✅ Ever taken a survey?
✅ Ever been online?
✅ Ever completed an online survey?
If you answered yes to two or more of these questions, you’ve basically already met the team behind SurveyMonkey. As they’ve grown their team to more than 650 employees across multiple locations handling over 25 million customers, keeping everyone in the loop hasn’t been easy. The amount of internal email had grown unmanageable, while training and onboarding 10 new people each week put a strain on already busy employees. Plus senior executives needed a better system for keeping in touch with the team that now spanned four offices in North America, one in Australia and two in Europe. They started using Slack last year to improve their communications across teams and across the globe.
“Slack was the first way to unify communications across the company outside of email.”
Slack began in the engineering group at SurveyMonkey and then spread throughout the company, first as a replacement for instant messaging as well as a useful employee directory. Brent Chudoba, the company’s Chief Revenue Officer, describes the use of Slack as a drive towards radical transparency while focusing on speeding up internal communication: “I definitely believe there’s been a productivity jump. We started to increase our usage of Slack at the same time that our company grew from 350 employees to about 550 employees. Any company between 300 and 800 employees is likely struggling because they don’t yet have all the infrastructure needed to support that team because they didn’t need it at 250. As the saying goes, ‘it’s like building a plane while flying it’, and Slack has helped us bridge the communications gap because we can get messages out very, very fast.”
There’s been a reduction in internal email at SurveyMonkey and while there aren’t fewer meetings, Brent says meetings are actually more effective because there’s no need to repeat team updates that have already been shared in Slack channels. Their IT team describes a time when the company operated nearly 200 email distribution lists that have since been replaced with Slack. As the use of Slack has increased for the company both across channels and for direct messaging, SurveyMonkey has even taken steps to eliminate desk phones as they’re growing increasingly unnecessary.
“It’s such a seamless integration into our workflow. For me, that’s the best part. It’s a really natural thing for us to be using.”
Some of the popular channels at SurveyMonkey include #honourable-mentions, where anyone in the company can give thanks to others when they get help or want to thank someone going the extra mile to help out other people in the office. There’s also a #tripnotes channel where travelling employees write up their experiences from off-site visits, summarising in-depth customer interviews that get shared with over 100 employees.
“Slack lends itself to a lot of natural team and culture building.”
For a company built on gathering feedback, management has found similar benefits from Slack when drafting corporate policy. During a recent spate of light-rail construction that led to area-wide delays, employees were struggling to make it to and from the office on time and banded together in Slack channels to organise car pooling and ride sharing in real time. Management took notice of this and used the feedback from those events to create a new reimbursement policy for ride-sharing trips on days when such delays occurred.
Slack has helped SurveyMonkey employees stay in touch with one another across continents and time zones, letting Ralph Freshour in IT talk to colleagues in Dublin in Ireland and Portland in the United States, while also letting Karen Callahan train employees in Canada, Australia and beyond. With Slack, the company is more efficient and transparent, as hundreds of SurveyMonkey employees in a variety of roles help run the world’s leading provider of online surveys.