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How Hudl creates more happy Mondays with Workshop

John Rost

Monday, 9 a.m. 

This is a story about how Workshop helped Hudl create happy Mondays at the speed of scale. To tell it, we’ll spend some time with our friend Haleigh Brouillette, Senior Communications Manager. 

 

 

The company
If you’ve been anywhere near a sports team in the last 5 years, you probably know Hudl. Hudl is a fast-growing sports technology company with an innovative video analysis tool that helps teams use data to level up their game. 

Hudl was one of the first companies to use Workshop. Both businesses are located on the Silicon Prairie in Omaha and Lincoln, Nebraska. With the success of Hudl’s flagship product and service, they’ve gone global, growing exponentially and acquiring along the way. Today, Hudl has over 3,000 employees in 18 countries.

 

The internal comms team
Those 3,000 employees are all under the wing of Haleigh Brouillette, Senior Manager of Corporate Communications, and her small-and-mighty internal communications team. The team has a wide-ranging list of responsibilities:

  • Make sure every employee has the information to do their job well, and to communicate with one another
  • Share important communications for HR, like open enrollment
  • Help the wider company understand the strategy and roadmap
  • Coordinate with workplace operations for social events and reminders
  • Make working at Hudl even more enjoyable!

How has your internal communications team evolved with the company?

“We needed software to level up, because we’re a grown-up big company now. We needed something to scale with us and track what we’re doing.”

With employee groups growing in size and complexity, Haleigh and team knew they weren’t reaching everybody all the time. They weren’t sure their lists were accurate as teams evolved, they were juggling time zones and groups, and on top of all that they were trying to send out information on behalf of other departments!

In fact, Haleigh told us about logging in on Sunday night at midnight to try and send emails that would land at a decent time for employees outside of the U.S. Yikes! That does not sound like it makes for a happy Monday.

“Now I can have headers and dividers and all sorts of different things. It’s more in line with what the rest of our brand team is doing, and our internal voice matches our external voice and employees are getting the same experience that our customers are getting. It’s pretty cool.”

Where it was a stretch to even use brand colors or nifty fonts in Outlook, Workshop gave Haleigh full design powers in an easy drag-and-drop editor. Internal emails feel more in line with what the rest of the Hudl brand team is doing, and her team has an easier time matching their brands and giving employees the same experience as Hudl customers (which is, indeed, very cool). 

 

What tools were you using before Workshop?

“Back in the day we were just sending emails through Outlook … We were shooting things out like ‘I hope people read this, because I don’t really know’”

It sort of worked for a small team, but the Hudl crew quickly grew into a distributed team, and suddenly Haleigh had no idea whether someone had the info they needed to succeed. It’s more than just an internal comms issue when this happens – it affects HR, operations, and more. So they tried to shoehorn one of their other tools into the job.  

“Marketing had Marketo, but couldn’t share it with Internal Comms. So we would send them a document that had everything we needed in the email, and then they would put it in the other software and send us a test email. It was a really bad back and forth.”

Using a tool that’s designed for external marketing is tempting, as it was for the Hudl team at first. But Haleigh quickly ran into problems – complicated processes with other areas of the company to make it work, customer and internal data in the same place (which messes up both), and an overall lack of flexibility.

examples of internal communications emails

What are you sending to everyone?

“We call them our heartbeat comms. Things that are always happening like All-hands, event announcements and coordination. We also share information to help everyone do their jobs well, like our rolling 5-year product roadmap. 

Haleigh’s team focuses on these core internal communications, but Workshop has enabled them to coordinate with other departments, too.

  • Heartbeat comms for everybody
  • Weekly newsletters
  • Department and company-wide strategy updates
  • Event announcements
  • Open enrollment and HR information
  • Company retreat coordination
  • Social event announcements and details
  • Office- or location-based information

“Hudl is a highly distributed company, with offices around the world, and even those offices are remote/office hybrid – email is the only scalable way to communicate. One of our biggest challenges has been to localize AND globalize our different communications.”

Even with a wider array of chat and intranet tools in their tech stack than ever, the Hudl team realized something common among Workshop customers. Email is still king. In fact, a huge majority of respondents in our 2024 Internal Comms Trends Report said the same thing. All-company email spans time zones, locations, internal silos… and internal comms has the power to wield it! 

Another big value-add for Hudl has been sharing Workshop with their People Operations team. When emails are sent that have compliance requirements, Haleigh is able to accurately share the record of that communication, and it doesn’t just live in someone’s outbox. 

 

Who else in the company is using Workshop? 

“People keep asking us to come into Workshop! We started with our comms team and then it expanded out to our operations team, workplace ops team, people operations, and most now the sales team is sending their own weekly newsletter, too. We get asked probably once a month, “do you think Workshop could be used for this?”

The Hudl team is a great example of something we see often – as internal comms departments start to have Workshop success, other departments come knocking. They’ve added seats in five departments, eliminating back-and-forth and adding visibility each time. It’s easy to manage sharing and privacy settings, create dynamic distribution lists for different groups, and keep it all straight on the Workshop content calendar.

 

What kind of feedback have you gotten?

“Well, the first email that we sent out we got a lot of “Is this spam? People didn’t believe that it was actually an internal email because it looked like something a legitimate company would send.”

Now that’s flipped, Haleigh tells us. If someone gets an email that’s not branded, people think that’s spam. Building consistent and easy-to-use internal branding is super hard in Outlook – the interface just doesn’t play nice with images and never quite works how you want it to. With Workshop, Haleigh and Hudl are able to keep all of their brand elements, colors, and design tools at hand, and just about anyone can make an email that’s more fitting for a global tech company to send. 

 

What’s are your favorite features in Workshop?

“Our IT team has everybody separated out into the groups that they need – based on team, location, tenure, anything…  I don’t know how it works, but it just *beep boops* in Workshop. It’s magic.”

One of the team’s top Workshop features is the ability to segment email lists, and even segment parts of individual emails to users within that list. Hudl uses segmentation specifically for open enrollment now that they’re a global organization – team members outside the US have no use for that information. Haleigh can put an open enrollment reminder in a newsletter and simply hide that section for non-US employees. 

Another favorite for a distributed, large team like Hudl’s is Workshop’s test emails. They were bogged down with the inefficiency of getting all the right people and departments “looped in” and wrangling all the approvals required. With Workshop, any user can build the email and quickly send a test email for everyone to look at. We should have paid Haleigh money for this quote, “You can get an email from Google doc to out the door in minutes.”  

“Campaigns have been awesome. We go in and look every Monday at our weekly newsletter campaign to see how it’s doing and what levers do we need to pull.”

Workshop lets Haleigh and her small team keep templates and past emails at hand, and study the data and effectiveness of their newsletter campaign over time. Each week, they optimize their message so they can feel confident that everyone’s getting and engaging with the right information. They can also see all-time analytics to show leadership and other teams their work. Campaign archives keep a live record of all past newsletters, too, which makes for easy copy-paste-update on repeating messages.

 

How do you use the analytics that Workshop provides?

“Now we can send an email and say, actually, this many people opened it. We feel pretty good about the reach. It’s taking work off our plate, and it’s also validating the work that’s getting done.”

Haleigh’s Hudl team – and the cross-departmental teams that now share Workshop – can see who’s opened what, which they use to cut way down on re-work. Eliminating re-send has had a few distinct benefits.

  • Teams know that their email landed to the proper employees
  • Employees don’t get overloaded inboxes for every messages
  • Team leaders can re-send only to the people that didn’t engage

 

What would you say to any internal communicators considering Workshop?

“(Workshop) is the hill I will die on. You could take it out of my salary for all I care.”

No notes.

Thank you, Haleigh!

Book a demo today to discover how Workshop can you bring more happy Mondays to your team.

 

 

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