← Nathanael Silverman

A collection of thoughts from one human being

How Life360 Used Slack to Establish Its Company Values

I work at Life360, where 5 values drive decisions. Everyone there knows those 5 values. Not only that, anyone there can point out countless examples of those values put in practice. How? I'll tell you.

For a while we used "high-5 cards." Employees received actual physical cards. On each one we'd fill out the name of another employee and describe an awesome thing they'd done. Then we'd give them the card.

It worked, kinda. Giving and receiving high-5 cards felt awesome. But by 21st century standards, it was a laborious process. Real cards were printed and distributed on a schedule. People had to write, not type. The reward came long after the fact. And cards usually went to the people you worked closest to, over and over. The practice eventually died.

In the midst of this, we started using Slack—aka. IRC 2.0—as our main communication tool. Slack is great for a lot of reasons, and it has one notable feature called "emoji reactions." React to a message with an emoji, it'll appear below the message in question. Simple & easy. But here comes the best part.

It also works with custom emojis. And so we created 5 new emojis, one for each Life360 value.

Artwork by Amanda Clark.

Left to right: "Know Your Users," "Respect," "Commit to Excellence," "Be Accountable," and "Take Big Swings." 

Near everything we do gets discussed in a Slack channel. Including every value-driven decision and value-embodying action. When that happens, people now react with these value-emojis.

Our Slack bot then reposts these messages to our #values channel.

Deployed on February 2nd, our Slack bot has recorded over 300 value-reactions. That's an average of 5 per work day for a team of 50 Slackers. It feels like values have become a routine part of conversations. It's easier than ever to show appreciation. And extraordinary contributions are surfaced across teams and channels.

Well played, emojis. Well played.

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