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Slack ‘pivotal’ to fast-growing international firm

Peakon is a fast-growing Danish employee success platform with its Asia-Pacific office in Auckland. Luke Amundson, its regional head based here, says lockdown demonstrated how important Slack has become

"It is pivotal," he said in a Zoom video interview. "Without Slack, our business wouldn't be operating at the pace or the scale that it does today at all. The channels of communication that Slack opens up are critically important."

Peakon operates offices in six countries with more than 250 staff. It offers tools to constantly assess the mood of staff within companies, giving managers and leaders clearer signals about how employees are really feeling, and what actions should be take to help drive improved engagement and business success.

Amundson talked with Newsroom about how and why he and his colleagues use Slack to collaborate around time zones. He also describes the importance of Slack's integration with tools from Salesforce customer relations management software, as well as services as core to daily life at Peakon as Google Docs. He says Slack came into its own during the lockdown - keeping Peakon's internal communications working but also enabling the company to reach out in Slack to customers.

"The amount of information that had to flow through Slack doubled overnight because all of a sudden I'm not looking you in the face in the office and we didn't have an option to slow down," he says. Peakon itself increased in usage as staff and clients moved to work from home and companies needed to maintain morale and sentiment.

* Luke Amundson talks to Peter Bale about time zones, lockdown and sceptics


Q&A with Luke Amundson

Here are some key questions and answers from the video interview which might help you work out if Slack is right for your business or how to use it more effectively. If you have specific questions about Slack, email [email protected] and we can get answers for you or include them in a video interview with members of the Slack team.

Q:  Slack must be central to how you manage across time zones?

A: "Especially given we're here in APAC and the hubs are in London and Copenhagen where most of the centralised information flows from, if we didn't have Slack, we would be far more removed than just geographically. I would put it (Slack) up there with Peakon itself as one of the most important tools that we use."

Q: How many people in Peakon use Slack and how does the C-suite use it?

A: "It's over 250 people in the business, and I would be surprised if not every single one of those 250 people are not logged in every single day...it is embedded in every team. Our CEO primarily communicates through Slack...especially since lockdown has begun...every week he sends a video update via Slack. All important meetings and notes and announcements are done by Slack. So whether you're in sales development or marketing, you are listening to those channels."

Q: What was the feature of Slack that most helped during lockdown?

A: "I think that would be...the capability to quickly delineate the tsunami of information that is delivered in Slack into the right channels...It was incredibly helpful because we not only had customer operations but then really important internal announcements and our own operations that we had to deal with at once. Without that capability, it's just a giant mess."

Q: Collaboration is one thing but what about the integration of other software?

A: "The vast majority of all internal systems are connected through Slack. Our own Peakon tool internally and with customers, you are notified by Slack to give feedback But internally at Peakon everything from Salesforce, which is our system of record for all client activity, to our knowledge base, and all the (software) development tools, they're all integrated into Slack."
Go here to learn more about apps and software integration on Slack

"If you aspire to grow and operate globally, Slack's imperative."

Q: How do you think your experience with Slack under lockdown has changed your thinking about office space or the climate at work?

A: "I think what it has done is helped to prove the remote working experiment is possible. You can maintain that social capital. You can work together as a team almost as effectively as when you're in the office."

Q: What about etiquette and discipline on Slack since it's a work tool?

A: "I think part of it is that there are really clear purposes to the channels. You're not going to post the funny joke from the bar last night in the general all company channel. Being consistent in your behaviour in actually using Slack is important."

Q: What would you say to a sceptic of Slack who says email is just fine?

A: "I'd probably ask if they're still using fax machines to communicate. I honestly don't know how a business that needs to operate at pace, or even efficiently, can do that without a collaboration platform like Slack. If you have aspirations of growth and global operations, it's unbelievably imperative."

- Quotes from the video interview have been edited for clarity and to focus on pointers you may wish to try in your business. Tutorials on Slack are available here at Slack 101.
 

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