PolicyPal’s teams deliver their best work with a Slack-first culture

Slack is our team’s digital hub. We pull all our ideas together and successfully collaborate cross-functionally in Slack channels.

Claire TohHead of Growth, PolicyPal

Easy, intuitive and fun aren’t words you often associate with insurance. But Singapore’s AMTD’s PolicyPal is changing all that. Recognising that financial literacy can be daunting, PolicyPal uses quizzes, gamification and in-app credit incentives to help customers find the right coverage. Since 2016, more than 100,000 users have done just that and use PolicyPal’s complementary app to keep track of everything.

Internally, PolicyPal has relied on Slack from day one, forgoing email completely. Based mainly in Singapore, the team uses the secure channel-based messaging platform not just as a key communication tool, but to build a unique company culture and drive alignment from anywhere. 

Slack channels, virtual spaces to share messages, workplace automations, digital tools and files, are especially integral to the success of PolicyPal as it evolves its business, acquires new companies and works with outside partners. As PolicyPal’s head of growth, Claire Toh handles projects across many different lines of business. “Slack is our team’s digital hub,” she says. “We pull all our ideas together and successfully collaborate cross-functionally in Slack channels.”

CTO KC Wong leads technology implementation for both PolicyPal and the company’s first acquisition, ValueChampion. When Wong joined, he left a company that had just caught on to the value of Slack. “We were using WhatsApp and WeChat for work, and it didn’t turn out well,” he says. “It was for personal communication, but we needed something for direct and group messages, sending and sharing files.” 

When he joined PolicyPal, he was amazed to find they were on Slack. “The way people work is evolving,” he says. “Now smaller and leaner teams rely on teamwork. Time is money, and we need to execute as fast as possible—and Slack is an easy and convenient way to do just that.”

“Slack is our team’s digital hub. We pull all our ideas together and successfully collaborate cross-functionally in Slack channels.”

Claire TohHead of Growth, PolicyPal

Slack empowers PolicyPal to acquire its first company in one month

In 2020, PolicyPal joined AMTD Digital, the digital finance arm of one of Asia’s leading investment banking firms, AMTD Group. Shortly thereafter, it acquired its own company, ValueChampion, with the help of Slack Connect, effectively replacing email and extending channel-based messaging to increase visibility and alignment for everyone. 

This was essential since ValueChampion is based in the United States. “Even though we were in completely different time zones, we managed it all with daily catch-ups in Slack,” says Toh.

From legal to operations, teams from PolicyPal and ValueChampion worked together in Slack to help both sides find success. “We also had Val [Yap], our CEO, and other high-level stakeholders come together with their priorities,” Toh says. “There were so many moving pieces, but by facilitating everything in Slack, we completed the entire acquisition in less than one month.” 

Today, ValueChampion shares ongoing needs and feedback in the #valuechampion Slack channel. “They’ll tag us, and we’ll jump in to address exactly what they need, whether it’s handing over documents or hopping on a call.”

The experience brought to light the true value of Slack. “Using Slack for our acquisition made me realise how much faster Slack was than email,” Toh says. “Between different time zones and stakeholders, both internally and externally, high-quality communication makes things more efficient over a very short period of time.”

There were so many moving pieces, but by facilitating everything in Slack, we completed the entire acquisition in less than one month.”

Claire TohHead of Growth, PolicyPal

Building a hybrid, silo-free culture that’s inclusive and relevant

At PolicyPal, teams at all levels break down silos by sharing announcements and facilitating work in Slack channels. “Our team is lean and small, but we have a big range of products, so it gets confusing,” Toh says. “To coordinate each launch, we have different Slack channels for communication between relevant stakeholders.”

Toh manages PolicyPal’s HubSpot marketing campaigns in the #leads-alert Slack channel. “Every time there’s a conversion or lead, it’s fed into the Slack channel so that the ops team is aware and can quickly help, prioritise and follow up with the right customers.”

Onboarding is also orchestrated in Slack channels, and employees can use the search function to get up to speed. “With the hybrid work-from-home reality, it’s hard for everyone to meet in one go. With Slack, we can help everyone settle in, not just to our workflows but our team dynamic,” Toh says. “We add new hires to relevant channels so they can catch up on previous messages and get historical context, as well as a warm welcome.” 

If anyone ever has a question, Wong adds, “Slack is our company encyclopedia: It has all the answers.” When they find the best solution, they pin it to relevant channels. “This way, if the situation happens again, we say, ‘Check the pin.’”

With a current cap of 50% capacity at the office, teams have turned to Slack Huddles to re-create the unplanned, informal discussions they might normally have in person. “Sometimes you just need a quick call to talk,” says Toh. “In light of our new flexible workplace, Slack Huddles really empower us and make it feel like we’re together in person.” 

Wong says it’s a bit different on the tech team, where employees opt for more focus time and fewer meetings. “When you’re coding, you probably have on your Do Not Disturb,” Wong says. “You can leave a message, and they’ll read it when they’re ready. Everyone keeps up at their own pace.” 

Making informed decisions in real time with Slack integrations

To save teams time they’d otherwise spend switching between apps, PolicyPal turns to Slack’s App Directory. For example, the Databox app provides real-time data so Toh and her team can make smart decisions even as a campaign is in flight. 

“According to the key metrics we selected, Databox provides all our business goals and focuses on what matters for any given quarter,” Toh says. They set automatic reminders for certain times and dates that are pushed into the #weekly-updates channel. “Everyone has so much information to think about, on so many platforms. Now it’s all in one central place: Slack. It provides a real-time matrix and helps us make very quick adjustments.”

They also look at week-on-week growth percentage and can see where they should reallocate efforts, whether it’s Facebook, Twitter or Google. “This really helps us focus and put more money into the right channels versus just trying to allocate evenly across channels.” This allows them to optimise in real time. “The data is posted in a private channel so the team can easily see what’s working and what’s not,” Wong says.

For those trying Slack for the first time, Toh suggests to “just start typing. You’ll intuitively learn about new features and how to integrate tools and APIs.” She recommends starting with Slack channels. “It’s a lot easier to glean relevant information from channels and then take action from there. Slack has everything you need to facilitate anything.”