Whether communicated formally or not, there’s a clear code of social conduct when it comes to writing and formatting text messages and emails. This code changes depending on the length of a thread, and on who you’re communicating with.
Slack, however, is a newer platform. It was designed to be slightly more formal than texting, and slightly more casual and concise than email. The ‘rules’ are a hybrid and are still developing. As more companies switch from email to Slack announcements, they must decide how to adjust these messages to Slack’s unique tone. For communications from the HR or People Operations team, keeping announcements short and sweet increases the chances that your employees will actually read and take action on them. Keep your eyes peeled for more ‘rules’ that emerge in the Slack world. For now, here’s our best tips!
By keeping messages short and sweet, the tone of your Slack messages will be friendlier and easier to digest.
There’s no need to write long sentences for the sake of formality. If there’s a shorter way to convey the same meaning, go for it. Shorter sentences command more confidence, and make it easier for employees to understand what you want them to do.
Instead of: “It’s important to remember that you can’t change your insurance policy once the period for open enrollment has ended. Using the link from our insurance representative, you can set up an appointment with her, if you have any questions about your options.
Try: You can’t change your insurance policy once open enrollment ends. If you have any questions, set up an appointment with our representative using her link!
The goal is for the reader to only need to read the message once. Keep language digestible by writing the way you would speak, or talk with a friend.
Resist the urge to end a message with a signature, it’s simply not needed. Use more casual greetings and consider adding a friendly emoji. Ex. “👋Hey!”
Slack has an app for Giphy that’s easy to set up and start using. For birthday or work anniversary announcements, GIFs are a fun way to make messages more thoughtful, funny, and exciting. Use common sense – if the announcement is for open enrollment or a safety alert, maybe a GIF isn’t the best move. Also, if it’s a message with important information to read, GIFs can be distracting, so don’t attach them to a text-heavy announcement.
Studies show that using visuals associated with tasks creates higher engagement, and helps with memory. Emoji’s give a hint of what the task is and help employees remember it.
See how the Emoji Bullets quickly give away what the task might be?
Gather allows you to use the same messages but with different recipients and enrollees. Messages can always be edited, updated, and customized when needed.
Slack offers a couple options to help text stand out, including bold, strikethrough, indents, and an emphasized red font that looks like a snippet of code.
Bold - See how the bold draws your eyes to the to-do list coming?
Strikethrough - For a bit of humor!
Indents - Keep directions and multiple assignments clear. See how the gray indent helps?
Code Snippets - See how they draw attention to the tasks at hand?
With Gather, you can add a button to your announcement. Use buttons to create a calendar invitation, link a document, or send a direct message. The easier you can guide an employee to the desired action, the more likely an employee is to take action.
Rather than using a complicated version of RSVP, simply have members add a reaction to a message as a confirmation that they either read the announcement or are coming to an event. Consider using a reaction that doesn’t have a skin color to be more inclusive.
Some employees might have a certain Slack channel muted if that thread receives a lot of messages or distracting messages. Make sure to not send important announcements to these high-volume chats to be sure your message reaches everyone. Better yet, create a separate channel for important announcements or use Gather to DM employees directly.
Be mindful of when your messages are sent out. Avoid Friday afternoons or busy times of the day for your company. Busy during the perfect time? Consider using pre-scheduled messages or putting your messages into a workflow.
Some of the Slack expectations can feel unintuitive, especially after switching from email, but eventually it will become second nature. Here’s a sample of a fun and actionable announcement, with all the pieces put together. Remember, use your best judgement – not every message will need a button, call to action, or GIF. You got this!