Better collaboration, fewer meetings: how to keep teams aligned with Slack
Productivity

Better collaboration, fewer meetings: how to keep teams aligned with Slack

Take advantage of powerful features to help everyone share updates and stay informed

Author: Andrew Dudley3rd August 2021Illustration by Giacomo Bagnara

A well-planned meeting is a tried-and-true way to share ideas, gain clarity and alignment and get teammates jazzed up about taking a project across the finish line. But when meetings are neither planned nor productive, they can actually be more harmful than helpful, taking the team away from precious focus time.

It’s no surprise then that, in a recent survey, many workers reported wanting fewer, more effective meetings. They also want more flexibility to work from anywhere, on their own schedule. In fact, recent Future Forum research reveals that 76% of knowledge workers now want freedom in where they work, and 93% want a flexible work schedule. In short, they want their employers to embrace a digital-first approach.

With Slack, companies can empower people to work when and where is best for them, all while maintaining the flexibility, inclusivity and connection that they need to be successful. Slack provides a central place for the whole team to share updates and stay informed, no additional meetings required. Here are a few ways Slack helps move work forward, no matter where or when your team is working:

Get up to speed on your own time

Slack empowers hybrid teams (with both remote and office workers) to replace in-person meetings while staying aligned. Rather than gathering in a conference room at a set time each week, team members can share updates and strategise in Slack channels, no matter where they are in the world. Channels offer a space to share updates, host online brainstorming sessions and document conversations in searchable threads.

‘Teams that held in-person status updates are now conducting those stand-ups in Slack channels. It’s a great way to make sure that there’s no sacrifice in transparency while everyone is in different locations.’

Kristin GeyerGlobal Head of Internal Communications, Wayfair

Give and receive updates at your own pace

Give and receive updates at your own pace

 

You can move daily huddle meetings and check-ins to Slack, allowing team members from Peebles to Paddington to share updates in one tidy thread at their convenience. Everyone can review what their coworkers are up to at their own pace, without the hustle – or headache – of syncing everyone’s schedule. And along the way, the team will be building a searchable history of everyone’s tasks, helping prevent duplicate work.

With Slack’s Workflow Builder, you can create automated prompts that guide workers to provide quick updates each day or week, no coding required. More than 2.6 million people are using workflows in Slack, and 80% of people creating workflows don’t have a technical background. Slack also integrates with apps that let you automate more of your teamwork, like Polly, Standup.ly and Geekbot. Consider these apps and features as friendly sidekicks, there to help you automate recurring check-ins and retrospectives to keep the team on the same page.

Spark new ideas and collaboration

Getting feedback and crowdsourcing ideas is critical to effective teamwork. However, this often means more meetings, which can slow teams down.

Using Slack to solicit and share feedback is a powerful way to cut down on extra meetings and facilitate better collaboration. You can gather inputs from your team and cross-functional partners through simple, lightweight processes in Slack, so you can make decisions more quickly and move forward in lockstep.

‘Our team uses Slack to bring in cross-functional partners, such as product or market operations, who we work with to implement shopper feedback as quickly as possible. Workflow Builder has been a huge timesaver for us.’

Jake ShackelfordOperations Lead, Shipt

Encourage always-on feedback

Encourage always-on feedback

 

Good ideas can come from anywhere, at any time. And a digital-first approach gives you more flexible ways than ever to capture creativity from your team members and external partners.

Try creating a virtual ‘suggestion box’ within Slack, providing an always-on, lightweight way for people to share feedback and ideas on their own time. Start by creating a set of channels using ‘#feedback-’ as a channel prefix, like #feedback-product for product ideas or #feedback-marketing for campaign suggestions. Then, using Workflow Builder, add a simple form to the channel, specifying exactly what information would be helpful as you review the feedback or idea. Anyone can easily share their perspective; no need to figure out who to contact or what level of detail to share.

You can even extend this feedback process to people outside your organisation via workflows in Slack Connect channels, the secure way to communicate and collaborate with external organisations. That’s how Slack’s customer success team, for example, offers customers a simple way to share pain points and new ideas.

Get real-time input with simple, engaging polls

Get real-time input with simple, engaging polls

 

When you need to make a decision, Slack makes it easy to get real-time input – from quickly polling your team on a new marketing asset to gathering feedback from customers on a new product or service.

Apps like Simple Poll, Polly and Qualtrics meet users where they’re already working in Slack, prompting them with engaging polls and surveys that make sharing feedback a breeze. In fact, Polly users experience seven to ten times faster response times when sending a poll in Slack versus traditional surveys. Many of these apps offer a variety of polling features available to fit your needs, like anonymity, hidden results, scheduling, reminders, event-triggered surveys, templates and more.

Keep conversations and tools in sync

When not everyone on a team has access to the same information, teams can get misaligned. Maybe some people don’t have licences to a certain tool, or weren’t copied on an email thread. This asymmetry can quickly become a source of confusion and inefficiency.

In Slack, collaboration is transparent. Public channels are open to anyone, and members of private channels are clearly listed, making it easy to keep the right people in the loop. And messages, files and channels can be searched and filtered, so anyone can find and share information quickly.

‘When sales and marketing folks are looking for a piece of content, the first thing they do is look in Slack. We use a quick shortcut in Slack to pull up all the Highspot content we need.’

Julia LancasterContent Strategist, Dow Jones

Share relevant Slack messages with your tools

Share relevant Slack messages with your tools

 

Slack is where your team comes up with ideas, resolves issues, outlines next steps and takes action. Each conversation holds rich context on how a decision was made, creating a digital footprint of how your team brought a project to life.

You can capture all of those important Slack messages within your systems of record, by attaching them to Salesforce opportunities, Zendesk tickets, Asana or HubSpot tasks and more.

That way, whether you’ve been on a project for months or you’re just joining, you’ll have the same view as your colleagues. And you’ll all be able to dig into the archives of a project to gather richer context on a decision, update or task.

Pull up key information from your tools without leaving Slack

Pull up key information from your tools without leaving Slack

 

Finally, one of the most draining aspects of the typical workday is all the context switching: toggling between browser tabs, hopping in and out of meetings and juggling multiple conversations at once.

Thanks to thousands of integrations with popular apps and services, teams can access, share and preserve information with the tools that they rely on most, all within Slack. By connecting the apps that you use every day, Slack can become a single home from which you can access all your critical information. No need to open a full analytics dashboard when you just need a few key stats, or launch your CRM tool when you’re simply looking for a quick summary on a lead. Instead, you can surface that information quickly within Slack.

Here are some ideas of what you can look up and share in a channel: Salesforce or HubSpot objects, Guru or Stack Overflow knowledge base articles, Highspot content and, yes, even the perfect GIF response.

By taking advantage of Slack’s many helpful features, from customisable workflows to powerful integrations with popular apps, you can cut down on those inefficient meetings. And in doing so, you’ll free your teams up to focus on doing their best work.

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