At Slack, there’s a channel for everything, he says. “[There is] a channel for people who want to get lunch together, a channel for sharing pet photos, even a Star Wars channel.” These separate channels not only save others from the sort of off-topic conversations that clog up email and make in-person meetings unbearable—they also give people a safe place to send feedback.
Among the many Slack channels, the ones company leadership takes most seriously are the feedback channels. They are not just for sharing opinions on the latest product release; they are also for sharing thoughts about how to improve as a company. There is a dedicated channel called #slack-culture and another called #exec-ama where executives invite employees to “ask me anything.”
Shevat says: “People will post all sorts of suggestions and are encouraged to do so.” There’s even a special channel for airing your “beefs” with the company’s own product, called #beef-tweets. “Sometimes comments can get very prickly,” Shevat says. But the important thing is that they’re aired and heard.
Here’s where emoji can come to the rescue. “Management lets people know they’ve read their feedback with an eyes emoji,” explains Shevat. “Other times, if something is handled or fixed, someone will respond with a checkmark,” Shevat explains.
Of course, not every conversation at every company should take place in a group chat. Slack also conducts regular all-hands meetings where employees can ask senior management questions directly. No matter the format, giving employees a way to send feedback and also know it’s been heard by someone who can help lets employees know they have a voice.
Whether employees’ feedback is heard during small group meetings, company-wide meetings, or over group-chat channels isn’t the point; what matters is that there is an outlet that management cares about, uses, and responds to. It is critical to the well-being of a company and its employees.