Using MailChimp to Communicate with Large Employee Populations

How do you communicate with a large number of employees at once? National and global companies usually rely on email to reach their different and sizeable employee populations. The real question is, “Are people even reading these emails?” Wouldn’t it be nice to see analytics about who is opening, receiving and even engaging with those email communications?

That’s where MailChimp comes in. This email marketing service provider allows you to create emails, sign up forms, newsletters, etc. and send them to massive lists of employees.

There are a few variables that make sending an email to a big audience tricky. MailChimp makes this process almost seamless. They allow you to upload lists of respondents from a variety of outlets like Excel, Salesforce, Mac contacts, Google Drive, and more.

Once you have your list uploaded, you can schedule your campaigns. Say you have a communication that is recurring a few times during one month. MailChimp allows you to set times for your communications to be sent out so you don’t have to manually send it yourself. This feature comes in handy when you want to send something out frequently or at 3 am in the morning so it’s ready for people when they get to their inbox.

Another common issue is that when someone starts to receive emails that aren’t relevant to them, they start to ignore similar emails. While doing discovery work for a client, Tribe found one of the main issues was over-communication via email. As a result, some employees started to ignore later emails. MailChimp allows your recipients to unsubscribe from lists so they can pick and choose which communications are relevant to them and receive only those.

Arguably one of MailChimp’s most valuable features is its analysis tool. After an email is sent MailChimp tracks who opens the email, who clicks any link within the email, and how many times they open the email and click links within it. This is a great way to see, for example, what departments are finding your communications relevant or who is ignoring them. You can use the analysis to track what time emails were opened as well as see a global geographic breakdown of where they were opened.

Creating a MailChimp template is relatively easy which gives almost anyone the ability to make one. Although, some great custom or branded designs can be created if you have the resources (i.e. designers, art directors, etc). After you create your design, MailChimp automatically creates a mobile version. This comes in handy when you are able to reach your employees via their mobile devices.

Finally, MailChimp can be used as a channel. It’s ideal for sending monthly newsletters or even company-wide announcements. Tribe recently designed and coordinated a MailChimp blast for a client who was announcing the launch of a microsite regarding a coming change. The email had links and information directing employees to the new microsite so employees had virtually no excuse to not go to the site.

Need help planning, designing, or launching a MailChimp campaign? Tribe can help!

Early Numbers Surprising in Tribe Research on Silos

Silos seem to be a concern in most large companies. Several global companies we’ve worked with at Tribe struggle with silos created by one of two reasons: having numerous brands under one parent company, or due to rapid growth by acquisition.

But brands and acquisitions don’t appear to be the most common factors for companies divided by silos. Early results of our current national research with employees of companies with workforces of 5,000 or more show those two indicators trailing behind other reasons for silos.

Departmental silos are the most common, according to our early numbers. Over 55 percent of respondents so far selected departments as a cause of silos in their companies. This was the most frequently selected answer in a list of eight possibilities. (Respondents were asked to check all that apply.)

Brands were cited as a source of silos by only 8 percent of early respondents. We likely see more of this at Tribe because we’ve worked with several holding companies for multiple apparel brands as well as a global company in the travel industry with numerous hotel brands.

Acquisitions are also at 8 percent for early respondents. Aligning new companies with the vision and culture of the parent company is a perennial challenge faced by companies growing through acquisition. Connecting employees across those acquisition silos is an obvious first step there.

Business units were noted as silos by 40 percent of the early respondents. One possible note of confusion is that many companies refer to both their brands and their acquisitions as business units.

Geography is responsible for silos, according to 28 percent of these respondents. This number lags further behind the business units number than we expected.

One interesting note is that silos separating executive leadership from the rest of the company was moderately high at 19 percent. Actually, we just threw that option into the multiple-choice mix at the last minute, since we’ve often heard employees mention that their top management was out of touch with the day-to-day realities of the business. But apparently, employees across a wide range of companies feel disconnected from their executive team.

For more on silos, including employees’ recommendations for how to break them down, watch for Tribe’s white paper on the topic. The survey will close this week, with final results at available by September on the Expertise page of the Tribe website.

Need to connect employees in your company across silos? Tribe can help.


Communicating with Employees that Work from Home

Earlier this week, I had the pleasure of working from home. Okay, so pleasure might be the wrong word. But it was a nice deviation from the ol’ nine-to-five. I actually started work much earlier. Without my normal commute, I was able to start at around 8:00 AM. I finished up some writing for a client, worked on Tribe social media, played with my cat Jeffery (known to the Tribe office as the Dark Prince), and got a good deal of work completed before the time that I usually arrive at the office. “This is great,” I thought, “Why doesn’t everyone work from home?”

I soon answered my own question when I realized all that was absent from my daily routine. I wasn’t able to prepare my coffee in the kitchen and catch up with my co-workers about the happenings of the weekend. I missed the usual Monday debriefing in the studio. I don’t mind admitting that I felt a little left out.

But it wasn’t just the camaraderie that I missed. When I emailed the completed projects to the team, I wasn’t able to get their initial reactions, and when they responded with feedback it was hard to read emotion and emphasis in an email. When it came to next steps, I felt like I was always asking for clarification.

With most of the Tribe team in the office, we tend to take for granted the benefits of these human connections in the office. But we’ve all worked from home or on the road at one point or another. So I asked around, and jotted down a few communication tips that could help remote workers feel a little more in the loop and part of the office team.

1. Keep communication going even if it’s informal.

Through all of Tribe’s research and employee surveys, there is one thing that all employees seem to want: human connections. It gives you another reason to come into the office. By making these human connections at work, you put more emotion and purpose into what you do every day, which translates into better work.

While you certainly don’t want to create unnecessary distractions, it helps if throughout the day people reach out to those remote workers with something more than a request for work or feedback. Just a quick email to recap office happenings or inquire about their day can go a long way.

2. Be explicit in direction/instruction.

When you’re working in the office, there are these automatic micro check-ins that happen throughout the day. Most times it’s a quick exchange to see how a project is going, but other times those check-ins save people from going in the complete wrong direction.

Remote workers don’t have that benefit. They get their instructions and go, and they don’t stop until they run into a problem or they’ve finished. If you leave any room for imagination, there could be a deviation in message and it could end up costing a lot of time and money to fix.

3. Always close the loop.

I sent in my first batch of work for feedback at 9:15. The email didn’t ask any questions, so there was no real need to respond immediately. I sent it to three people, two of them responded almost immediately with a “Great!” or “Thanks!”, but the third person didn’t say a word. Although I originally felt I didn’t need a response, I started worrying that he didn’t get it. I waited, checked my email over and over, then I began thinking, “It’s terrible and he hates it. He’s typing out all these revisions instead of responding.”

Turns out he was at a doctor’s appointment. But I didn’t find that out until hours later. In a world where everyone is instantly accessible, silence can say a whole lot (and it generally doesn’t say very nice things). Be cognizant of this and always close the communications loop.

Having trouble communicating with remote workers? Give Tribe a call. We’d love to help.