If your company has an internal communication tool, I’m sure you know that some days you love it and some days you wish you could mute it all. There’s usually one person who posts too much (don’t @ me, Avenue team) and sometimes it feels like there’s too much buzz to keep up with all of the announcements and to-dos. So how do you make the most out of your company’s Slack channel? Here’s what we’re doing at Avenue.
The Huddle feature, introduced last year, allows users to connect informally without video, while still accessing screen sharing. It’s for those moments that your team, for lack of a better term, needs to “huddle up” on something. Huddles can be launched via a channel – inviting all members to join – or in direct messages.
Being fully remote at Avenue, we use the Huddle feature for the moments that, in a traditional work setting, we would have swiveled our chairs around to consult each other. If you need an impromptu or quick connect, Huddles are your friend!
Need a quick headcount or response from your team? A great option to avoid unnecessary channel or thread traffic is to request an emoji poll! You can use this method for straight-forward or opinion questions, which means you can also set a quick deadline. Here’s an example of one I did, before ordering lunch delivery gift cards for my team:
You can get as creative as you want with the emojis and voting options. Easy go-to emoji poll options would be voting based on color (🔴🟡🔵🟣) or number (1️⃣2️⃣3️⃣) emojis. This is a great way to reduce messages throughout the day and take a casual snapshot of your team’s preferences/needs.
A side note on emojis: You can them fun and get creative to motivate your team to “react” and share some personality in your channels! Our team member, Megan, added custom emojis to personalize our Slack here at Avenue! We have logos for Avenue, our partners and resources, as well as emojis for team members and our favorite furry co-workers. There are many ways to add some flair to your internal communication!
Saving vs. Pinning Posts
Saving posts is best used for individual use. Each user has a “Saved items” repository in their Slack menu, housing all saved items chronologically (most recently saved first). Other users are not able to see an individual’s list of saved posts.
Pinning posts is best used in a Channel or DM where multiple users may need to access the information in the future. Pinned posts live within each channel or direct message and are visible for all members of that channel or message. Consider pinning FAQs, SOPs, company branding guides or long-term information that will need to be accessed year-round by users.
Recently, Slack added the ability for users to bookmark links and organize bookmarks and pinned posts into folders. This provides users and channel managers the ability to save frequently accessed sites to a channel/direct message without having to create a new post. Gone are days of the unruly list of pinned items. We can all thank Slack’s newest rollout for this!
To keep things organized here at Avenue we use these features to save important company standards, organize frequently accessed resources and to build ourselves personal “to-do” lists. There are lots of creative ways to put these processes to work!
“Remind Me” Feature
Slack users can set a reminder for any post or direct message. It’s not uncommon for users to leverage their email inboxes as a makeshift to-do list. As organizations shift internal communication into Slack and away from email threads, the “remind me” feature is an easy way to continue task managing.
We use this feature in various ways. Most commonly if we see a message come through and are not in a position to respond or handle the task at that time, we will set Slack to remind us once our current engagement finishes. Alternatively, say I’ve set an emoji poll and asked for responses by EOD that evening, I’ll set a reminder for “tomorrow morning,” which means Slackbot will send me a reminder at 9am the following day.
We love this as an immediate way to put a task or message on the back-burner, ensuring it doesn’t fall off of our radar.
Have you ever noticed that your own name shows up in the DIrect Messages list? The ability to DM yourself is one thing we’ve really come to appreciate about Slack. We can use this channel in combination with any of the above features. Users can send themselves a quick note about tasks they need to complete. For example, you could DM yourself, “check project hours,” and then set a reminder on that message for 20 minutes from then, knowing you’ll have finished your current task and will be ready to step into a new workflow.
In this day and age, we’re also bouncing between our phones and computers often. The ability to Slack yourself is a quick way to bridge that gap. Say you see a great blog post while scrolling on your phone in the evening, you can DM it to yourself via Slack’s mobile app and the link will be there for you in the morning when you login.
Lastly, have a place where your organization can share Slack tips like these! Avenue has a channel named #slack-tips where team members can post questions, best practices or updates about new channels and their purpose. We post updates in the channel for best practices or when Slack rolls out new features. Lately, we have had a series of internal tips to help our team continue to leverage Slack for our company’s success.
If used properly, Slack can be a great way for your company to stay connected, manage personal tasks and share frequently accessed files and information. By implementing the best practices above and staying up to date with Slack’s features you can make this program work for you and your team’s success!
Please note that Avenue has no affiliation with any products, services, or websites referenced in this blog post. Avenue is a digital marketing agency in Portland using business as a force for good. Our proprietary suite of paid advertising, search engine optimization (SEO) and social media services help brands and businesses of all sizes grow sustainably and successfully. For more information, we invite you to visit our services page.