Onboard your company to Slack

Whether you’re introducing Slack to 500 people or 500,000, onboarding large groups is no easy task. This guide will help you introduce Slack to your company in a meaningful way.

The highlights

  • Build a team to define how your company should use Slack
  • Explore how Slack can make your company more productive
  • Design Slack to fit your company’s needs and goals
  • Create a plan to launch Slack company-wide


1. Build a launch team

Assembling the right mix of people is the first step towards a successful launch. Here’s an example of possible roles and responsibilities:

Internal roles

  • Project manager
    The main point of contact, responsible for coordinating launch activities. 
  • Executive sponsor
    The “Slack Champion” in the leadership team who will actively communicate the purpose and value of Slack.
  • Business owners
    The people who will reinforce the importance of Slack in their individual teams. They’ll identify key use cases and modify them over time. 
  • Workspace owners and admins
    The people who will manage your workspace’s settings and preferences, as well as helping with ongoing member management. 
  • Change team
    The people who will educate employees in how to use Slack. They might devise a training plan and share best practices and use cases, in addition to providing support.

Slack roles*

  • Account Executive (AE):
    Your main point of contact with a deep understanding of your business needs.
  • Customer Success Manager (CSM):
    Your AE will connect you with a CSM to help coordinate a smooth launch.
  • Support team:
    Our support team are always here to help if you’ve run into an issue or need help using Slack. 

    *Our support team deal with the majority of our customers’ needs, so not all customers will have a dedicated AE or CSM. 

Hello! Our support team are available 24/7 and always happy to help. Get in touch with us if you ever need a hand! 👍


2. Explore challenges and goals

It’s time to get your launch team on the same page. It’s essential to have a well-defined vision and purpose for using Slack. Employee interviews are a great way to understand your company’s current communication culture. 

Here are some questions you could ask:

  • How does our company’s culture affect how we communicate? 
  • How do you communicate and collaborate with teammates?
  • What apps and tools do you use for work?
  • Which people/teams do you work closely with? Who else do you work with? 
  • How do you think Slack could help our company? 

Your findings will help highlight your company’s communication challenges and opportunities so you can set goals for the organisation and projects to focus on. 

 

3. Identify use cases

Keep track of specific use cases and workflows that will help you achieve your goals. Choose scenarios that will maximise the benefit to your team. 

  • Start with two to four specific use cases. 
  • Choose use cases that address existing communication challenges. 
  • Model positive behaviours that members can copy. 
  • Review your progress each week after launching Slack company-wide. 


Sample business use cases

Use case 1

Use case 2

Business use case: Making company announcements

Current challenge

  • It’s hard to learn about important updates from multiple teams
  • Email distribution lists are used for too many types of communication and inboxes fill up quickly

Objective

  • Increase transparency across multiple teams
  • Let people opt in to announcements that are most relevant to them

Slack features that can help

  • Star important channels
  • Customise notifications (e.g. use highlight words)
  • Quote a message
  • Link to relevant channels, messages and files

Slack workspace behaviours

  • Establish must-read announcement channels
  • Keep important channels clear of unnecessary chatter
  • Keep channels focused and on-topic

Success criteria

  • 75% or more report Slack has helped them feel more connected
  • 50% or more report greater transparency
  • 20% or more report they’ve noticed a reduction in internal emails

Business use case: Asking for feedback

Current challenge

  • Asking for feedback from a group via email is not an efficient process

Objective

  • Collect feedback efficiently from direct and indirect teams
  • Increase transparency on key projects

Slack features that can help

  • Shared channels
  • Shared files
  • Custom notifications or @mentions
  • Message threads
  • Emoji reactions

Slack workspace behaviours

  • Ask for feedback openly in a public channel
  • Be concrete about timelines and set reminders in appropriate channels
  • Demonstrate courtesy for other teammates by using emoji reactions
  • Use posts to collect ideas and pin in a channel for easy reference

Success criteria

  • Members reported a 20% or more increase in productivity
  • Members reported having 20% fewer meetings
  • Members reported having a better understanding of projects and progress in adjacent departments


4. Set up your workspace

Set up and manage your workspace’s settings and preferences before launching Slack company-wide. A full menu of settings can be found on the Settings & permissions page at my.slack.com/admin/settings

To help you get started, here are some settings that can set the stage for how your workspace operates. We’ve included some additional tips for guidance: 

Channels

Messages

Access

Apps

Choose who can create, archive and manage membership for your workspace’s public and private channels from the Channel management section.
💡We recommend giving people the autonomy to create and archive channels, making Slack work for them in a more meaningful way.

💡We recommend letting all members create and manage public channels. It helps to express the value of communicating openly in public channels to promote transparency and contribute to your company’s message archive.
From the Message and File retention sections, you can set custom retention policies that align with your organisation’s legal/compliance standards. For public and private channels, direct messages and files, you’ll have some options for your retention preferences:

• Keep everything
• Keep all messages but don’t track revisions (e.g. edits and deletions)
• Delete messages and their revisions after a certain period of time

💡The collection of knowledge built over time in your organisation’s message archives is a major benefit of Slack. The more message history you can retain, the better!
If your organisation uses an identity provider, you can set up single sign-on to give your members access to Slack. From Settings & permissions, just click the Authentication tab.
💡Go to the Guide to single sign-on with Slack.

You can decide who has permission to manage apps and internal integrations from the Manage section of the App Directory.


💡Customising your Slack workspace with apps that your members use to get work done drives productivity. Make sure you give the right people access to install apps and custom integrations.


5. Create a channel naming guide

Having a guide for naming channels makes it easier for people to discover and join the channels that are relevant to them. Thinking ahead about a strategy will help your workspace be more successful. 

  • Start with broad channel topics, then narrow down
  • Create a guide for naming channels
  • Share the guide with your workspace
  • Encourage everyone to stay on-topic

Note: We’ve created an entire guide dedicated to helping you organise and name channels. We believe this is essential to building a solid foundation for your workspace – it’s definitely worth a read! 


6. Educate your team

Offer training sessions

Make sure your launch team have a solid understanding of how Slack works. Here are some ideas for how you can host Slack training sessions:

  • Executives and leadership
    Communicate the value of Slack and the importance of ensuring their organisation is aligned using this tool. 
  • Business owners
    Share business use cases. Take a look at our department-specific guides demonstrating how to manage a team with Slack.
  • Workspace admins
    Discuss your workspace’s settings and preferences, member management best practices and how they can support your company.
  • Change team
    Show people how to use Slack more effectively. Offer sessions focused not only on individual features and connecting apps and tools but also on how notifications work.

💡Read our step-by-step guide to hosting a Slack Day training event!    


Self-service training

Create a #help-slack channel so people have somewhere to ask questions. Pinning helpful information to the channel makes it easy for members to reference it quickly. Depending on your audience and the level of support you think they’ll need, consider offering in-person training sessions.

Here are some handy resources:

Get trained! We offer a free interactive training app that you can add to your workspace. It’s open to all members; use the tutorials to learn how to use Slack effectively at work. Add the Slack Foundry app.🏅


7. Onboard the team
 

The best way for people to understand the value of Slack is to try it out for themselves – start small, then gradually add more people.

  • Phase 1: Choose a small group
  • Phase 2: Include a specific team or department
  • Phase 3: Expand to multiple teams or departments

How about a phased approach: 

Phase 1

Phase 2

Phase 3

Start small with an internal team who already communicate and collaborate regularly. We recommend between 10 and 50 people, including the launch team, and then growing from there.


💡  Create a channel called #intros. Whenever new members join your workspace, ask them to share a little bit of information about themselves.

💡  Try using information gathered during the user interviews to choose a group that is ready and comfortable with change.

Now that you’ve demonstrated Slack’s value, it’s time to choose a specific team to formally launch with. The group could range in size between 100 and 500 people depending on how comfortable your organisation is with new technology and open communication. 

When selecting the next group, try to choose a cross-functional group that collaborates often and is ready for change. Including the group from phase 1 is key – they’ll show newcomers how to work with each other in Slack.

You can repeat this phase as much as necessary until you feel comfortable moving on.


💡  Have the executive sponsor send an email announcing the move to Slack. To get the ball rolling, here’s a template to help you write the email.

💡  Ensure Slack admins add new users to the appropriate user groups, as well as ensuring each person joins the right channels.

Now that a healthy foundation has been established, you can begin to add more groups and departments. To expedite adoption, choose teams who already overlap regularly with people who participated in phases 1 and 2.

That’s it! Repeat this phase as much as necessary until your whole organisation is on Slack.


💡  @mention new users in #help-slack and encourage them to read the Getting started for new users guide.

💡  Assign members tasks (with due dates) that can be completed in Slack.

💡  Hosting a special Slack Training Day in conjunction with the launch is a nice way to promote Slack internally once you are ready for the wider group to join. We’ve prepared a few things to help you get this off the ground!

8. Track progress and iterate

Tracking your progress will help you demonstrate the value of Slack to the rest of the company, inspire new ways of working together and identify opportunities to grow. Here are some examples:

  • Track the adoption of Slack by reviewing your workspace’s statistics periodically (e.g. every six months). Look for an increase in the:
    • Number of sent messages.
    • Number of uploaded files.
    • Number of installed apps and internal integrations.
  • Interview employees to see how Slack has improved your team’s productivity. Ask members about:
    • The amount of time it takes to search for information.
    • The amount of time it takes to switch between apps they use for work.

💡  To learn more about how to do this in Slack, see our Review workspace activity and statistics article.