Breaking silos and building bridges

How to keep everyone across the company in the loop with Slack

An illustration showing a group of trapeze artists working together on a tight rope
Image Credit: Pete Ryan

In the past, and maybe in many workplaces still, how information was shared in a company or organization signaled who had the power. Management dispensed knowledge to employees on a “need to know” basis or to only a select few. But it’s becoming clearer that transparent communication leads to greater benefits than information-hoarding does.

Employees often report higher job satisfaction when they know the long-term goals of the business. When you open up brainstorms to all, new perspectives on how to tackle complex problems can come from any expert within the company. Workers will put greater trust in higher-ups when clear, honest communication is the norm.

Let’s look at some ways that working in Slack channels helps teams stay better informed and more tightly aligned around their shared goals.

Aim for transparent, public, and open communication

When you create a channel in Slack — to launch a new project with a cross-functional group of people, for example — you’re asked to declare the channel either public (just to others in the company, not public to the world) or private (to only select invited members).

While the “safe” option can seem like defaulting to private, setting channels to public means that all the discussions, data, and decisions around that work are easily accessible. And it allows for other employees to join in and contribute to work equally.

create a channel

Documents and files shared in public channels are also indexed to appear in Slack’s search, so anyone in your organization can find mock-ups and drafts that have been shared, no matter to what channel or when they were uploaded.

Let’s say you’re searching your Slack workspace for a sales contract with the Acme Corporation that was completed two months ago. When work is done in public channels, a search for “Acme Corporation contract” will likely pull up a PDF of the contract. You’ll also be able to see which channel it was posted to, the context of the conversations around it, and who participated in the discussion — no matter what team you’re part of in your company.

For sensitive HR matters, like hiring, or business-critical information, like finances, it’s quite alright to limit those discussions to private channels with a select few relevant parties.

All your apps in one place

Slack is often one of many kinds of software that teams within a company use to get their work done, which is why the Slack App Directory features more than 1,500 apps and services commonly used in all types of functions.

Connecting these apps to channels in your Slack workspace means that teams can do things like track all company mentions from Twitter, follow recent changes to the codebase, get helpful updates from Google Calendar, and see new tasks from project management apps like Asana, all without breaking from the flow of their work.

Moving output from apps and services into Slack channels that you use every day also means you’ll greatly reduce time spent jumping between browser tabs and other apps or having to navigate multiple login screens. But more important, it gives the whole team — leaders and senior management included — visibility into what’s happening and a clear view of where things can be improved.

Strengthen partnerships between organizations

When other companies you work with are also using Slack, you can start shared channels to consolidate all your efforts in one place. Channels shared with an outside agency or firm will live in both your workspace as well as theirs, allowing people to join and leave as needed during the life cycle of a project. And a bonus: the contents of that channel are then searchable forever.

Slack is the communication hub at the heart of work for many teams, but its success is up to each individual member and their willingness to pitch in and sort things out, openly and respectfully.

Learn how millions of people are using Slack as their collaboration hub for teamwork at our Frontiers conference in San Francisco. Tickets are on sale now.

Slack is the collaboration hub, where the right people are always in the loop and key information is always at their fingertips. Teamwork in Slack happens in channels — searchable conversations that keep work organized and teams better connected.