HIGH FIVE TO THE ONLINE EMPLOYEE NEWSLETTER
It usually starts with a problem – your employees want company news, but are quickly overwhelmed (and thus less thrilled) when that news comes at them from multiple sources, at different times of the week. So someone comes up with the brilliant suggestion: “what about an employee newsletter that consolidates this news?” And just like that, a singular, central “source of truth” is created and everyone rests easy believing that every employee will open, read and even engage with the content that looks and reads just like another company update or, worse still, report.
And when engagement doesn’t follow and readers drop off, everyone blames the internal newsletter as an outdated form of communication.
The problem is not the employee newsletter.
It’s how it’s used (and often abused).
An employee newsletter is not just an effective way to consolidate company news (which it does), it’s an opportunity to engage readers.
Five common mistakes to avoid:
Too long – and your employees will start eye rolling every time they see it land.
Too much information – it’s one part of the internal communications puzzle. It shouldn’t have to be all things to all people.
Too frequent – pick a date and stick to it – weekly, monthly or quarterly. Less is more.
Too boring – it should never look or read like a report. So make sure you use photos, graphics and even experiment with GIFs, video and audio (where appropriate). Remember, the brain processes visuals more easily than text, while videos and audio (when short and occasional) stimulate the brain in new ways.
Too formal – of course this depends on the type of company and industry you work in, but even then newsletters should find natural ways of communicating that will engage people.
GET THESE 5 THINGS RIGHT:
1. Make it employee-centric
Make sure you adapt your tone, style and messaging to appeal to your audience. For example, instead of naming your update “Important changes in company safety policy”, call it “How we plan to keep you safe” and then make sure you explain the changes in plain language.
2. Keep it short and visual
Catch your employees’ attention by keeping it short and visual. Keep the content to the point and the design visually appealing. So don’t shy away from the use of colours in your design or images in your stories. The objective is to make the newsletter fun and interesting.
3. Make it regular
The end goal – employees should come to both expect and look forward to your employee newsletter. So choose a regular date and timing and stick to it. Regularity makes sure that employees are updated timeously on important information.
4. Make it inclusive
The newsletter should be for all employees, not a select few. Not all the content needs to appeal to everyone, but your content framework should be inclusive enough to ensure that there is something for everyone.
5. Measure your efforts
If you want to improve your newsletter practices, you will need to measure them. By measuring open rates, click through rates and other metrics, you can make data-based revisions to your newsletter content and design.
Your content checklist (and what is says to employees):
- Company news (we want to include you)
- Training opportunities (we want to grow you)
- Competitive intel (we want to support your goals)
- Employee recognition, eg success stories, top performers and achievements (we see and value you)
- Employee feedback and surveys (we hear you)
- Upcoming events/employee calendar (we care about your wellness)
- An element of fun, eg book recommendations, restaurant reviews, or TV shows worth binging (we are a community)
TRY THESE 5 CREATIVE IDEAS:
1. Message from leadership
Employees respond to visible leadership. If you want your employees to share the company’s vision, they need to know where the company is heading and what their leaders are thinking/doing/planning. A personal message from leadership is a great way to build a spirit of transparency, keep everyone up-to-date on what’s happening and make leadership seem more accessible and approachable. (Top tip: a different leader could do a newsletter “takeover” for special occasions, eg the company anniversary, etc.)
2. Employee milestones
This is the perfect platform to include congratulations on employee accomplishments, or other important milestones that celebrate and elevate your employees in the eyes of their teams and the business.
3. Customer success stories
Instead of telling employees how important their roles are worth to the business, you could tell a customer success story that evidences this. Sharing how teams have solved a customer’s problem or exceeded their expectations makes employees realise the impact they can make on the business. This is the perfect place to share customer-oriented stories on occasion.
4. Employee calendar
This is a great way to promote planned social events, workshops, lectures and company-wide team builds for the up-coming months.
GOT IT? NOW DO IT, AND MAKE IT YOUR OWN
A day in the live of and employee or team
People love personal stories. Not only is this a great way to highlight and showcase a business unit or team and the value they add, it is also a great way to strenghthen employee relationships across larger enterprises.