Each year, ineffective meetings cost American businesses an estimated $37 billion. The problem? Instead of scheduling time to reach decisions or stir up creative brainstorms, many workers simply meet to share information.
Planning meetings strategically not only improves internal communication, it also helps your company’s bottom line. Slack channels offer a space to share updates, host online brainstorming sessions and document conversations in a searchable archive. We spoke with three of our customers in different industries––from veggie food offerings to personal finance––about how they organize efficient online meetings in Slack channels.
Online meetings in Slack channels saves time (and money)
Lincoln Investment is a Pennsylvania-based financial advisory and investment firm with a nationwide network of over 1,100 financial advisors. With a little help from Slack channels, Lincoln Investment serves 364,000 clients, representing over $36 billion in assets.
Before making the switch to Slack, teams at Lincoln Investment shared most of their updates over emails, phone calls and meetings. Now, meetings have become far more efficient—the leadership team even created a channel called
#home-office-leadership to help workers make the most of them. Teammates use this channel to:
- Share agendas and action items ahead of time so participants come to meetings prepared
- Share works in progress
- Share roadblocks
- Document action items and next steps
Thanks to Slack channels, Lincoln Investment replaced a whopping 90-minute weekly meeting with a thrice-weekly 15-minute online stand-up. Teammates also communicate with each other in Slack in between meetings, further cutting back on in-person meeting time.
“We’re a financial services company first, but 100% of our revenue comes in through our technology infrastructure,” says Guru Rao, Lincoln Investment’s vice president of technology. “Slack provides us with a scalable infrastructure to support that growth.”
Making decisions in Slack channels to satisfy a city’s taco cravings
Chaia Tacos is a growing, Washington, D.C.-based business serving up locally sourced vegetarian tacos, such as creamy kale and potatoes and braised mushrooms. When the Chaia Tacos team first opened its doors, workers communicated primarily via text message and email. But this kind of disorganized communication made it hard for the team to stay aligned.
“No one could keep up with anything, no one could find anything, no one knew when something was urgent and when it wasn’t,” says Bettina Stern, Chaia Tacos co-founder. “There was no system. It was a mess.”
When Chaia Tacos moved to Slack, it used the channels feature to align on decisions like menu planning, daily checklists for the front-of-house staff and catering schedules.
“Slack is at the center of operations at Chaia restaurants,” says Stern. “It’s where we share leads for the catering side of the business, discuss new menu items, track repairs. Anything that affects our business has a channel in Slack.”
Accommodating working parents with online meetings
Co-founded by Vanessa and Nate Quigley, Chatbooks is a digital scrapbooking company based in Provo, Utah, that creates photo books and other accessories for anyone who’s too busy to organize their digital albums––like working parents. Being part of the Chatbooks team means working for a company that supports employees who are working parents too.
“We really want men and women to be able to take family leave when a new child joins their family,” says Rachel Hofstetter, Chatbooks’ chief marketing officer. “It’s an important thing we prioritize at Chatbooks. What I’ve found from my own experience, and what I’ve heard from others who’ve taken leave, is that Slack gives them a way to quickly understand what’s been happening while they were gone, and I think that’s really egalitarian.”
To offer working parents flexible hours, Chatbooks holds many of their meetings in Slack channels. Angel Brockbank, the director of support, organizes a daily stand-up meeting for her team in a channel called
#marching-orders. Instead of organizing in-person stand-ups or video conferences, Brockbank simply updates this channel every morning with assignments for the day.
“We want people to choose the type of jobs they want, whether or not they’re here in Utah, working full time, part time or jumping on a project while their kid is napping,” Hofstetter explains. “Slack helps with that.”
Hosting online meetings aligns with Chatbooks’ mission to accommodate working parents and support busy families.
Face-to-face meetings are often best for making serious business decisions or clearing up misunderstandings. But when it comes to the day to day, Slack channels make it easy to share information and reduce unnecessary meetings.
Another advantage to holding online meetings in Slack channels? You can easily archive conversations to increase transparency and get remote and out-of-office teammates up to speed.