Slack: Connecting Our Global IT Team

Challenged with a way to connect our expanding global team, welcome new employees, build a sense of community, and easily share information and ideas, C.H. Robinson IT looked to Slack. Slack is a collaboration hub that brings the right people together with all the right information and tools to get work done.

Fast forward two years and our entire IT department is using Slack. With nearly 500 public channels, even more private channels, and an abundance of direct messages, Slack is saving more than 6,000 emails per week.

Learning and Sharing

At C.H. Robinson, we’re extremely fortunate to have an engaged and highly talented team dedicated to each other’s success. We recognize that ongoing learning and career development can come in many forms. One of the best ways to learn and grow is by tapping into the existing knowledge and expertise from our global team.

Slack makes that possible, by enabling us to:

  • Share and request information
  • Search channels and public conversations
  • Receive relevant notifications
  • Build relationships across the globe

Building Social Capital

Research shows that the most successful teams and organizations have a culture where people help one another and share ideas. Margaret Heffernan says:

No idea is born fully formed. It emerges a little bit as a child is born, kind of messy and confused, but full of possibilities. It’s only through generous contribution, faith, and challenge that they achieve their potential.

Healthy social capital brings people with solutions closer to people with needs, skilled and passionate people closer to opportunities needing to be filled, and success closer to those who are most likely to make it happen. By recognizing, contributing to, and learning from each other, we become more effective and influential. This intensifying effect makes our entire team greater than the sum of its parts which helps each individual to continue to grow.

Slack Helps Those Who Help Themselves

Our hosting and DevOps engineers harness Slack’s knowledge-sharing potential to manage a formidable number of requests. Instead of email, as was the pre-Slack custom, the hosting and DevOps teams encourage all communication be directed to an appropriate Slack channel—and everyone benefits! Answers are available to anyone in IT, and anyone can jump in if they’re able to lend their expertise.

Even robots can join: Charlie, the IT chat bot and our favorite coworker, saves the DevOps humans hours every week with his unique set of skills.


Even though we’re in different physical locations (and time zones), Slack connects all of us in C.H. Robinson IT through this one digital space. Not only are we able to learn from each other and build our network, we have also improved our sense of community. With that community behind us, innovation can flourish, making the impossible possible.

The Case of the Missing Phone

Our IT-wide #general channel has over 1,200 members. The channel is home to warnings of open car windows on rainy days, information about volunteer opportunities, and a variety of organizational announcements and knowledge sharing. A common post is about abandoned phones in meeting rooms and enclaves. Late last year, on a warm September day, friends on the #pets channel from Eden Prairie, MN to Kansas City, MO recognized the beautiful tortoiseshell kitten featured in the background photo of a lost iPhone. Her name is Lindi and her mom is Greta! The phone was returned in minutes.

Missing iPhone feat. Lindi
Alicia Smith posted this photo of the missing phone to the #general channel.


These stories are just a few small examples of a much larger cultural impact. Even though we’re distributed across the world, we’re still emotionally invested in each other. Slack makes it easier to communicate with our fellow team members and makes us an even better department!