If you’re lucky enough to have been in the same office for many years, you likely know where to go if you have questions. Need to onboard a new contractor? Grab his paperwork from Jess in finance. Spot a bug on the mobile website? That’s Cliff’s area of expertise.
For those without years of institutional knowledge, however, tracking down answers to even common questions is like taking a wild goose chase through rows of cubicles. It’s more than frustrating—it genuinely slows down work and makes everyone you tap on the shoulder or email along the way less productive.
Instead of pushing for information when you need it most, try using Slack, where you can easily pull answers to your questions. Slack makes institutional knowledge available with a quick search or query to a channel, and that transparency improves collegiality when individuals are connected and encouraged to share information.
When work is more transparent, that saves time and improves productivity. And that’s good for everyone, no matter the job role, seniority level, or tenure.
Organize conversations by channels, not your org chart
In some organizations, there is a strict hierarchy when it comes to getting information about various clients, projects, and tasks. Slack replaces that outmoded chain of command so colleagues at every level and in every job role are empowered to collaborate, share, and learn from one another.
Slack channels can be organized by almost any criteria: team, project, or client, to name a few. Channels help focus conversations, and clear naming conventions across your organization’s channels make it easy for everyone to find exactly what they need.
Connecting with colleagues through Slack also isn’t limited to your team or home office. Work in Seattle but have a question for someone on a Denver-based team? Pop into #denver-office and wait for your Mile High City coworkers to chime in.
All your institutional knowledge in one place
Slack makes it easy to search for the answers you need. Every conversation in a public channel is archived. Simply search by keyword or topic, and you’ll discover a wide array of resources, including relevant conversations, files, and subject-matter experts.
Maybe you know the feeling of joining an in-progress project and wondering about why certain decisions were made. How was a particular feature made? Why did the software engineers choose one programming language over another?
Conversations stored in Slack can help you gain insight into why a decision was made and who helped make it.
Conversations stored in Slack can help you gain insight into why a decision was made and who helped make it. It’s just one more way channels give every member of an organization access to legacy information. In Slack, you can also look up past vendors, old contracts, previous iterations of a design—pretty much anything you’d want transparently available to all, you can search and find on your own.
Speed up your new-hire onboarding
Anyone who has started a new job knows how it feels to show up the first week and not know how to find the coffeemaker, let alone the tax forms. But if your organization uses Slack, that’s where new hires can track down every last detail they need.
For instance, dedicated channels like #help-IT or #help-benefits exist for the sole purpose of—you guessed it—helping employees understand their health insurance or learn who to ask for help with a technical problem.
It shouldn’t take weeks for new hires to get up to speed on company benefits and policies. With Slack, new employees can confidently seek out the resources they want and get up to speed quicker.
Out of office doesn’t mean out of options
Just because a colleague is enjoying a well-deserved vacation doesn’t mean you can’t easily find someone else to help.
Slack allows individuals to set a status with instructions for coworkers on where to go for help. So, for example, if an accounts payable manager is on leave, her away message might suggest, “For help with invoices, contact #billing.” You can follow up in the applicable channel on your own, and the accounting manager can enjoy her time off without interruptions. Plus, with all previous project conversations stored in the channel, teammates can easily catch up on progress when they return to work.
Whether you’re a new hire or an old pro in your organization, locating answers to your questions should be a seamless, straightforward process unencumbered by bureaucracy. Slack makes it simple to find the person whose help you need. Better yet, with Slack, it’s easy to look up archived information to help yourself.