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How custom Slackbots can help foster inclusive office culture

Published November 12, 2018

At Ten Forward, we want all employees to feel respected and valued. 

When you have diverse staff - whether it's race, gender, neurotypicality, religion, age, etc. - that goal takes effort and iteration. 

We all make missteps or false assumptions, but the key is to realize when they happen and learn how to improve.

One of the ways we help with that? 

Custom Slackbots!

Eradicating "guys"

Ten Forward is half women, and like many women, a lot of us prefer not to be referred to by the word "guys" (because it's not gender-neutral). 

At the same time, it's an ingrained habit, and some Ten Forwarders (both men AND women) struggle to remember. One Ten Forwarder recently asked for help with alternatives he could use, and another said his social anxiety made it hard for him to be called out in public, but that he wanted to do better. 

If only there were a way to configure a list of autoresponses to selected words that could be displayed at random ...

Slackbot to the rescue!


Curbing ableist language

Similarly, there are a lot of common words that can be hurtful to people with disabilities, intentionally or not. Especially given the 171k+ words available in the English language, we think it's much better to choose an alternative word if there's a chance your first inclination might cause harm.


Language matters

Even small adjustments can go a long way toward making everyone feel included. Writing custom Slackbots allows us to gently remind people of their options in a goofy but effective (and non-judgmental!) way. It's not "language policing" - it's language polishing. 

And in the end, it's all about that R-E-S-P-E-C-T.


Author details

Hilary Stohs-Krause

Software developer
@hilarysk