Onboard your company to Slack

Whether you're introducing 500 people or 500,000 people to Slack, we understand that onboarding large groups to a new or unfamiliar tool can be a difficult task. This guide is designed to help you introduce Slack to your company in a meaningful way.

Here are some of the things we'll cover in this guide:

  • Assemble a group of people to help you define how your company uses Slack.
  • Explore how Slack can help make your organization more productive.
  • Set up Slack to fit your needs, establish channel naming guidelines, and develop a plan to help guide people on your team.
  • Create a communications and training plan to help launch Slack to the entire company.

Let's get started! 


Step 1 — Coordinate a launch team

Assembling the right team of people is the first step to a successful launch. Here are some examples of what your group might look like:

Internal team
These are some key roles people within your organization can help you fill:

Internal Team Responsibilities
Project Manager The main point of contact, responsible for coordinating launch activities.
Executive Sponsor Your Slack champion amongst the Leadership Team who will actively communicate the purpose and value of Slack
Business Owners They'll reinforce the importance of Slack with their individual teams, identify key use cases which can be modified over time.
Admins They'll manage setting up the Slack team from the onset and help with ongoing user management. 
Change Team They'll educate your team's users by developing a training plan, sharing best practices and use cases, and providing support.


Slack team
On the Slack side, here are some of the people we have available to support you:

Slack Team Responsibilities
Account Executive Account Executives (AE) are your main point of contact, and will have the deepest understanding of your business needs.
Customer Success If necessary, your Account Executive will connect you with a Customer Success Manager to help coordinate a smooth launch.
Support Team Contact our Customer Experience team if you've run into an issue, lost your way, or need help using Slack.

Hello! Our Support team is available 24/7 and always happy to help. Get in touch with us if you ever need a hand! 👍


Step 2 — Explore challenges and goals

With your launch team assembled, it’s important to get everyone on the same page. Having a well-defined vision and purpose for using Slack is essential. User interviews are a great way to understand your organization's current communication culture. Here are some questions you could ask:

  • How does our company's culture impact our communication? 
  • How do you communicate and collaborate with teammates?
  • What apps and tools do you use for work?
  • Which people or teams do you work most closely with? Who else do you work with?
  • How do you think Slack could help our organization?

When you've finished talking to users, take note of your findings. For example, what are the major communication challenges, goals of the organization, or priority projects?

 

Step 3 — Identify specific use cases

We recommend keeping track of specific use cases and workflows that will help you achieve your goals. Slack is a place where work happens, so choose scenarios that will maximize the benefit to your team.

  • Start with two to four specific use cases.
  • Choose use cases that address existing communication challenges.
  • Model positive behaviors that members of your team can copy.
  • Review your team's progress every week after launching to your company.   

Sample business use cases

Use case #1

Use case #2

Business use case: Making company announcements

Current challenge

  • It’s hard for people to learn about important updates from multiple teams
  • Email distribution lists are used for too many types of communication and inboxes fill up quickly

Objective

  • Increase transparency across multiple teams
  • Let people opt-in to announcements that are most relevant to them

Slack features that can help

  • Star important channels
  • Customize notifications (e.g. use highlight words)
  • Quote a message
  • Link to relevant channels, messages, and files

Slack team behaviors

  • Establish must-read announcement channels
  • Keep important channels clear of unnecessary chatter
  • Keep channels focused and on-topic

Success criteria

  • 75% or more of team members report Slack has helped them feel more connected.
  • 50% or more of team members report increased transparency.
  • 20% or more of team members report they’ve noticed a decrease in internal emails

Business use case: Asking for feedback

Current challenge

  • Seeking feedback from a group of people via email is not an efficient process

Objective

  • Collect feedback efficiently from direct and indirect teams
  • Increase transparency on key projects

Slack features that can help

  • Shared files
  • Custom notifications
  • @-mentioning
  • Emoji reactions

Slack team behaviors

  • Ask for feedback openly in a public channel
  • Be concrete about timelines and set reminders in appropriate channels
  • Demonstrate courtesy for other teammates by using emoji reactions
  • Use a post to collect or share information and pin it to a channel for easy reference

Success criteria

  • Team members reported 20% or more increased productivity
  • Team members reported having 20% fewer meetings
  • Team members reported having a better understanding of projects and progress in adjacent departments

Slack Guides: Visit slack.com/guides to see how different groups can thrive with our Department Playbooks.

 

Step 4 — Set up your team

Set up and customize your team’s settings and permissions before launching Slack to your company. A full menu of team settings can be found on the Settings & Permissions page at my.slack.com/admin/settings

To help you get started, here are some settings that can set the stage for how your team operates. We've included some additional tips for guidance:

Channel management

Choose who can create, archive, and manage membership for your team’s public and private channels from the Channel Management section.

Food for thought

💡  For public channels we recommend letting all members except for Guests the ability to create and archive channels, giving people more autonomy to make Slack work for them in a meaningful way.

💡  Try giving all members the ability to create and manage private channels, while expressing the value of communicating openly in public channels. This helps promote transparency, and contributes to your organization’s message archive.


Custom message and file retention

From the Message and File Retention sections, you can set custom retention policies that align with your organization’s legal/compliance standards. For public and private channels, direct messages, and files, you’ll have some options around your retention preferences:

  • Retain all messages
  • Retain all messages and also retain edit and deletion logs for all messages
  • Retain all messages and logs for only a specific number of days (minimum 1 day)

 

Consider the following

💡  The collection of knowledge built over time in your organization’s message archives is a major benefit of Slack. The more message history you can retain the better!


Managing apps

You can decide who has permission to manage apps and internal integrations from the Manage section of the App Directory.

Our recommendation 

💡  Customizing your Slack team with apps that your teammates use to get work done drives productivity. Be sure to give the right people on your team access to install apps and custom integrations.


Single sign-on

If your organization uses an identity provider, you can set up single sign-on to give your team members access to Slack. From Settings & Permissions, just click the Authentication tab. Visit the Guide to single sign-on with Slack at our Help Center.


Compliance Exports

With Compliance Exports turned on, Team Owners can export a complete record of your team’s message history to comply with legal and regulatory policies required by your industry.

Compliance Exports can be scheduled at regular intervals, on a one-off basis, or sent to a supported third-party message archiving vendor. Visit my.slack.com/services/export to turn on Compliance Exports.


Step 5 — Create channel naming guide

Having a guide for naming channels makes it easier for people to discover and join the channels that are relevant to them. Thinking ahead about a strategy will help your team be more successful — are some helpful tips:

  • Start with broad channel topics, then drill down.
  • Create a guide for naming channels.
  • Share the guide with your team.
  • Encourage everyone to stay on-topic.

We've created an entire guide dedicated to helping you organize and name channels. We believe this is essential to building a solid foundation for your team — don't miss it! 


Step 6 — Educate your team

Offer training sessions

Making sure your launch team has a solid understanding of how Slack works is important. Here are some ideas for who you can host Slack training sessions with:

Group Training topic
Executives Communicate the value of Slack, and the importance of ensuring their organization is aligned on important issues. 
Business owners Share business use cases. We offer a selection of department-specific guides demonstrating how to manage a team with Slack.
Administrators Discuss Slack's various team settings, user management best practices, and how they can support your company.
Change team Show people how to use Slack most effectively. Sessions focused around individual features, connecting your apps and tools, and how to manage notifications in Slack are always helpful! 

 

Self-serve training

Pinning helpful information to your #help-slack channel makes it easy for members of your team to reference it quickly. Here are some handy resources:

Note: Depending on your audience and the level or support you think they’ll need, consider offering in-person training sessions.


Step 7 — Onboard the team

Stage your Slack launch 

The best way for people to understand the value of Slack is to try it out — start small, then gradually add more people. Here is a suggestion using a phased approach:

Phase 1 — Choose a small group

Start small with an internal team that already communicates and collaborates regularly. We recommend between 10 and 50 people, including the launch team, and growing from there.

💡  Create a channel called #introductions. Whenever new members join your team, ask them to share a little bit of information about themselves.

💡  Try using information gathered during the user interviews to choose a group that is ready and comfortable with change.


Phase 2 — Include a specific team or department

Now that you’ve demonstrated Slack’s value, it’s time to choose a specific team to formally launch with. The group could range in size between 100 and 500 people depending on your organization’s comfort with new technology and open communication. 

When selecting the next group, try to choose a team or cross-functional group that collaborates often and is ready for change. Including the group from Phase 1 is key — they'll show newcomers how to work with each other in Slack.

You can repeat this phase as much as necessary until you feel comfortable moving on.

💡  Have the Executive Sponsor send an email announcing the move to Slack. To get the ball rolling, here’s a template to help you craft the email.

💡  Ensure Slack Admins add new users to the appropriate User Groups, ensuring each person joins the right channels.

Phase 3 — Expand to multiple teams or departments

Now that a healthy foundation is established, you can begin to add more teams and departments. To help adoption, choose teams or departments that already overlap regularly with people that participated in Phase 1 and 2.

That's it! Repeat this phase as much as necessary until your whole organization is on Slack.

💡  @mention new users in #help-slack, and encourage them to read the Getting started for new users guide.

💡  Assign new users tasks with due dates, that can be completed in Slack.

💡  Hosting a special Slack Training Day coordinated around the launch is a nice way to promote Slack internally once you are ready for the broader group to join. We’ve prepared a few things to help get this off the ground!


Step 8 — Track progress and iterate

Tracking the team's progress will help you demonstrate the value of Slack to the rest of the company, inspire new ways of working together, and identify opportunities to grow. 

Here are some examples:

  • Track the adoption of Slack by reviewing your team’s statistics periodically (i.e., every six months). Look for an increase in the:
    • Number of sent messages.
    • Number of uploaded files.
    • Number of installed apps and internal integrations.
  • Interview users to see how Slack has improved your team’s productivity. Ask users about:
    • The amount of time it takes to search for information.
    • The amount of time it takes to switch between different apps they use for work.

💡  To learn more how to do this in Slack, visit our Review team activity and statistics article.

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