How CNI Was Able to Boost Employee Email Engagement With ContactMonkey
Creating beautiful email newsletters
Difficulty executing and measuring an effective internal communications strategy across multiple teams
An dedicated internal communications email solution to drive employee engagement and measure success
Government Relations Services
Number of Employees
Chickasaw Nation Industries, Inc. (CNI) is a federally contracted holdings company owned by the Chickasaw Nation. The company oversees over 14 limited liability companies (LLCs) across industries ranging from broadcast services to manufacturing. With over 1,900 employees and operations across 40 states, CNI recognizes the importance of effective communications for connecting partners and clients alike. A portion of the company’s profits goes towards supporting the wellbeing and economic development of the CNI communities.
Communicating across a holdings company means connecting and engaging a large audience and diverse industries. The new internal communications (IC) manager at CNI had the responsibility of coordinating between employees across 14 companies. This became a challenge using email software that wasn’t dedicated to internal communications.
“There’s always been a high need to communicate here—We have so many different lanes and they’re all working for their own little departments. We have 14 different LLCs that we manage—from IT to healthcare services, to broadcast services and we have some commercial businesses.”
From IT and broadcast services, to healthcare and manufacturing, the IC manager’s job was to keep everyone engaged and in-the-know. But using Mailchimp—an email marketing software—simply checking if and when emails reached employees became a daunting task.
“We were interested in reporting and our [old] tool just felt limited.”
With employee training as part of the IC manager’s key responsibilities, not knowing whether staff were accessing vital training resources, or even opening emails, was problematic to say the least. Essential training materials seemed to be sent into a void.
At the same time, the IC manager found the design opportunities offered by their email marketing tool equally limited. It became difficult to create employee communications that garnered any signs of engagement.
The IC manager understood that it was time to swap their email marketing software for a dedicated internal communications tool.
When the new IC manager joined CNI’s IC team, they had just landed on a software solution dedicated to internal communications. ContactMonkey became a game-changer for CNI, which the IC manager got to experience both on the training and communications sides of his role.
“I’m seeing a breakthrough on the training side. I’m getting more and more contract employees reaching out to me requesting some training. So I know that the word is trickling down.”
How was the IC manager and his team able to achieve these outcomes? For them, it was the combination of advanced email design, better reporting, and interactive features that allowed them to gather feedback and improve messaging. “There just seemed to be more diversification and opportunities with ContactMonkey,” says the IC manager.
Using ContactMonkey’s email template builder, the IC team was able to start making their employee emails more visually dynamic. The ability to embed interactive elements like GIFs and videos into employee emails helped to boost engagement. Meanwhile, the ability to embed documents as smartlinks allowed the IC team to share resources in more engaging ways.
“I’ll put GIFs in there and other kinds of communication. If it’s an informative type of communication, like what we did for our diversity month email or Black History Month, we [add] some links in there that send [employees] to other areas. There’s a way to link the documents as opposed to attaching them.”
After testing out new elements in their internal communications, the IC team could learn whether they were actually resonating with readers. “We try to do the survey option on ContactMonkey every single time,” says the IC manager.
By embedding employee pulse surveys and anonymous comment boxes, the IC team received guidance for improving their employee communications. Although there was a learning curve, it helped them recognize what to do (and not to do) in the long run.
“I’ll get some comments that [there is] too much information in these emails. I’m learning if I’m a little wordy or if I throw too much information at them. So we’re using those to learn and to tailor our communication to make it more impactful for employees.”
Alongside direct employee feedback, the most impactful feature for the IC team was the accurate and detailed email analytics. With ContactMonkey, they can track email open rates, click-through-rates, read times, and more, all from the analytics dashboard.
“I have my intern run a weekly report and he sends it to me. Our open rate—I didn’t even know what it was before.”
With ContactMonkey, the IC team was able to step up internal communications across CNI, while getting vital insights to continuously improve. With ContactMonkey’s incredible Client Success team, the IC manager was also able to get a strong support system in this process.
“I’ve been really just impressed. Shane, and Adrian before him, have been just lightning quick at getting back with us. They’re kind of setting up a really hard expectation to maintain […] If I ask ‘How do I do X?’ Shane is all over it and helping me out.”
The Training and Communications Manager at CNI had to balance engaging communications with effective distribution of key resources. It was important to get detailed analytics on whether documents were being opened and updates were reaching employees. At the same time, finding new ways to get employees reading, responding, and sharing feedback was essential. With ContactMonkey, the IC team at CNI are able to find the exact support they need through a number of features:
- Videos and GIFs—which were not compatible with CNI’s previous communications tools—allowed for more visually engaging internal communications
- Using smartlinks instead of bulky attachments helped the team share documents in a more easy and accessible way which increased engagement with important resources.
- Accurate and in-depth email analytics helped the team gauge if key communications were reaching employees and what content was resonating.
- Employee comments to ContactMonkey’s embedded pulse surveys allowed the team to learn how they could improve their internal messaging from those who it impacts the most.
- Fast technical support from the ContactMonkey client success team helps the IC team continuously optimize their internal communications
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