Managing teams of people can be a daunting task, especially in today’s overly-connected world. The good news is that there are countless tools at HR’s disposal that can seriously help teams communicate, become more productive, and foster a great culture all from their desktops, phones, or tablets.
We’re talking about Slack.
Slack is a communication tool that allows teams to message each other in real-time across their devices, share files, remember important tasks, and numerous other things. However, one of the biggest benefits is that it helps connect people and teams in a way that wasn’t possible a few years ago.
So how can HR professionals use Slack to manage their teams? What cool features can you dig into?
Let’s dive right in.
Note: Careerminds is not a partner with Slack! This is not a commercial.
First, How Does Slack Work and What Are Channels?
If you are new to Slack, you need to first understand the very basics of the platform before you can harness all of its functionality.
At its core, Slack is a messaging app. You could compare it to an old-school chat room where users are added and there are designated channels for various topics. The users can then chat within these public channels (public as in the rest of the team can see them - not public as in the actual public can see them) and also message each other privately.
Typical public channels can be something like #General where team members can chat about, you probably guessed it, general work things. Teams typically also have a channel for random, off-topic conversation, too. Maybe something like #Watercooler or #Random or really whatever you want it to be!
This channel is where people can post pics of the great dinner they had last night or the cool book they’re reading.
Team’s typically also have public channels for departments, too. For example, you can have a sales channel where the sales team can speak openly and the overall organization can ask sales questions. The same can be said for marketing, IT, and others. You can even have customized channels that connect with Drift, Hubspot, news sites, and many others. All of these channels can be made public or private depending on your needs.
A core takeaway here is that Slack offers a way for people to chat and ask questions that might normally have fallen to email. Instead of cluttering up an inbox, losing track of things, and generally being distracted, Slack offers a quick, easy way to communicate. Plus, it allows you to answer questions more quickly without jumping on a phone call, which can save a ton of time.
Unlocking the Power of Slack for Teams
While on the surface, Slack is pretty straightforward, and you can use it just for it’s messaging abilities alone, the real power of Slack is that it helps you not only connect with workers you may never speak to, it can help you stay organized by providing you a direct link to Google Docs and other databases, which you can search through using the app.
You can also easily search through messages to find dates, times, and other small details that you may have accidentally forgotten about.
Slack also provides a note area where you can leave reminders or info for yourself, allowing you to easily access notes on the go without digging through your phone for a bunch of different apps.
One of the best features is the ability to easily share files to coworkers. Someone needs a report right this second? Drag it and drop it in. It’s that simple.
These functions help teams perform better and connect more, which is great for HR in general, but what can Slack actually do for HR teams specifically?
Help New Hires Onboard More Easily
By creating a channel specifically for new hires, you can help onboard new team members by having a dedicated place for them to ask questions, share files, and much more.
“Create a #new-hires channel with all the information new employees need. This creates a safe place for new hires to ask questions, explore, and get up to speed. Pin messages and files that detail your company mission and policies. Invite company leaders and other helpful contacts to join and welcome employees,” the folks over at Slack report.
“Try creating a unique channel for each new cohort of employees (e.g. #newhires-oct16). Here you can set reminders for new hires to submit documents and register for benefits. Keep these channels private to provide a sense of community for each group.”
You can also create an easily searchable database that new hires can use to find the documents that they need. For example, you can have a help sections where people can search phrases like ‘help-benefits’ and other terms.
While this is great for new hires, it’s also a nice way of letting existing workers keep up to date on policy changes.
This brings us to out our next point: transparency.
Using Slack to Maintain Transparency in HR
HR needs to be transparent to foster a great connection with the teams it manages. This means that the company’s policies need to be easily accessible by employees. It doesn’t make sense to hide policies somewhere where no one can find them. After all, what’s the point of making them available if no one can ever get to them?
Slack can make this easier by, again, using the search feature. You can also make a channel that is a direct line to HR, allowing people to ask questions in a public way, which can help other people better understand policy updates and stay current with what’s going on with the human resources team in general.
This helps because if one person has a question, it typically means that a lot of people do, but are too afraid to ask or merely to busy. By having a public area where questions can come in and answers given, you can become more transparent across the board.
Everyone loves recognition for their hard work. However, it can be challenging with a large team. Slack makes it easy to give kudos to employees in a public way.
You can also use Slack Apps, which connect within the overall Slack platform, to make giving credit more fun for team members.
In the same vein, you can also have a bunch of fun, culture-related channels where employees are encouraged to chat together. Communication between employees is a great way to foster better relationships and - at the end of the day - a more productive workforce.
“Create a #culture channel for discussing your company’s culture over time. This serves as a safe space to discuss team values, ask questions, and share ideas to improve morale. You can also try a third-party app like Leo to routinely measure employee satisfaction, rather than collecting feedback a couple times a year,” Slack writes on their blog.
“Encourage employees to create and join affinity channels to connect with coworkers outside their immediate team. These groups should be open to everyone — #foodies, #surfing, #music, you name it!”
Slack for HR: The Final Say
When it comes to using any tech platform, it’s best to customize the experience to your company’s culture, adhering to the values that people expect from your organization.
With Slack, communication can become streamlined, allowing HR to reward employees, increase transparency, make the onboarding process easier to manage, and foster a better, more connected culture.
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