Slack’s New Features Include Video, Async Options

Slack Users

Slack introduced new features meant to help teams work together more dynamically and conveniently, focusing on mission and goals rather than technology and location.

Media reports say the release is a sign of increased competition among the providers of tools that support the hybrid workforce. Microsoft, for example, recently introduced new features to Teams to simplify how users interact in meetings. Zoom and Google also announced upgrades to their collaboration platforms.

Slack introduced new features meant to help teams work more dynamically and conveniently, from wherever. @SlackHQ #HR #HRTech Share on X

Slacks first new feature is Slack Huddles, which the company said will recreate the “spontaneous and informal discussions” that traditionally occurred in the office.

Slack describes Huddles as “a lightweight, audio-first way to start live conversations.” Users start huddles in any channel or direct message string, and anyone participating can enter and exit the conversation as they like. It’s the equivalent, Slack said, of kicking off a chat with someone walking by your desk. Huddles allow screen-sharing, but are intended for users who want to avoid the hassles of scheduling and would prefer to stay off-camera.

Avoiding scheduling chores seems to be high on Slack’s list of priorities. A new video, voice and screen recording feature allows users to leave messages for others asynchronously, without having to coordinate schedules and agendas. The playback tools can present third-party videos as well as home-grown messages, Slack said, and allow users to adjust a message’s speed or read through a transcript from most any device. Slack also archives each message, with a searchable transcription.

A third feature, Slack Atlas, helps users understand the roles and responsibilities of colleagues from around their organization. Besides profile data, each entry includes information such as company org chart and employee start dates. The Atlas also can be integrated with HCM solutions like Workday, allowing it to automatically keep profiles up to date.

Covid’s Impact on Work and Slack

By simplifying conversations and information exchange among dispersed teams, Slack has benefitted greatly from the pandemic’s impact on business. When Salesforce announced its acquisition of the company in December, it positioned the transaction as creating an “operating system for the new way to work.”

Slack has several integrations in place that allow access to HR technology systems, such as UKG and Workday, through its interface. Because it does a neat job of enabling both internal and external communications, the platform’s often described as an important contributor to culture and experience. It also gets high marks for its ability to integrate with other enterprise applications.

At the time of the merger, The Wall Street Journal quoted Salesforce COO Bret Taylor as saying his company saw the world as “fundamentally having shifted” because of the pandemic. “Slack is really the system of engagement for every employee, every partner and for every customer interaction,” he said.

Image: Slack

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