Exemplis: A Mailchimp Alternative Better Suited for Internal Communications
Creating beautiful email newsletters
Improving employee engagement, proving internal communications ROI
All-in-one internal communications solution
Create, Engage, Track
Number of Employees
Exemplis was founded in 1996 in Southern California. They are currently the largest volume manufacturer of office seating in North America. Recently, they have expanded their product portfolio to provide their customers with a full suite of office furniture offerings.
About Corey Kachigan
Corey started at Exemplis as their Employee Engagement Specialist. She’s now in the role of Engagement and Communications Lead (or as she likes to put it, Lead Fun-gineer). Corey directly reports to the VP of Human Resources, and now handles all employee engagement, internal communications, and corporate social responsibility at Exemplis.
- Exemplis is undergoing a phase of massive growth and they’re averaging double-digit growth year over year, with headcount doubling in the last three years alone. The team is spread out across multiple locations and has a remote sales staff across the United States.
- When Corey started back in 2017, there were no internal communications. They had no newsletters of any kind and were just sending out random ad-hoc emails for announcements.
“Our receptionist would email: ‘Hey, whoever left their coffee mug in the sink, please clean it and take it back to your desk.’ And it’s like, okay, that just went to 200 people.”
- Corey and her boss realised that they needed a way to send out meaningful content in addition to understanding and evaluating how employees were engaging with their communications and to ensure everyone was aligned with the core values and company vision.
“We need some metrics to gauge whether this is working or not. We’re rolling out all these things, but we can’t tell if employees are even clicking these emails. Our team is inundated with hundreds of emails a day. How do we know they are reading these and how do we know they find it valuable? We have no idea.”
- Before ContactMonkey, Corey was using MailChimp for internal newsletters. When using MailChimp the team faced difficulties importing templates, updating employee mailing lists and found they had no way of whitelisting certain information.
“Obviously, this isn’t ideal at such a fast-paced company; not being able to tell if employees were actually reading and clicking on their emails and announcements, or how they felt about them if they were.”
- With a constantly changing team spread all over the country, and with more product launches happening in one year compared to the last 23 years, Corey and the team needed a solution that would allow them to stimulate engagement between a diverse group of employees.
- Their goal was to focus on growth while ensuring that employees continue to align with the company’s culture, resolve poor communication practices that existed across the company, and put metrics in place to gauge how their internal communications efforts were working and understand the return on investment from communicating effectively with employees.
“I needed to make sure the solution I chose was easy, accessible, navigable, and scalable.”
- When Corey was shopping around for an internal communications email software, she wanted to be able to prove a return on investment for communicating with employees.
- We were trying to look for a platform where we can say, hey there’s a return on investment for communicating with our employees and they can give us feedback on certain things, they can also tell if they like it or hate it.
- Corey found that ContactMonkey has a really crisp format that functions well with Exemplis’s Outlook inbox. With ContactMonkey all employee communications come straight from her Outlook email address, instead of a third-party system like MailChimp.
“The thing I love about ContactMonkey is that it allows us to communicate more consistently with our team, but also be able to have the data to back it up. When we used to send out newsletters, we didn’t really have a way to see who did or didn’t open it, who clicked what and they couldn’t interact with the communication besides reply to me, which was super cumbersome.”
How ContactMonkey’s Internal Email Sending Solution Helped Exemplis
With ContactMonkey, the Exemplis Employee Engagement team has benefited in the followings ways:
- They can now turn their newsletters into a two-way communication channel with pulse surveys and gather employee feedback through ContactMonkey’s comments feature.
- As small sectors of the company start to roll out their communications initiatives under Corey’s guidance, communication can now be rolled out on a smaller scale whilst staying on brand. There’s no longer the strain of using multiple platforms to get to the result. Her fellow employees can just plug and play with templates.
- Gather employee feedback and keep a pulse on how employees are actually feeling.
“Our team loves to be able to give us real time responses. We have a philosophy that feedback from our team is the engagement of our team. Silence is one of the biggest disengagement warnings for our team. Giving our team the chance to interact with pulse surveys monthly, comments weekly and ratings frequently has allowed us to informally check in on our team without sending another bulky engagement survey.”
- Using the email analytics, the team can present data to the CEO and get input on how to execute on similar initiatives.
“Our team is pretty obsessed with the data attached to it. We always want to know the open rate, how many people clicked the link. Right now, we’re averaging a 70% open rate on our weekly communication to the team with click rates hovering between 20 – 30%. For a manufacturing environment, we are proud of that. Before using ContactMonkey I wouldn’t have had any of that data.”
- They can arm other team leaders who might want to create newsletters.
“We’ve started to use ContactMonkey for our manager workshops. It’s a much smaller group, so we have a 100% open rate, but the important part is seeing what links they click on. This helps our Training Manager know what material managers are searching for in between the workshops and shapes future training.”
One of the larger indicators of success is if employees are tuning into company communications. Since introducing ContactMonkey, Corey can now understand what actually engages employees and also conduct random pulse surveys and gather employee feedback in a consistent and efficient way. With ContactMonkey’s internal communication software the Exemplis team have benefited in the following ways:
- Employees feel like they understand the company’s strategic alignment.
- Employees feel like their manager supports them.
- Communication with the team can now happen consistently and has data behind it.
- Updates and changes in the organization can be communicated in an effective, interactive manner, especially with multiple teams and during seasonal hiring cycles.
- Corey finds there are much fewer errors in the employee newsletter due to the design and functionality of the ContactMonkey internal communications tool and integration with Outlook.
- The team have become more accountable and can identify what actually engages employees.
- Prioritize connecting with employees and understanding where their pain points are.
- Start rolling out communications into smaller areas of the business where it still feels very consistent to the brand and who Exemplis is internally.
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