Using Slack is a lot like casting Nicholas Cage in a movie: sometimes it works like a charm, and sometimes you’re caught up in a seemingly unending strange conversation about another person’s journey down an unfamiliar rabbit hole.
For those of you who aren’t familiar Slack, here’s a brief introduction: Slack is a cloud-based team communication tool that allows you to seamlessly send messages, files, and calls back and forth with your team.
One of the most useful Slack features is “channels,” which allows you to create separate chat rooms for separate topics. Channels are instrumental in keeping your Slack experience organized and manageable.
Here at Museum Hack, we’re huge champions of the Slack channel. Today, we’re going to share with you how and why we use some of our favorite, out-of-the-box Slack channels.
The marketing-nitpicking channel is where we champion our company value of “No failure, only feedback.” We are always striving to serve more customers, companies, and museums, and this channel is a great place to reflect on the little improvements that help us reach the next level.
No matter what type of team you lead, a nitpicking channel may be a good fit for you. In every type of business or team-building situation, there are improvements that can be made, and this channel is a great way to take note of those improvements as they happen. For instance, we may call attention to a misspelled word in a blog post, or a broken link on our website. Tracking these tiny changes improves our products and gives our team a way to give feedback in an easy, no-fuss way.
“A house without either a cat or a dog is the house of a scoundrel.” – Portugese proverb
We think that a Slack account without mention of how insanely cute our cats and dogs are is the Slack account of a scoundrel. To that end, our pet-loving employees gather together in #pets-of-museum-hack to share photos, stories, and tips about our four-legged friends.
This channel is also a great way for our employees to get to know each other more. I mean, what brings together a team like a collective “Awwwww” after seeing an especially cute puppy?
Consider starting a pet channel for your company. Not only will such a channel provide some welcome levity in your business, it also will provide an opportunity to learn more about your team and the four-legged creatures they call family.
Creating a channel for random thoughts and opinions allows for your dedicated channels to remain focused and uncluttered. Think of it as your Slack water cooler.
For example, when a Museum Hack team member is unexpectedly stepping out of the office, thinks of an idea for a meeting discussion or just wants to throw a crazy piece of non-work related information to the group, the random channel is a great place to turn.
Creating a random channel not only allows for your team to stay focused in the other channels, it also can point to when new channels need to be created. Are most of your random slacks about a specific subject, like availability? If so, it may be time to create a dedicated channel for that topic.
Participation trophies have become the great stereotype of the millennial generation, but there is a truth hidden in the joke: everyone could use a pat on the back occasionally.
The #you-are-awesome channel allows anyone on the team to applaud a team member for a job well done. Not only is shouting out your team members a great way to show some love to the people who work alongside you, doing so in a public forum is a great way to bring more attention to your peers and make sure that your whole team knows who has been exceeding expectations.
Won’t you be our neighbor?
The #mr-rogers channel is our favorite channel. Early on, we realized that, as a primarily remote team, it can be difficult to get to know one another on a personal level. In order to meet this challenge head-on, we created the #mr-rogers channel.
In the #mr-rogers channel, team members are paired off to have one-on-one conversations and learn more about each other. The duos report back to the channel what they learned about each other. These short meetings are a great ice-breaker, and a genuine way to build community and truly neighborly feelings in our remote workplace.
No matter what format it takes, an ice-breaker or community-driven channel is important for your team. No team can survive unless its members work together, and no team can truly work together unless they know each other. Taking a moment and creating a place for community will benefit both you as a team leader and your team for a long time to come.
What Will You Create?
We have a variety of channels in use, but they all have one primary objective: to advance our mission. Community, clear goals, tasks, and open conversation are all things we value, and that is reflected in the channels we have chosen to create.
So take a moment, evaluate your team, and decide what type of channels would help to further your mission. Feel free to borrow our ideas, or to implement your own. We’d love to know what you come up with!