How Slack helped GE break out of Email Jail

When General Electric CMO Linda Boff wanted to celebrate the launch of a new TV campaign. She didn’t send an email. Instead, she turned to Slack and posted a clip of the ad.

Any of the hundreds of people in the Slack channel could respond to her post. Her message received more than 84 emoji reactions, including 30 muscle emojis (💪) and 20 clapping hand emojis (👏).

Most 125-year-old 300,000 person organizations don’t have that kind of open communication.

Nancy Briscoe, audience development manager, explained that one of the major improvements Slack delivered was access to leadership. Before Slack conversations with executives like Boff used to “happen in silos”. Now, they’re out in the open.

Slack drives innovation

Nancy and the rest of GE’s Business Innovations team use Slack to communicate daily. They’re responsible for driving change and keeping all of the countless elements moving and iterating. Nancy says that they, “take a lean startup mentality and apply it to a big corporate organization that’s been around for 125 years.”

They’re the key to GE’s future.

Slack is a big part of driving this innovative outlook. The team leverages Slack to help them stay nimble, increase transparency and drive culture.

Transparency builds culture

For years, the team lived at Rockefeller Center in New York, one of the most iconic buildings in the city. When the time came for them to move to a new space, there was a bit of trepidation. Briscoe told me, “[her team] loved being in 30 Rock, it felt like a home.”

But, with Slack, the staff behind the move was able to hype up the new office and build excitement. They shared updates on the space, pictures of desks and floor plans. By using Slack transparently, they were able to make the transition smoother.

Nancy Briscoe explained that, “Seeing pictures as the offices were being developed and becoming our new home made us feel excited.”

Slack brings a team together

They don’t just use Slack internally. When working with agencies and partners, Nancy brings them into Slack to collaborate. On a recent project, they had representatives from three different agencies, a few people from GE corporate and an account manager from a partner all working side by side.

Nancy shared that they “really see [their] agency partners as extensions of [their] actual team and want them to feel like they’re part of the GE family.”

Collaborating in Slack helps make that a reality.

Slack makes life easier

Briscoe shared that GE, like most big enterprises, uses Microsoft Outlook and sends a lot of email. Naturally, things get lost in the shuffle. GE’s developed an internal term, “email jail” for the things that mysteriously disappear in the deluge.

With Slack, on the other hand, GE employees find that information is neatly organized into the right places with channels.

It’s tempting to believe that Slack only works for tiny tech companies. But, that’s far from the case. Instead, organizations like GE are proving that the enterprise can leverage Slack to be more nimble and innovative. With intentional goals and smart planning, Slack can become effective for organizations at just about any size

The organizations that don’t will be left behind.

Slash-hyphen is an independent Slack consulting firm dedicated to helping organizations get the most out of Slack. We post here on medium regularly and share links in our email newsletter.

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