TD Ameritrade cuts email use by 30% after Slack rollout

Email has long been the go-to tool for internal communications. But ensuring the right information gets to the right employee can be challenging – particularly for companies with thousands of employees across different locations.

At TD Ameritrade, email was central to corporate and team communications – and workers sometimes felt bombarded with messages not particularly relevant to their jobs, according to Neal Obermeyer, senior manager for digital workplace and channel effectiveness for the company.

At the same time, employees sometimes missed out on important conversations going on via email, with “choke points” getting in the way. “Information in email is essentially useless to anybody who is not in the conversation,” said Obermeyer. “As far as our organizational intelligence goes, information in email might as well not exist.”

Hoping to bolster communication and cut down on email annoyances, the financial brokerage firm rolled out a company-wide move to chat-based collaboration tool Slack – effectively shifting information-sharing and conversations from email to public channels.

Following a pilot project involving a few hundred staffers, Slack was pushed to the entire workforce at the end of 2018, replacing numerous disparate collaboration tools. (TD Ameritrade, which was acquired by the Charles Schwab Corporation last week, has workers distributed across the U.S. at 10 corporate offices.)

In the past year, the company has quickly seen improvements to communications and a dramatic fall in the volume of email, according to TD Ameritrade CIO Vijay Sankaran.

“Since adopting Slack, we’ve seen about a 30% decrease in sent emails,” said Sankaran. He noted that the reduction is likely even greater once calendar messages such as invites and RSVPs are stripped out. “So, it’s safe to say a large amount of our communications have moved out of email and into Slack.”

Sankaran said communications sent in channels are more effective in engaging employees. Public channels, essentially chat rooms for conversations or announcements, are a key feature of Slack; any discussions and related information posted are viewable by those in a given workspace.

Copyright © 2019 IDG Communications, Inc.

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