CEOs Have a New Job They Didn’t Sign Up For: Slack Moderators
Unregulated instant messaging tools can lead to missed deadlines, ignored messages, and passive-aggressiveness.
Many executives are suddenly tasked with a new responsibility: overseeing the conduct of their hybrid teams across various apps and platforms. But services like virtual chat tools Slack, Microsoft Teams or Skype, which are instrumental to communication and collaboration in our hybrid offices, feel harder to regulate. How can workplaces ensure that these services are being used productively and optimally at work?
Recently, a Fortune 500 company brought me in to assess its digital communication platforms. The division leader wanted to know why there was so much daily dysfunction: missed deadlines, emails ignored, reports of uncomfortable chat room conversations, and a lot of peer-based passive-aggressiveness. It didn’t take me long to discover that the team in question was using its collaboration tools in every way but the right one!
Instant messaging tools had become a way for members to avoid face-to-face collaboration, and so employees had become overwhelmed by notifications. Members were also sharing the same messages and documents across multiple collaboration tools, making it hard for anybody to know where to go for what. Finally, some members were commenting on tasks using 10-word IM messages, without explaining if their message was an opinion or a request for action. Eventually, the team and I created norms around the best, most proper use of every communication channel, and enlisted groups of “channel advocates” to encourage best practices across each channel.
I’ve found that developing etiquette guidelines for virtual chat platforms is absolutely necessary.
In my new book, Digital Body Language, I share practical advice like these four best practices that I recommend organizations from startups to hundreds of thousands of people use to ensure their virtual chat tools are being used effectively.
1. Don’t treat your work chat app like instant messenger
Slack and other business messaging apps are designed to make our jobs easier, more so now…