Delegates at Slack's annual conference last year interacting with the company's staff. Source: LinkedIn/Slack

Delegates at Slack’s annual conference last year interacting with the company’s staff. Source: LinkedIn/Slack

Interview: How Slack’s 2,000+ employees use the instant messaging app

INSTANT messaging apps are becoming increasingly important in the workplace. Slack is among the better-known apps in this space — and the company says its 2,000+ employees are power users.

To understand how Slack sees its product and how its own experiences shape possible improvements, Tech Wire Asia interviewed the company’s Head of Growth Arturo Arrarte.

“We are power users ourselves and use Slack to coordinate and align teams from across our ten offices globally, and with our partners and vendors.”

The most important feature that employees rely on is ‘channels’, which are like ‘groups’ on other apps.

“[…] We have channels for a myriad of activities such as projects, teams, planning, office locations or business units.

“The ones our company’s leadership takes very seriously are our feedback channels. We have dedicated channels called #slack-culture and #slack-ama, where employees are encouraged to ask our execs anything. These channels provide a space for employees to share opinions and feedback.”

Arrarte also emphasizes that company staff also use channels to socialize, build culture, and develop a sense of camaraderie and cohesion across geographic locations.

Communicating aside, an important area where the company believes its instant messaging app really shines is during the new employee onboarding process.

“We all know that the first few weeks of a new job are all about learning the ins and outs. A good onboarding program teaches new employees where to find answers to these questions […],” said Arrarte, who pointed out that new employees learn much of what they need to know by browsing through chat history on the instant messaging app’s channels or groups.

In the case of sales teams, channels or groups help foster enterprise-wide collaboration, accelerating client acquisition & renewals and boosting revenues.

“In sales, […] we create a new channel for each account. If someone elsewhere in the company gets lead info to share for a specific client or prospect, they can quickly and easily get info to the people with eyes on the account.”

Given the strong internal user base, it, of course, makes sense for the company to tap its staff to ideate about new features and capabilities and use them to trial new creations.

“As the leader in a whole new category, many of our product improvements and successes come from trial and error, as well as feedback from our customers and employees alike.

“Employees get the first run of Slack’s features through the internal Slack, before the features go live. This means they get to ensure first-hand that they are satisfied with the product internally, before it’s available for beta testing.”

Ultimately, the reality is that there’s a lot that modern-day enterprises can gain from an efficient instant messaging app, especially when supporting internal staff.

In order to thrive in the digital-first ecosystem, especially with organizations offering new and exciting mobility options to staff, leveraging a good internal messaging app can make all the difference between seamless collaboration and unfortunate miscommunication.

The market today offers plenty of choices. Businesses need to evaluate their needs and pick the most suitable option quickly.