Why you should try Slack groups

Travis Good
August 12, 2021

Slack’s goal is to be an “easier, more organized way to work”.  They accomplish this by empowering users to send the right message to the right person at the right time in the right context. One such feature that supports this objective is Slack groups. Slack groups allow users to communicate with multiple key team members across workspaces, channels, and direct messages without leaving the application.

This article will examine how Slack groups work, their advantages and uses, and how to set them up for your organization. Let’s start by making sure we have a clear understanding of Slack groups.

What Are Slack User Groups?

Slack groups are a designated list of users within your Slack instnace. You can message the group directly or cc them in another workspace via a group tag, such as “@sales.”

Here is a list of some of the built-in features associated with Slack user groups:

  • Access controls to groups for added security
  • Add groups to default channels automatically
  • Add groups to other channels rather than members individually
  • Manage group permissions at the workspace level
  • All members receive a notification when mentioned

For project-level groups, you can deactivate a user group rather than delete it. This feature allows for quick changes to groups to align with changes in projects and work.

What Are the Advantages of Slack Groups?

The most significant advantage of Slack groups is communicating with many people quickly across multiple workspaces and channels. Slack makes team communications dead simple, and this feature delivers on that promise perfectly. Administrators can set up, manage, and deactivate groups quickly and flexibly.

Other primary advantages of Slack groups include:

  • Advantage 1. Communicate with teams at scale
  • Advantage 2. Coordinate departments more efficiently
  • Advantage 3. Onboard new employees using a replicable process
  • Advantage 4. Create various interest groups for user engagement
  • Advantage 5. Send alerts instantly to defined groups

There are several benefits of using Slack groups, many of which go beyond this article’s scope. 

When Should I Use Slack Groups?

Now that you have an underlying working knowledge of what Slack groups are and how they work, we can shift focus to practical use and application. The list below offers examples of how companies use Slack groups:

  • Company-wide announcements
  • Crisis communications
  • Cross-department communications
  • Employee onboarding
  • Interest communications
  • Project communications
  • Team communications

We’ve talked to several companies that use Slack groups in different ways:

  • Onboarding
  • Company department listing
  • Compliance (for things like access controls and disaster recovery)
  • Crowdsourcing answers from a group, say devops, into a channel for #sales

You will likely find ways for your company to use Slack groups uniquely. Once you start using user groups, you may find it’s the feature you never knew you needed.

How Do I Create a Group in Slack?

Slack makes it a simple process for creating a group. It’s as easy to use as most Slack features..

Below a breakdown of the steps to create a Slack group.

One note, you cannot set up Slack groups from the mobile app. You must create them via the desktop app or web app. Once created via desktop, you can interact with your groups seamlessly across devices, including mobile devices.

Option 1: For Desktop App Users

If you’re using the Slack desktop app, take these steps for creating a group:

  • Step 1: Click the small hamburger menu in the upper left-hand corner
  • Step 2: Click “Go,” then “People & User Groups” from the sub-menu
  • Step 3: Click “User Groups” under the word “People” at the top
  • Step 4: Click “Create User Group”
  • Step 5: Complete the form and click “Next”
  • Step 6: Add your group members
  • Step 7: Click “Create Group” to finish

Option 2: For Web App Users

If you’re using the Slack web app, follow these steps for creating a group:

  • Step 1: Click “More” on the left-hand menu
  • Step 2: Click “People & User Groups”
  • Step 3: Click “User Groups” under the word “People” at the top
  • Step 4: Click “Create User Group”
  • Step 5: Complete the form and click “Next”
  • Step 6: Add your group members
  • Step 7: Click “Create Group” to finish

PRO TIP FOR BOTH APPS: Keep in mind that user group names must be unique. The name will not be available if it is already used as a channel name, display name, or another user group’s name.

Final Thoughts and Considerations

As Slack grows at your company, sometimes making sure that all the right people see messages in the first place is half the battle. Slack user groups help manage that problem. Give them a whirl and see if they add value to your Slack experience.