Whether by choice or through necessity, some form of hybrid working is now part of almost every enterprise. And for all its many benefits, there remains a challenge for many businesses to ensure every team member feels engaged with their colleagues and connected to the company. Australian unicorn startup, Employment Hero, says it has found the right formula to do just that.
Employment Hero has a team of 700 staff spread across the globe, running its HR, payroll and recruitment platform for over 200,000 worldwide SME customers. With product, support and go-to-market functions spread widely across time zones, the company has been able to thrive through the use of Slack as its team communication platform.
“With such a geographically dispersed team, communication could easily be a nightmare,” says Rosie Mitchener, Customer Marketing Manager at Employment Hero. “But Slack means we can connect, collaborate and work productively no matter where in the world we are. Even more importantly, our company culture wouldn’t be as strong as it is today without it. Slack has become an indispensable tool that perfectly embodies our mission to make work easy.”
Choosing the right platform is crucial to making team communications embed within an organisation in the right way. But Employment Hero also took some proactive steps to ensure staff new and old are encouraged to engage in ways that have built a culture of fun and positivity.
Employment Hero deploys many of the well-known approaches to using Slack, including custom emoji (affectionately named Slackmoji) and lots of social channels for staff to enjoy, alongside channels based on business units and other professional development spaces. But one of the most decisive factors in their Slack success is leadership engagement.
“Our leaders set a great example in their use of Slack, showcasing how it can be the best possible tool for communication,” says Mitchener. “They’re not sitting back leaving it to others – they’re in the channels getting involved. This helps to remove barriers, foster collaboration, create a sense of belonging and ultimately make work easier and more rewarding for everyone.”
- “Even the newest employees have the opportunity to chat with the CEO and leadership team, getting to know them on a personal level. It’s fun, it’s laid back, and we find this kind of levelling of the playing field makes Slack a really valuable tool in the modern workplace. I’m based in Cairns, but with Slack I still feel part of everything and when we meet up in-person at our Global Gathering, I’m not meeting strangers - we already know each other.”
Employment Hero also wrote a detailed playbook on remote work, that outlines the rules of engagement for all employees, so they know how to get the most out of the company’s Slack. This includes an understanding of expectations around message management and notifications. Certain messages may require urgent attention, but others can be deferred for attention whenever suits their workflow.
“Everyone is the boss of their own Slack notifications,” says Mitchener. “By saving messages for later, scheduling messages for colleagues in different timezones or even snoozing notifications to give yourself space for deep work or time to switch off, it’s a real plus.”
Where some companies may adopt platforms like Slack alongside traditional systems like email, Employment Hero has aimed to make Slack its primary internal platform. Files, information, and communication are housed there with a sense of transparency.
“The Employment Hero team is empowered to find the information they need to succeed and get the job done,” says Mitchener. “We’re proud to have a culture of productivity, autonomy and trust with Slack’s help.”
Slack has a wide range of integrations available that Employment Hero implements for both functional and cultural outcomes. Customer reviews on G2 are automatically pinged to a channel for feedback visibility. Design and content workflows in Asana are integrated with Slack for smoother workflow management. And their own Employment Hero API shares ‘Shout Outs’ to acknowledge successes.
“Every time we land a new hire or close a deal, it’s automatically shared on our dedicated channel for all to see,” says Mitchener. “It’s not just the big wins either – we take joy in highlighting positive customer feedback and recognising our team’s hard work through Shout Outs. This really helps us to foster a culture of celebration and recognition.”
For others aiming to use platforms like Slack more deeply, Mitchener suggests it’s important to bring an openness and willingness to adapt if you want to succeed with new ways of communicating and collaborating.
“Leadership teams can be hesitant to embrace new technology, but there’s vast efficiencies and benefits that can be gained from properly using Slack to empower your workforce. Breakthroughs don’t always come in flashy packages. Sometimes they come in the form of seamless efficiency.”