How Officevibe Wants To Ensure Team Building With The Slack Bot Leo

by Laura Selz

The startup company Officevibe, located in Montreal, attempts to make employees happier and more efficient with the aid of the Slack bot by using a survey software for an improved team building.

“Do you understand your profession? Do you feel comfortable? How are you doing today?” Surveys about working climate are always popular but it is often annoying to conduct them. Emails with the subject line “This survey only takes two minutes” are prone to be closed and has no one pays attention to the Google Hangout about the situation of the thank you box. However, surveys remain crucial, according to the startup company Officevibe. Therefore, the Canadian software developer created a bot named Leo whose task is to measure employee satisfaction more efficiently by being directly integrated in the Messenger Slack.

More and more offices put their trust in the messaging app Slack from San Francisco. Slack has major customers, such as Adobe Systems or The New York Times, and little ones like Netzpiloten or St. Oberholz. Instead of communicating via various channels, the employees are connected in a chat in a location-independent way. As soon as Leo is installed in Slack, the employees are being asked questions on a weekly basis. Officevibe forwards the evaluation to the boss or the head of the group.

Diary from Barcelona

The startup company’s mission is clear: The “vibes” in the “office” should be improved. The Canadians want to help with software solutions, as well as with guides and topic-related blogs. The various successes and failures are being also being noted here. As it turns out, this can be fairly amusing.

Last summer, for example, Officevibe trusted in the approach of gamification and was offering software that reminded the employees of the fact that they are not alone. The incentive was to exceed their principal´s score. However, questions like “who had been doing the most sit-ups?” turned out to be amusing only in the beginning. Even worse, the employees started getting not only annoyed but also stressed.

Officevibe’s content manager Jacob Shriar said: “In the end, you separate out the gamers who always share the first places — and the rest has no desire anymore”. The first product was a failure — but the idea stayed alive. Employees are to be motivated by surveys to create a team spirit and to provide a reliable feedback to the manager. The new Slack-Bot Leo should gather information about customer satisfaction without causing pressure or making playful detours.

From the outset, Officevibe drew attention to the creation of Leo. The team flew to Barcelona for ten days, rented an apartment, and documented the project work in an internal blog. Shriar said: “We wanted to organize something like a creative boot camp. For intensive projects this is an ideal environment”. Furthermore, he mentioned that Barcelona is a nice city.

Moreover, the name of the bot had been found when the team visited a home match of the FC Barcelona. Soccer star Lionel “Leo” Messi impressed them in such a way that they decided to call the Slack-Bot after him: Leo. The public diary registers the daily targets, progress, and after-work anecdotes, and thus giving an instruction for team work, resulting in Do’s and Dont’s. The bot, being in charge of enhancing team building and satisfaction, is being promoted by an origin story that tells about the inventors’ team building.

Global Families Instead Of Esprit De Corps

Since Leo has arrived in January, he asks questions to his users. For example: “Would you regard you employees as ‘friends’”? Shriar says that if those surveys are seen as annoying is not up to Leo but rather to the perception of how pushy Leo is considered to be.

However, the questions are sometimes rather private. Everything contributes to the idea of team building. But is it really necessary to be friends? Shriar states: “When people feel like family, they are happier and therefore more productive. A principal ought to take care of this. And this is why he needs feedback”.

The term “family” is much more recent than the term “corporate identity”. Back in the day, companies made employees identify themselves with their employer. But why do I have to be BMW when I am just working for BMW? The work has to be made attractive and therefore productive in new ways. Not only the startup industry trusts in authentic image cultivation rather than esprit de corps. Big companies also put an emphasis on independent work and personal particularities.

In previous days, the “Casual Friday” was the largest concession to an employee´s personal freedom. Nowadays, there are flexible working hours as well as there is the invention of home office. In order not to separate the company by too much self-display, there is a need to cultivate the idea of a family or, at least, a team. Services such as Slack provide a useful system to communicate in larger groups and location-independent with the same design. Leo wants to blend in that logic and also asks the employee overseas if he understands his work.

This is a translation from the German original on

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