Whether you have $5 or $5 million, wealth development platform Sharesies wants to empower more people to become investors. No minimum buy-in, no jargon, all done online. And it’s working: Since 2017, over 550,000 people have collectively invested $A1.8 billion through the app.
From day one, Sharesies chose channel-based messaging platform Slack to streamline its people and processes across New Zealand, Australia and emerging markets. “The main benefit we got from using Slack early was that we could all communicate and keep each other in the loop from anywhere,” says Brooke Roberts, one of the three co-CEOs at Sharesies. She shares her leadership role with Leighton Roberts and Sonya Williams.
Over the past five years, the team has scaled from its six founders to over 200 employees. Along the way, leadership has leveraged Slack to set the tone and own the narrative, ensuring that all employees feel heard and valued and decisions are clear. Flattening hierarchy and keeping things fun in the face of challenges has been key. “Everybody’s voice matters and everybody’s perspective is important,” says Roberts. “That comes to life in Slack too.”
“When anyone wants insight or advice, they can raise their hand and give feedback in Slack. It’s a great way for everyone to see what’s happening and keep up transparency at Sharesies.”
Slack channels break down silos and facilitate communication
When communication is scattered across emails, chats and calls, it’s challenging for teammates to get the context they need to collaborate. “With Slack channels, you get more context: You see which people are involved, their points of view and their recommendations,” says Roberts. “It feels less burdensome than email.”
Working together in one place helps Sharesies leadership build a meaningful experience from an employee’s first day, inspiring top talent to grow and contribute to the wider business as the company scales.
With a distributed and diverse workforce, the culture that knits an organisation together matters more than ever. “Communicating with our team is the most important thing,” says Liumaihetau Darling. “Slack is so important to keep everyone dialled in and give employees a clear way to communicate with us.”
At Sharesies, Slack channels bring order and clarity to work, and are integral to most projects, topics and teams. For example:
#team-channels for internal teams to discuss team-specific work
#temporary-channels to respond to certain market environments, incidents or project updates
#announcements to share any information the team might need to be successful
#pxteam where people can come to for PX-specific advice or support
#newbies, where new hires are welcomed and introduced to relevant Sharesies channels before their official first day, and for the first quarter while they’re being onboarded into Sharesies
#people-leaders to keep Sharesies leaders informed on new initiatives, support needs, and teamwide comms
“Slack is really important for me and my team, especially when we’ve got new people, or when new legislation or policies come about,” says Liumaihetau Darling. “I can just jump into the relevant channel and give everyone an update.”
“Because of Slack, I can work with my colleagues to collaborate and communicate immediately, and we don’t have more meetings all the time. It’s been fantastic for us to work remotely on the same piece of work.”
Starting on a positive note and evolving with employees in Slack
Sharesies’s people experience team uses Slack to communicate directly with employees about what’s working, what’s not, and how they can shape the best possible experience during their time with the company.
“We talk about onboarding investors, but onboarding employees is key for us too,” says Liumaihetau Darling. “Once they’re here, we want to make sure they want to stay.”
The people experience team uses a Slack integration called Polly to get a weekly “vibe check” on the organisation. “It also gives employees an opportunity to ask questions, which get passed on to our three executive officers and can be answered at team meetings,” says Liumaihetau Darling.
By asking questions where people like to answer them, structured bottom-up feedback given in Slack can help managers discover:
- Evolving needs around direct access to leadership, and open one-to-one communication
- Issues around privacy when dealing with sensitive topics, and the benefits of anonymous questions
- Where to address different questions coming in, whether that be in-channel, through announcements or in team meetings
“As an employee, it’s important to know what’s happening in your organisation,” says Liumaihetau Darling. Even if they can’t be in every team meeting, everyone knows where to find crucial intel. “That reference point in Slack gives everyone a good overview of what’s going on, and is especially important as we grow.”
Using Slack to eliminate barriers for faster incident resolution
At Sharesies, design and development is weaved throughout product feature launches and filters down into people’s experience. To keep everyone’s shoulders lighter, the workload is spread across different team members. With key parts to play, everyone is empowered to lead and take ownership of their roles.
This pragmatic approach to teamwork and ownership is also true for discovering, resolving and getting to the bottom of technical incidents. “Pretty much anyone in the organisation is empowered to raise their hand, find an incident manager and fire up a new Slack channel,” says chief technology officer Richard Clark.
Information flows into Slack from those who might observe the incident, like the infrastructure monitoring team, or the investor care team, which filters information directly from customers. Sharesies’s incident managers monitor the incident in detail, create summaries and push information out to other channels where the right people can jump in at the right time.
The faster they can get everybody into the right channel, the sooner they can find solutions. “With Slack, you get this incredible brainstorming effect. Once we’ve got a path through to resolution, we might try a few things,” Clark says. “Sometimes it works. Sometimes it doesn’t. No idea is missed, we have a record of everything we’ve tried, and it always gets sorted.”
Post-resolution, the channel serves as a complete historical record that’s searchable and retrievable by anyone in the company for future reference. Non-technical leadership can also stay in the loop, zeroing in on the details that matter to them.
“Slack has made my day-to-day life easier because I can get insight into what’s happening really quickly, make decisions and be there for the team. Slack enables us to work at a faster pace and stay informed.”
Collaborate confidently with external partners in Slack Connect
True collaboration means building trust and rapport while simplifying communication across organisations. For a platform that integrates with APIs such as Sharesight, a secure communications environment like Slack Connect allows Sharesies to work with unprecedented speed alongside industry partners and external vendors.
“Working with external vendors in Slack Connect is an absolute game changer because you can bring them into their own secure channel,” Clark says. “It’s really clear who’s from outside your organisation. You know your audience in case you’ve got confidential information that you can’t share, but you’re still able to interact with them, just like you can with any other member of the internal organisation.”
Whether they’re onboarding new hires or collaborating on projects across time zones or with outside vendors, Sharesies employees take ownership of their experience in Slack. Fostering this flexibility, inclusivity and connection propels the business forward in a work-from-anywhere world.
“Communication can be so fragmented, with so many different ways to touch base with people,” says Liumaihetau Darling. “Using Slack means you can be more productive, worry less about who said what, where, when and how—and be more connected.”