Today I’m helping you enhance team communication by sharing three of our company’s favorite Slack hacks. Learn the exact Slack channels you need for collaborative teamwork and the purpose behind each one.
Are you tired of bouncing between your inbox and your project management app and your DMs and your texts and... ?
It’s time to rein it alllll in and get back valuable time and CLARITY for your team by adopting Slack for team communication! Seriously, it’s best and it’s almost exclusively how our team members at the EffortLESS Life connect with me and with each other.
BY THE TIME YOU FINISH LISTENING, YOU’LL DISCOVER:
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Courtney Elmer 0:11
Hey, it is Episode 86 of the Systems Made Simple™ podcast where we talk about team communication and my favorite collaborative teamwork tool. Welcome back this week; we have just a few episodes left in our summer series of systems, which is an episode series full of quick tips we've been sharing with you to help you streamline the back end of your business and buy back some time in your day to day operations.
Today, the focus is on helping you enhance team communication by sharing three of our favorite Slack hacks. So back a couple of episodes ago, we talked about Slack being one of the primary channels for team communication and collaborative teamwork. In fact, we use it virtually exclusively. The only other area where we communicate with our team is in our project management software. But we don't use email to communicate with our team members.
Courtney Elmer 1:00
We don't use social media for that, as we limit our communication to project management software and to Slack, (our collaborative teamwork tool), which is also our primary app for team communication. And there's a reason why, because this is the first hack. It keeps you out of your inbox, and nothing gets lost. And we recommend Slack just because that's what Slack was built for.
It's the functionality, we've tried different types of chat team communication messaging systems. We like Slack, the ultimate collaborative teamwork tool, the best as it is straightforward, it is easy, it is simple, it is free. And it is a great solution to help you stay in constant communication with your team to help your team members have a way to communicate with each other and also with you.
Courtney Elmer 1:42
So hack number two is to keep it really simple, which is setting up each channel with a purpose. So in Slack, a conversation thread is called a channel. So think of this, like different threads in your inbox, just a conversation thread on a specific topic. Slack calls them channels, and you want to use each channel with a purpose, Slack will set you up with a couple of default channels, but you can always change or delete those, there is no point to having a bajillion channels on Slack because it just creates confusion. Your team won't know where to go for what. And you might get stuck checking all of these channels to make sure nothing got missed. And you're having to reply in all of these channels. You don't need all that have only what you need, because simplicity saves time.
Courtney Elmer 2:28
So hack number three is to set up your channels with a specific purpose. So the channels that we have, we only have three. That's it across our whole team. Now certainly, we have the liberty to add another one or two if we ever saw fit. But we have found that three is a sweet spot for us. This is all we need. So the first channel that we have is a morning coffee channel. And the purpose of this channel is to have consistent team communication or between your team and your integrator.
If you have an integrator, if you're serving the role of integrator right now in your business like I am currently, then it'll be between them and you. So here's how to do it. Everyone checks in before 10am in this channel, with the three things that they're working on that day, as well as a yes or a no if the previous day's tasks were completed. This sets the rhythm This is the daily pulse.
Courtney Elmer 3:27
This is your news feed for your team to know what is happening that day. And at a glance, you can see what everyone is working on you as their leader can also notice if they tend to focus on only those repetitive tasks. And if they're not really focusing on project based work, let's say you're in the middle of a launch, and they have some deadlines that they need to meet.
And you notice that there tends to be a little procrastination there. They haven't reported that they've been working on those projects, you as the leader can private message them and say, Hey, I know we've got this deadline coming up, can you let me know where you are on this specific thing. And keeping those channels of team communication open.
Courtney Elmer 4:05
Have your team check in every day like this Monday through Friday. We're not talking weekends here, just regular workweek flow provides a rhythm and a pulse for your company when you're working remotely, because you're not all clocking into the office at the same time every day checking in standard around the coffee pot, drinking a cup of coffee as you might if you worked in an office setting. But remotely, we can replicate that process to an extent by having everyone check-in when they're getting to work for the day when they turn on their computer and they log in, and the first thing they do they go to that morning coffee channel type any yes or no if the previous day's tasks were completed and type in the three things they're focusing on that day. This is the ultimate collaborative teamwork tool.
Courtney Elmer 4:47
This also creates accountability. And you as their leader, are not to hold them accountable, but as their leader to teach them how to be accountable to them. themselves. Now that comes with time that comes with training that comes with how you conduct yourself as a leader of the team. And that comes with how you teach your team to take personal responsibility, and be accountable. And having to put, you know, yes or no, I didn't complete the tasks from yesterday. And therefore I'm putting that as my top number one priority today to hold everybody accountable. And you know, it's one of those things that we don't shame or blame or point fingers or judge, if someone didn't complete something, there's been plenty of days where I report that I didn't complete everything I had planned to complete the day before, but it holds me accountable to completing it.
Courtney Elmer 5:39
Because you have that external factor there, you know, that someone's watching you, and not in a bad way, or hovering over your shoulder kind of way, in a way that they're gonna cheer you on and say, awesome, you know, we all have days like that, where we didn't get this thing done. But you can focus on that verse today. And that's the spirit that we have created within our team where we are supporting one another to continue moving forward in the same direction, not to get hung up or nitpick What did get done and didn't get done. So I say that, to clarify that the reason that I have our team report and put yes, no, we didn't complete the task before or Yes, we did awesome.
Courtney Elmer 6:17
So that we can celebrate and support each other. It's not to nitpick. And it's not to give you a reason, as the visionary leader of your company, to compile a mental list of negatives about a particular team member, you know what I'm saying. So, that is our morning coffee channel, and the purpose of it. The second channel that we have is a core values channel. The purpose here is to catch people doing things right. And this is piggybacking off of what I said a moment ago, because so often we can get focused on the things people are doing wrong, the details that got missed, the tasks that fell behind deadline, the instructions that weren't followed to a tee, I mean, we're all human mistakes happen.
Courtney Elmer 7:03
Here's what you really need to know. Listen closely to my voice right now, the degree to which you succeed as a visionary leader, is the degree to which you focus on what is working, and simply commit to fixing what isn't with a positive attitude. That's the secret. Now, if you follow the interview process that I handed you in the last episode, then you already know how important it is to hire people based on their values, based on how their values align with the values of your company. And so the core values channel is meant as a way to celebrate and shout out people who are living those values as it relates to their role in your company, you can even go so far as to offer a monthly core value award, maybe to the person who has exemplified the most core values that month, or maybe the most consistency and living them.
Courtney Elmer 8:01
So this is how this particular thread is designed to operate you as the leader start the thread and nominate someone for a specific way in which they lived out a specific core value, then they're responsible for nominating the next person the next week, and that person is responsible for nominating the next and so on. Now, obviously, this system will work best if you have a team of, say five or more people, when you have smaller numbers, that might feel a little redundant. But if you have a smaller team, you can still celebrate and acknowledge people who are living the values of your company. Maybe you don't even set up a channel for it.
Maybe you have a team member of the week spotlight in your weekly meeting, and acknowledge one person every week that way, it can be that simple, you're allowed to make it that simple. So the third channel that we use in Slack isn't really a channel, it's just their dm feature. The purpose is so that people can get in touch with me directly although it’s still a collaborative teamwork tool.
Courtney Elmer 8:59
The purpose of this channel is so that your team members can get a hold of you when they need you. Or your integrator if that is who is leading and running your team, depending on who they report to. This is whenever they're training with you, they can go to ask specific questions. This is where they can submit their weekly metric reports. You can also have a public channel for that we personally do that on our weekly team meetings, you have a little bit of options there.
But again, this keeps you out of your email, one thread per team member and it holds a boundary. Because one of the mistakes that I have seen many online business owners make is handing out their cell phone number to their team, or telling their team “Hey, you can message me any time”. It’s a great collaborative teamwork tool.
Courtney Elmer 9:42
You know, if you have a question, you're not bothering me, feel free to message me. You know, even if they don't hand out their number, feel free to email me anytime you've got something I'm happy to help you. But they fail to set those boundaries around their time. And so when that team member messages you at 9pm at night because that's when that person happens to be working.
Well, you don't want to answer at nine at night, but you feel obligated to because you told them message me anytime and you don't want them to have to wait on you until the next morning to answer their questions. So you just swallow it and reply back, cutting into, say maybe your private quiet time at night, right. So this team communication system helps you hold a boundary, as you're not giving out your phone number.
Courtney Elmer 10:25
Certainly that's up to you if you want. Maybe you just choose to set the boundary where you only give your phone number to your leadership team, they can get ahold of you if they need you if there's an emergency. But for those on the general team, they message you through Slack that becomes the primary means of communication. And the beauty of it is that you control when you answer.
And that's easy to communicate to your team. “Hey, guys, I'm online every morning between 9 am and 10 am.” I'll be in the morning coffee thread, I'll be checking your messages, you can expect to reply back for me then. And that's it bottom line. So they also have an app that you can put on your phone for Slack. I don't keep it on my phone, nothing is so important that it can't wait till the next morning, if I'm already logged off for the day. And I hold that same standard for my team, I give them permission to not have to be online all the time. I believe this is important to every team member.
Courtney Elmer 11:15
There's a tendency with working remotely to always be plugged in. Nowadays, there is a device always within reach, whether it's your phone, or your laptop, but you have permission to log off for the day, just as you would if you were checking out and clocking out at your former nine to five. And you're done. It can wait till the next morning. And I give my team that same permission. This is my main team communication message.
Because sometimes I work weird hours if I Slack them on a Saturday morning, because that's when I'm working. They know that they don't have to respond to me then or even to check it until they log in Monday. I don't expect a response until Monday. If they Slack me at 10pm at night because they're a night owl, they have the understanding that I'll reply when I log in the next morning. Each of us as a team, as individuals on that team, we are responsible for our own notifications, we each hold our own boundaries. Boundaries are critical to effective team communication.
Courtney Elmer 12:16
And that is the standard we stick to as a team. This way, we don't have to set working hours per se. But there are clear channels of communication for when our team members are working. They know that I'm typically working in the mornings, because that's when my son is at school. Or when I have a sitter, I know some of them might like to work on the weekends, because that's when they're available and they take off certain days during the week.
So we have that flexibility that remote work provides and we can maintain that flexibility. And that way they can know how they can get a hold of me and can ask questions without worrying if they're bothering me or waiting to ask until a reasonable hour if there's something on their mind right then when they're in the workflow in the middle of working. So those are our three simple Slack acts for clear team communication. I think it’s the ultimate collaborative teamwork resource.
Courtney Elmer 13:06
First, use Slack as a collaborative teamwork tool — actually use it. It will save you time and your team communication in the long run. Second, keep your channels simple. Don't have more than you need. The simpler you can keep it the better. Because remember, simplicity saves time. And then third, use specific channels to eliminate redundancy, those d m channels so that you're not having to go and check a whole bunch of threads or anything gets missed, nothing falls through the cracks. Of course, you can have more channels than we do if you want as long as you have a specific purpose and intention for each one.
Courtney Elmer 13:44
So next week, I'm going to share what we recommend when it comes to paying your team. Because that's a question we get a lot as well, “What is the best way to pay people who are working for me but working remotely? What are the options? How do I avoid fees?” I'm going to teach you how you can avoid fees legally. That's all coming up in next week's episode right here on The EffortLESS Life. And if you haven't told your friends about the show, please spread the word with your fellow friends in business. They could benefit here as well.
Courtney Elmer 14:15
If you are benefiting from it every week, they definitely will too. And if you haven't subscribed to the show yet, make sure you are following the shows so that you know every week as soon as a new episode drops. And it would mean a lot if you would scroll down in your Apple app, tap those five stars and write a sentence or two leaving us a review on the show. You can talk about team communication or collaborative teamwork. This helps other business owners just like you who are looking for podcasts to help them in their business. Know that this is a show worth listening to. And we appreciate it so much when you take the time to do that. So next week, I will see you right back here, keep it locked. Until then go live your EffortLESS Life®.