Kristijan Pušić | February 4th, 2024
SLACK is definitely a widely used communication solution in IT companies, yet it has that extra charm and yet it is not intrusive into the day-to-day life of engineering teams. What terminology do we use for channel names? Who is on this channel? Private channels? Every company has its own culture, and SLACK communication will hit you in the face in the first few weeks of your life in a new Slack workspace. But let’s see what we can do to promote a healthier working environment. .
Good SLACK practice is definitely having the #psychology channel. Introducing a caring culture, a sign of an IT company that looks to the future for each employee in terms of career tracking and day-to-day wellbeing. Why is Senior Developer XY not productive in his daily tasks? Probably there is nothing positive he reads every day, he has nowhere to read about his possible conditions, after all it is taboo to talk about psychology? A corporate culture that doesn’t rely on the hard science of psychology is a sadder place to work. Let’s use what science has given us. Psychologists will show the company why teams behave in certain ways, what shapes a team’s personality, and how a team changes from project to project or from sprint to sprint. More importantly, how to build a good team again and again.
Teams are dissolved after a certain period of time. IT offices are dynamic working environments, don’t forget that! Knowledge of motivation and the impact of the team on the individual is useful knowledge in any IT company. On a personal level, developers can have communication problems on a daily basis. Family and personal life can hold the key to developer unhappiness or motivation issues. It is not always about the money! Reactions and discussions on the #psychology SLACK channel serves as a source of topics for internal meetups. Based on the team’s interest, the HR department holds meetups to further analyze popular or obscure topics for the IT team.
In today’s global IT industry, English is not just a skill, it is a necessity. Recognising this, introducing a dedicated Slack channel, #english, can play a pivotal role in improving communication skills within your team. More than just a platform for language practice, it’s a cornerstone of career development and a testament to a company’s commitment to employee growth.
Practicing English is more like writing the tests in code programming. Nobody likes it, but it has to be done. Language mentors are also part of the HR team. Topics selected at the company level OKR have simply spread to the #english channel. IT developers, as part of their career progression, need to advance in their English grammar, speaking to satisfy their seniority in this skill as well. Usually it is C1 for a senior developer. Language and communication skills are part of all competency matrices that track the skills and competencies of software developers.
The primary goal of the #english channel is to provide a supportive space for team members to improve their English language skills, which are essential for their professional growth in the global marketplace. This channel acts as an informal classroom, discussion forum and practice area all in one.
By consistently engaging with activities on the #english channel team members will not only improve their language skills, but also gain confidence in their ability to communicate. This improvement is crucial for interacting in a global environment, understanding multicultural perspectives and advancing in their careers. In conclusion, the #english channel is not just about learning a language. It’s about breaking down barriers, building confidence and preparing for the global stage. By investing in such initiatives, a company demonstrates its commitment to the holistic development of its employees, which is a cornerstone of a progressive organizational culture.
As an outsourcing organization or a product company, there is no one place to share thank you feedback from other channels and other sources. It is common to see recognition letters thanking different teams for reaching a milestone. Personal or company achievements need to be celebrated somewhere. In IT companies it is common to say thank you for the task, sprint, integration or project that has been completed. Lots of little tasks that need to be recognised and mentioned in some way.
Showing gratitude is at the root of this mindset. Developers do not see their end customers, so it is hard to have a direct connection with them. Emotionally or otherwise. What they do have is a set of UX best practices that don’t really help because they lack real user feedback. Product owners are usually the ones who spread the good vibes from the end users about the existing software. Getting those positive notes, positive feedback and keeping that #7h4nky0u channel, a little bit active, is really a quest. Don’t be afraid, be brave, start the channel and get positive feedback!
Add employee birthdays and company-wide announcements in the #announcements channel. Don’t forget to look after your employees’ legal issues. Not all of them are fully employed or are external company developers or work through an IP account. It is still your employee with a birthday, onboarding, offboarding and everything in between. Company culture is also reflected in the way you treat your contingent workers. Remember that an individual’s psychological and legal issues are of paramount importance to them. Use the #random channel for spontaneous communication. It can be funny with memes, amazing with views of your colleagues’ travels, and cuddly with photos of your pets. You can also use it to discuss breaking news or ask a question to everyone at once. Use polls of different kinds, use AI assistants, use whatever idea you have on your mind.
Jogging with #psychology, #english and ##7h4nky0u is an interesting trio of topics for any HR team in any IT company. Creating a content plan, then creating the content itself and being ready to talk about it is quite a challenge for any team around the globe. Communication mistakes happen every day, so be supportive and positive in your corporate communications. I hope this article has been interesting and given you, the reader, some tips on how to make your working culture a little more human and emotionally intelligent. Remember, we are still in SLACK, our HR girls and boys have other things to do outside of SLACK.
IT consultant and Business developer
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