Slack, the uber-popular workplace messaging app, just rolled out User Groups, the company’s second update this week. The new functionality will allow companies to broadcast messages based on job title, the physical office an employee works in, or however else a Slack team opts to group its employees. Bringing new employees into the fold will also be simpler, as they will be added to all relevant channels when placed in a user group.
If a company were to create a user group called “engineers,” for example, employees could tag @engineers in a relevant message and notify the entire group at once. Getting new employees up to speed may also be simpler, as adding them to a user group also adds them to all the Slack channels, or chat rooms, used by that team. From Slack’s blog post announcing the update:
User groups also help you manage channel membership and bring an additional level or order to the team directory. When you create a user group you can define a default set of channels to which all members of the group will belong. Then, whenever you add a new employee to the @engineers group, they’ll automatically be added to every one of your related engineering channels and get up to speed on previous Slack discussions that much quicker. It’s a small part of this new feature, but a huge win that helps automate onboarding at growing companies.
Slack’s new feature comes several days after the company added group direct messages and made tweaks to its sidebar, by folding private groups into the channels section. These moves are intended to keep crucial messages from getting lost in a flood of content–and to preemptively bring functionality to Slack that could otherwise be deployed by competitors like HipChat first.
As of October 2015, Slack has 1.7 million daily active users, 1 million concurrent users on a typical workday, and 470,000 paid users. Fast Company is a paid Slack user.