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Are you slacking at work? You should be…

11th September 2015

Corporate social networks are nothing new, but it’s fair to say that for a while they’ve been sort of stuttering along in terms of employee adoption and ultimately, success. A fact shown by the abundance of articles out there, based around the theme of: ‘How to increase adoption of your enterprise social network’…
 
Yammer is the ‘Internal social network’ that the above arguably relates to the most. It’s the one that was making the most noise, but now you don’t really hear that much about it. It wouldn’t be a great surprise to see the Yammer brand disappear soon, with the features simply integrated within Microsoft 365. Probably Microsoft’s plan from the very start. Anyway, that’s not what we’re here to talk about in this post…
 
In this post we’re talking about the internal social network that seems to be hot on everyone’s lips at the moment, and is growing at an astonishing rate. Slack.
 
Given the current fanfare, there’s a good chance you’re now using Slack in your teams, and so you’ll be clear as to what it’s all about. Those of you not using it, firstly why not!? And secondly, here’s a link to their
site to sign up. Sign up you must, as it really is changing the face of internal social networks, with a number of key benefits, which we’ll run through now…
 
 

Benefits of Slack for Internal Communications

 
There are loads of benefits to Slack, so this really is a top-line overview. The more you use Slack and the deeper you dig, the more benefits you’ll discover…
 
 
1. It’s ridiculously simple for organisations, or teams within organisations, to set up and quickly begin using Slack – largely due to the clever bots they use that make initial guidance easy, straightforward and quick.
 
 
2. Everything is in one place. Slack has been described as being the

‘digital spine for a business’

(Financial Times).
 
The above description is true, because Slack integrates with a ton of other popular applications that you’ll already be using – Dropbox, Trello, google drive and Hangouts, to name but a few. Meaning everything you need to know can be done so through one streamlined channel.
 
What makes Slack even better at being the central source, is it’s search ability. It’s so very easy to find the content or conversations that you’re after.
 
 
3. Dramatically reduces the use of email. Don’t get us wrong, email is important and has its place, but everyone should be trying to use it less. Slack lets you very quickly get the answers you’re looking for from people, either through private (one-to-one) or team (channel) messaging. And when collaborating with a number of others on Slack it’s much easier to view the conversions, whereas when using email you can easily get lost in endless email chains.
 
 
4. It’s weird to say, but Slack gives you a sort of immediate intimacy with others that you didn’t get from previous internal social networks, or even from initial face-to-face communications. Why? Well, it’s because the experience feels like the way you chat with friends on other apps, and this rubs off on the way you end up behaving and messaging on Slack. Therefore Slack can be seen to also help improve the office culture and the bonds between people. No doubt the fun nature of Slack certainly helps with the aforementioned, especially as their strong play on this element is what makes it feel less like a tool for business.
 
The fun and consumer-like feel Slack has created is what has made it so popular with start-ups and smaller businesses.
 
 
5. Similar to the above is how Slack approaches communication and collaboration. Where other social networks felt very private, and users could only interact with specific users in very tight groups. Slack takes the stand of being ‘open by default’. It’s a refreshing approach. Clearly, privacy is a key concern with any business communications – something we’re all too familiar with given the large number of security awareness campaigns we’ve been involved in creating for our clients. But Slack is a communication and collaboration tool, and the value of these tools lie in encouraging people to ask questions in front of everyone, and to be able to find relevant content and co-workers easily – something that ‘open by default’ permits.
 
 
6. Slack bots. We won’t go into too much detail about Slack Bots here, other than saying how useful they are – acting as personal digital assistants. There are slack bots that can track how happy everyone is, slack bots that can notify you of relevant news, and Slack Bots that’ll pop up with a message to someone based on what they’ve typed. Slack’s making great strides in AI and digital assistants, and it’s a feature that’s going to get cleverer and stronger the more it interacts with the information that it’s being fed. It’s a very interesting space to keep an eye on.
 
 
To conclude, Wired best described Slack in 8 words:

‘It’s focused on productivity and efficiency—and fun.

How long will the fun last with the latest social media network? Well, that’s anyone’s guess. But there’s definitely something different about this one. And so we think the fun, and not to forgot the obvious benefits, will continue to be had for some time longer yet.
 
Until next time…
 
Rima
 
 

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