Your Slack installation is only as good as your channels. Great Slack administrators are constantly looking for ways to create channels that encourage new kinds of conversation.
While team and project channels may take up the bulk of the conversations in an organization, they’re far from the only channels that matter. There are a number of common channel types that we’ve seen consistently in high-impact teams. These channels help with morale, increase knowledge sharing and generally keep everyone on the same page.
Most organizations we work with create channels around each job function. Usually within an organization, you’ll have employees that specialize in a given field. Whether it’s copywriting or strategy, they perform similar roles. In most effective Slack organizations, these users end up spread across any number of channels working on specific initiatives. It’s helpful to create job function channels for each function in your org chart to facilitate learning and development.
Users in these channels may not work together daily, but their work uses similar skills. When you bring them together in Slack, they can support each other and solve problems together. These channels also help create consistency across projects by connecting specialists around best practices in their field.
When you think of Slack as a replacement for email, common channel ideas invent themselves. For example, an announcements channel replaces emails that would go to everyone on staff. This channel becomes a great place to post messages for everyone on staff. For example, office closures, company milestones and important new additions to the staff. If you’re creating an announcements channel, be sure to check out our post on re-naming the general channel.
Often it’s useful to have a channel dedicated to office related discussions. This is a great place to share food giveaways, ask for office supplies, announce guests and do general office maintenance. In a single location company, this is usually just one channel. With multiple locations, you end up with a channel for each location.
Something as innocuous as using Slack to organize outings for meals can have a big impact. Many teams use a lunch channel in Slack to coordinate trips to nearby lunch spots and share recommendations. Other teams create coffee channels to announce fresh pots and organize trips to local coffee spots for an afternoon pick me up. The organizations we see with confectionery channels have much stronger office cultures. By opening lunch and coffee discussions up to anyone, Slack encourages cross-organization fraternization, which in turn can create opportunities for collaboration that may not have existed previously.
Slack is also a fantastic venue for sharing inspiration with your coworkers. In organizations that value development of employees, we often see inspiration channels filled with continuing-education resources and inspiring links. Whether it’s youtube videos, books or blog posts, organizations with inspiration channels have decided these resources are too valuable to lose in a watercooler channel.
Beyond developing employees, we’ve seen props channels for celebrating the team members who go above and beyond. Managers and coworkers alike join this channel to send shout outs. For example, a manager might post, “Thanks to @shirley who stayed late 3 nights in a row to work on the widget project.” Many of the leaders we’ve worked with love using props channels to reward great members of their teams.
We’ve previously covered the power of KPI channels on the blog. At Slack headquarters in San Francisco, they use a KPI channel to share updates on key company metrics. By using an integration to pull company metrics into a dedicated channel, you can keep people on a team on the same page without overwhelming them with emails.
Beyond these eight channels, in a productive Slack instance, the channel list is always changing. Great Slack administrators encourage staff members to experiment and discover new uses for Slack.
This post is a part of a series on getting the most out of Slack. Next week, we’ll share the secrets to great channels names. If you’d like to hear more, follow us on Medium or subscribe to our email newsletter.