An internal company newsletter can be a very important vehicle for the company to reach out to its stakeholders, particularly its employees. By keeping the workforce informed about company policies, activities, products and services, an internal newsletter can strengthen the company’s communication efforts while create a sense of unity in the organization.
Many executives, from the senior or junior management levels, as well as rank-and-file employees, tend to overlook the importance of an internal company newsletter. This may be brought about by having dull, uninspiring newsletters in their respective firms. If only their companies had newsletters with the following elements, then these individuals would perhaps spend more time reading internal publications:
1. It Contains Things That Employees Care About
An internal newsletter should be all about the employees, and the things that matter to them. Contrary to popular misconception, it is not a propaganda piece by the organization. It must have stories that impact the workforce and not the management.
As such, the stories in the internal company newsletter should be about anything that directly affects the employees. New HR policies, IT programs to be rolled out, and new products and services are some of the topics that should be front and center in a company newsletter.
Internal publications should not only deliver news articles but also feature stories. The really good newsletters have feature stories on employees’ lives outside the workplace. This type of write-up would enhance employee interest on the publication, and make them read the newsletter because they are likely to pay attention on stories about them.
2. It’s Easy to Read
Employees are too busy at work to spend a lot of time reading articles that sound to be culled straight out of an academic paper. Moreover it is very unlikely that they will bring the newsletter at home and read it, unless there is an article about them.
Thus, the really good newsletters are written in plain English. The tone of the stories is conversational. This way, the employees won’t think twice about reading them even at the workplace. Plus the articles are bereft of technical mumbo jumbo.
3. Short and Simple
Aside from being fun and easy to read, the articles should be short and simple. After all the employees will still have to work in the office, and the newsletter should not distract and prevent them from being productive. And it is no secret that employees at work have short attention spans. Thus, the articles should be short and easy to digest.
A newsletter that is too long, or with too many pages, will likely end up being in the incoming tray and not picked up by the intended recipient.
A good internal company newsletter is consistent, from the design to content. Again, this is intended to benefit the busy reader as employees would know where their favorite section is, and immediately flip to the page and read the story featured on it.
The frequency should also be consistent. The newsletter should not be published on an irregular basis. Most of the good company newsletters are published on a monthly basis, keeping the workforce engaged but not too overwhelmed by company news.
5. It’s a Feel Good Platform
The company newsletter should make employees feel good about themselves and the organization that they are part of. Thus stories about the achievements of the company, like an award or accomplishment of financial targets, are often times the headline of good internal publications. Feel-good stories like an employee doing a deed (returning a wallet full of cash, or a lost cellphone) that highlights the admirable qualities of the company personnel are usually featured in internal publications.
6. It’s Fun to Read
Keeping the readers engaged is one of the challenges that business communicators have to deal with when making an internal newsletter. While publication of feel-good stories is one way to keep the readers interested, there are other ways that can make them spend a few minutes to read the newsletter or even pass it on to a colleague.
One way to do so is to run competitions like trivia and quizzes, with simple prizes awaiting winners like gym membership or restaurant offers. Tips or how-to articles will also be greatly appreciated by the employees, especially if the articles concern their health. Promotion and reviews of employee social events like family day, outings, tree planting day, outreach and sports activities will also capture the attention of the busy reader.
These are just six elements of a good internal company newsletter. Business communicators or members of an internal communications team should strive to have these six elements in their publication. Doing so will ensure that their target readers—the employees in particular—will be well-informed and motivated to do their best for the company that they work for.