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How to create a workflow & best practices

How to create a workflow & best practices

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If you're all-in on Slack, you already know that your best work happens in Slack when all of your tools and systems are connected and centralized in one place.

And now, you can create automated workflows with Polly so you can collect and measure ongoing feedback on some of your most critical processes. With Polly's workflows, feedback can be collected on just about every internal process and workflow – you can even set it once and forget about it, but still have a constant stream of data right when and where you need it.

The best part? You can create most workflows with Polly without having to write a single line of code. For those of you wanting to do a little bit more technically advanced workflows, you can check out our API docs to get started.

In this guide, we'll walk you through creating your first Polly workflow, so you can collect ongoing feedback on your day-to-day work without the mundane task of having to set up manual surveys every time.

Setting up your workflow

A workflow is comprised of a few core components: the trigger, the survey(s), survey audience, and the survey delivery. In this section, I'll go over what each of the components means, what you can do with them, and well as how to set it up.


We'll have a few pre-built workflows, but we encourage you to build your own workflow as well.




A trigger is an event that takes place that kicks off your workflow. This is the event that Polly will look out for so Polly knows to start the workflow whenever the trigger happens.

Currently, you can pick a trigger from any of the following events:

  • Slack workspace joined
  • Slack channel joined
  • Emoji reaction
  • Slash command
  • API

Slack workspace joined

Every time a new member is added to your Slack workspace, it triggers the workflow.

Example use case:

  • If you have a dedicated community workspace that your customers join for onboarding and general questions, you can send an NPS question a few weeks into them becoming your customer based on when they joined the customer workspace.

Slack channel joined

Every time a user has joined a specified channel, it triggers the workflow.

Example use case:

  • For channels dedicated to cohorts of new hires, new channel members can give feedback on how their onboarding experience was like with their cohort.


Slash command

Whenever you want to kick off your workflow, especially for something that is more ad-hoc, you can trigger it manually by using the command /polly workflow and pick the correct one from the drop-down.


Example use case:

  • Ad-hoc processes such as software implementation rollouts, you can manually trigger them with a simple slash command to collect mass feedback from the right audience


Emoji reaction


You can choose any emoji, from the standard emoji library or a custom emoji that you use within your workspace. For custom emojis, you'll need to type in the correct emoji shortcut (e.g. :ThisIsAnEmoji:) but for standard emojis, you can just copy-paste the emoji into the field if you don't feel like typing out the emoji shortcut.

Emoji reactions as the workflow trigger is scoped to a channel and emoji combination: meaning, for every time an emoji reaction like  is used in a specified channel, it kicks off the workflow.

Example use case:

  • For approval processes using emoji reactions (such as ✅ to signal it's been approved, it kicks off a follow-up survey)


API call


You can programmatically kick off the workflow with an API call – for more info, check out our docs.

Example use case:

  • With the Polly API connected to Salesforce, for every closed opportunity, a quick post-mortem survey will send out to the Owner about the lost/won lead.


Advanced Trigger Options

Here, the data from the trigger will populate the appropriate fields (metadata), and you have the option to rename them if you wish.

When you are creating a custom workflow, the trigger metadata will not be displayed by default, but you can choose to display it and rename as something else that is easier to understand. By renaming, it changes how it is displayed in data tables and in the survey or poll.


For the new hire onboarding example, I can rename the @displayname to change to "New Employee". When the survey is sent out, at the bottom it will show the metadata as "New Employee: Luke". When you're viewing results, the field will also be displayed as "New Employee".



Following the triggering of the workflow, a poll or survey is sent to your audience at the desired time. Workflows can have as many surveys as you want – surveys are the vehicle that collects feedback at scale for you.


At the top, you’ll see a summary of when the survey is expected to send, and to who it will send to. In the above example, the survey First 90 days on the job is going to send immediately to the user that joined the channel.

For each survey template selected, you’ll see a preview of what the poll or survey will look like in Slack. For surveys, you can even click on the options to advance to the next question, as if you’re taking the survey!


  • Get workflows set up faster by selecting a pre-existing template in your library that’s all ready to go, and they stay separate from your standalone templates.
  • We encourage you to create these survey templates before creating a workflow, and saving them to your template library. We recommend giving them names such as Onboarding Workflow Survey 1 and Onboarding Workflow Survey 2 and so on so forth so that you can easily find and use the right ones.
  • Double and triple check your workflow before you hit Save – once the workflow is running, you can only tweak certain parts (so that your results don’t get all screwed up!) and it would be a huge bummer to have to start over again.

For survey templates used in workflows, they will be automatically duplicated from the original template in your library and serve as a duplicate copy in the workflow. These copied templates will only live within the workflows, and any changes made to the template copy that lives in your template library will not reflect in the template copied to your workflow surveys.

This is to prevent errors in reporting and analytics when drastic changes are made to the original template unintentionally when used elsewhere.

Survey audience

Survey audience

This is the audience that will receive the survey – it can be based on the trigger data (which is dynamic)  such as the user that joined a channel, or fixed, such as #channel or @individualuser.

The audience here is similar to picking the audience for a regular poll or survey – as an example, you can pick #general to receive the survey, even if the trigger happened in the #developer channel.

Additionally, you can also combine these to be a static audience and a dynamic audience from the event that triggered the workflow (e.g. you can send it to the new employee and also the #managers channel).


Survey delivery

Survey delivery

For each survey, the default delivery is immediately after trigger or you can schedule it a specified number of days after trigger (such as, 7 days after trigger). Your options for delivery can be in minutes, hours, days, weeks, or years after the trigger.


Sample rate (coming soon!)

Unlike survey sampling size where only a percentage of the audience is served a survey, sample size here is based on the trigger and not the audience. This means that if you wanted a 20% sample rate, it will send to 100% of the audience, but only 20% of the time whenever the workflow is triggered.


Putting it all together

Once you’re all done setting up your workflow, you can set the workflow live by hitting ‘Create Workflow‘. When doing so, it will run automatically in the background until you disable it.

What’s next?

Digging into the results, of course! Check out our fully comprehensive guide on digging into your results on the workflow dashboard.

Would you rather use a pre-built workflow?

We have a few out-of-the-box workflows that you can use today – you just have to configure the right audience and a few other details. We’ll be adding new workflows over time – and we’d love any suggestions or ideas you have for workflows. To learn more about using pre-built workflows, check out our guide.

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