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One Company’s Perfect Meeting: Invite a Bunch of Slackers

Looking to rescue herself and her department staff members from the typical in-box overload, struggles to connect with each other on project updates and general miscommunication that comes from managing employees at multiple locations, Kim Cory, Vice President of Sales and Marketing at national student housing owner and developer EdR, was ready to try something new.

Nine months ago, she introduced a new communications tool Slack to her sales and marketing team. She says the effectiveness of communication and response time between her and her 15-person team has since improved 10-fold.

“We all work in various locations and usually not together,” Cory says. “Slack can be used on our desktop or mobile devices. Unlike messaging through a Facebook group, Slack allows a more exclusive team feel for communication and collaboration among its participants. It’s more casual than email. Responses between team members are quick and almost instantaneous, similar to what happens with the phone-texting tools they are used to. They prefer that.”

Cory says Slack helps to avoid today’s disorganization that comes from an onslaught of emails when too many people are copied on too many emails. Slack also has an indicator that lets group members know the status of others in the group—such as being out of office or in a meeting.

Cory, says the average age of her staff is 25, and she adds that EdR Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer Christine Richards also uses it.

“Millennials and [the younger] Generation Z do not prefer email, especially long emails,” Cory says. “They want to communicate through apps with short snippets of information. They hear you talk about dial-in conference calls and they think, ‘That’s so 90s.’ If you want to attract a younger workforce, you have to look at tools like this.”

Read more on this story in the February issue of units magazine.