. Teams use channels as command centres for internal and external communication and accessing institutional knowledge. With its fun, user-friendly interface, Slack makes it easy for employees to work more efficiently each day.

StéphaneDistinguin

‘Slack is a rich tool that allows for both formal and informal use. I still haven’t explored everything it has to offer.’

Stéphane DistinguinFounder and CEO, Fabernovel

Increasing productivity with Slack integrations

Slack is a flexible, best-in-class solution, and organisations can tailor the platform to custom fit their needs with hundreds of apps and integrations. For example, Fabernovel’s engineers were able to optimise their Slack workspace by integrating Rollbar, which follows production errors in real time. The app allows developers to react quickly in the event of a crash, warn co-workers and keep them in the know with status updates.

To centralise business processes and data, Fabernovel uses the Podio tool. Previously, when a new client contract was signed, colleagues gathered in person to ring a bell and celebrate together. However, moving to a new office in 2019 and spreading teams across six floors meant that this was no longer possible. So Fabernovel decided to automate this process in Slack. Now, once a deal is closed in Podio, it’s automatically posted in the #welovewins channel with the deal amount and owner, who then shares more details and congratulates everyone involved.

‘It sounds simple, but this notification actually brings the teams together,’ says Hugo Hache, the technical director at Fabernovel. ‘That small dose of dopamine helps our employees to feel united.’

Lucca, the human resources information system, also seamlessly integrates with Slack, allowing Fabernovel employees to update their statuses when working remotely. This is a feature that has become essential during the Covid-19 pandemic.

Like any organisation, Fabernovel has unique use cases that require customised solutions. With Slack, it’s easy for the developers to create customised integrations, including an on-demand temporary Wi-Fi code generator. With this app, Fabernovel can offer all its visitors, such as potential and existing customers and service providers, a temporary Wi-Fi code upon request.

Fabernovel also created a customised tool for managing API specifications, and has integrated this process into Slack. Front-end developers now have access to a daily summary of API changes for their projects in individual Slack channels, and know exactly where all the moving parts stand.

‘Formalising this process by giving a well-formulated, well-presented project summary – and we worked very hard on the wording and the format for that – has really helped with the adoption of the tool,’ says Hache.

Fabernovel even created a customer quiz tool for employee training. This central knowledge base contains multiple-choice questions to help employees train for certification in Scrum, an agile project management framework.

HugoHache

‘In terms of technical processes, integrating an app into Slack is as simple as sending a text. When developing something more specific, we have to think out the strategy beforehand, but even then, it takes no more than a day.’

Hugo HacheTechnical Director, Fabernovel

Using Slack channels to revolutionise internal and external collaboration

When it comes to day-to-day communication and teamwork, Slack has been a game changer. Asynchronous communication in Slack channels allows Fabernovel’s engineers to divvy up tasks and process requests more efficiently.

‘We use several tools, each of which has a specific role,’ Hache explains. ‘GitHub is for putting requests in context, Slack is for discussing and exchanging information and Jira is for follow-up tickets.’

Slack is also the preferred space for communication between managers and their teams. It’s simple to send a message in channels, accelerating the validation processes and preventing requests from getting submerged in an inbox that’s already full.

Slack is also an effective tool for accessing institutional knowledge. The pin feature, which pins important messages to any conversation for easy reference, helps teammates to organise and store important documents. Because Slack channels are searchable, it’s easy for teammates to find the right information that they need.

Fabernovel also uses Slack to communicate with its external partners in a more dynamic way than email. The organisation doesn’t work with many subcontractors, so external communication mainly involves customers who are given access to a secure, private Slack channel that they can use to contact Fabernovel.

From a security and confidentiality perspective, channels make it possible to control who’s included in the communication loop, without the risk of forgetting someone or including someone accidentally. It’s also possible to set a date for when an external partner’s access will expire and need to be renewed.

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Fostering company culture and global teamwork

Fabernovel’s leaders can attest that Slack has increased job satisfaction and strengthened relationships among teammates. Distinguin says Slack has been an instrumental tool for boosting morale.

‘In 2017, we acquired a company that specialised in apps and digital platforms,’ Distinguin says. ‘Its teams were mainly made up of engineers who had very technical backgrounds. We went to meet with them to go over the terms of the merger. Our presentation didn’t elicit much of a reaction until we told them that they would be using Slack with an unlimited licence, as we were already doing throughout Fabernovel. They started applauding.’

Slack has helped to breathe new life into Fabernovel’s company culture in the following ways.

Nurturing talent

Fabernovel is implementing an add-on for Slack to facilitate stronger connections among employees. This tool will make it possible to identify employees based on their skills, expertise and areas of interest. Fabernovel’s goal is to create new combinations of teams so that individuals can better play up each other’s strengths.

Welcoming new teammates

New Fabernovel employees are onboarded with Slack. During their first two weeks of work, new employees are given the chance to meet some of their co-workers through a special bot for introductions.

Similarly, another bot called Marvin playfully creates ‘matches’ between colleagues, allowing them to meet virtually or in person. Its goal is to facilitate team building and integrate new teammates into the company.

Strengthening communication

Slack is fast, simple and fun, but that doesn’t mean that it encourages superficial conversations. According to Fleur Douet, the director of communications at Fabernovel, it’s quite the opposite.

‘As someone with a hearing impairment, I tend to communicate in writing as much as possible,’ Douet says. ‘And Slack really supports that, by letting people communicate in a relevant way. Everything is ‘tidy’, so to speak. It’s easier to find information in Slack than in an email inbox.’

Douet also says that emoji make conversations feel welcoming, but they also make it easy to provide proper context and even to maintain a certain level of restraint in conversation when necessary.

FleurDouet

‘Fabernovel is very much oriented towards the individual and defines itself as a talent company. We’re interested in identifying people with certain talents and helping them to develop these by teaming them up with people who have complementing talents. Slack really makes this kind of worthwhile interaction possible.’

Fleur DouetDirector of Communications, Fabernovel

For Fabernovel, Slack is the future of work

Fabernovel’s leaders can’t imagine a better way to work than channel-based messaging. Slack helps teams to communicate effectively to drive projects forwards and support a culture of innovation.

‘In addition to boosting the quality of our employees' work, Slack boosts interactions between teammates,’ Distinguin says. ‘Slack is a true ally of corporate culture.’