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How Silver Eagle uses Workshop to share videos with frontline & office employees

"I feel like we're pretty advanced at internal comms now, and that's because of the Workshop platform."

Jennifer Mathis, Communications & Media Manager

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What’s Silver Eagle Distributors Houston, and what’s your role there?

My name is Jennifer Mathis, and I’m the Communications and Media Manager at Silver Eagle Distributors Houston. We distribute a broad selection of domestic and import brands, craft beers, spirits, and a growing portfolio of non-alcoholic brands like water and energy drinks. Silver Eagle Houston employs over 1,100 employees who serve the Greater Houston area.

How is your internal comms role set up? What’s your team look like?

I started as a Communication Specialist in 2021 and we quickly grew the team to include a Communications Coordinator and take on more responsibilities like media, external marketing, corporate giving initiatives, etc. I report to the VP of Marketing and VP of HR which works well for the company because of the split with internal and external comms. Because of Workshop, we have really developed the team and advanced our internal comms.

And who are you sending messages to?

We are sending communications to about 1,100 employees in total. It’s a mixture of both employees with a company email and front-line employees without a company email. Because nearly half of our employee base is in the market or in a warehouse facility, we have really taken advantage of the SMS capabilities with Workshop.

 

What’s Silver Eagle Distributors Houston, and what’s your role there?

My name is Jennifer Mathis, and I’m the Communications and Media Manager at Silver Eagle Distributors Houston. We distribute a broad selection of domestic and import brands, craft beers, spirits, and a growing portfolio of non-alcoholic brands like water and energy drinks. Silver Eagle Houston employs over 1,100 employees who serve the Greater Houston area.

How is your internal comms role set up? What’s your team look like?

I started as a Communication Specialist in 2021 and we quickly grew the team to include a Communications Coordinator and take on more responsibilities like media, external marketing, corporate giving initiatives, etc. I report to the VP of Marketing and VP of HR which works well for the company because of the split with internal and external comms. Because of Workshop, we have really developed the team and advanced our internal comms.

And who are you sending messages to?

We are sending communications to about 1,100 employees in total. It’s a mixture of both employees with a company email and front-line employees without a company email. Because nearly half of our employee base is in the market or in a warehouse facility, we have really taken advantage of the SMS capabilities with Workshop.

How’s it going with Workshop?

It’s just the perfect package. We’ve been extremely happy with Workshop; all of the features and the team, too. It has really changed our internal comms by adding that touch of professionalism. At our size, I feel like we’re pretty advanced for our internal comms… and we’re advanced because of this platform.

What were you using for internal communications before us?

We used a combination of PoliteMail – a plug-in with Outlook – and Poppulo for newsletters and the more creative communications. We use Paylocity for our HRIS, which has some communication pieces through the app and digital signage.

What’s been the difference from that other internal email platform?

It was challenging. Both of those platforms were very limiting in design. It was not an easy drag-and-drop like Workshop. The PoliteMail plug-in crashed my computer, and not only that, but I was manually updating distribution lists every Monday with new hires and every Thursday with termed employees. For monthly newsletters in Poppulo, there were a little more design capabilities, but it was still very limiting. The templates looked like they were from the 90s. The design just wasn’t there, and the sync with our HRIS wasn’t there.

Another thing that we really wanted to implement was the use of videos and also text messaging. It was difficult managing two different platforms just to get out all our comms. We were paying for two very similar programs, so we actually saved money by moving to Workshop.

How are you using text messages?

Those frontline employees – when they go on break, they’re going to check their text messages first over any emails so we want to reach them. We cross-post our email sends to text messaging for that purpose.

And video?

Every Monday, we send out our Weekly Update video via email and text. The week prior, our Communications Coordinator will record different employees throughout the week reading a script that we create for company announcements. People really love it. Everyone likes seeing employees and putting names to faces. They like being on it, whether they admit it or not. It’s really helped with engagement.

So the Weekly Update video is the first point of distribution for anything. After that, there might be a second email that goes out later that week or the week after, it just depends on the content. We have also tried to segment the content as much as possible and tailor it to the right audience, which we weren’t doing before.

 

Oh, so you’re segmenting by location? Any other ways you’re dividing your distribution lists?

We break out the company by position, location, and teams. We have a people manager list, a leadership list, and a veterans’ specific campaign. At the beginning of every month, we have a birthday email that goes out to everybody celebrating birthdays that month. We have a similar email for anniversaries that month. We do more HR-related or benefit-related sends, too. We use all of it!

What’s the internal comms creation process like on your team?

We have a spreadsheet offline where we track all of our assignments – we have a lot of moving parts – so it’s easy to delegate tasks and forecast using the spreadsheet. Once the Communications Coordinator drafts an email in Workshop, I will go in and review the draft. Once the communication team has finalized the draft, we will utilize the Test Email function to send it to leaders for final approval before scheduling.

How are you using email analytics and statistics and stuff?

We do a quarterly report for our leadership that focuses on open rates, read time, etc., for the different campaigns. We’ve used the campaigns and the distribution lists to pinpoint groups and see who has the lowest open rates. We then reach out to the managers and teams and see how we can get those employees more engaged. It’s usually not a surprise, but seeing the actual numbers is great data.

OK, we’re just about done! Anything to say about Workshop support?

I can’t say enough about Katie [Silver Eagle Houston’s Customer Success Manager]. From the initial onboarding team to everybody that I’ve worked with since, the whole team is extremely nice and helpful. I also really appreciate the opportunity to give feedback and the fact that you want that feedback to make the system better for the end users.

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