If you are thinking about starting up an employee newsletter, consider these tips. If you already have a newsletter, use them to review your current approach:
Tip #1: Be clear about why you need an employee newsletter. For example: Have you gotten so big that people can no longer exchange information face to face? Has there been conflict that a newsletter could help resolve? Have you just acquired a new business, and need a way to communicate progress with the merger? Are employees asking to be fully informed about what's going on in your organization?
Tip #2: Before you get very far, define your audience specifically, not just as "employees." Are you writing to everyone, both salaried and wage earners? Is your newsletter just for the people in manufacturing? By knowing who your audience is, you'll have a newsletter that speaks directly to your readers. Some organizations like to send their employee newsletters to investors or trustees. Keep this in mind as you develop content.
Tip #3: Who is on the newsletter team? Regardless of whether the newsletter is based in HR or Marketing, involve employees from a number of areas. Unless your newsletter is a simple benefits update, don't just issue information from HR. Invite employee opinion pieces and engage employees as reporters. You'll generate energy and improve readership.
Tip #4: Design: Use design consistent with company logo and colors, but don't be rigid about it. Have some variation to suit your purpose. For example, use a smaller version of your organization's logo and a larger logo specific to the newsletter-if you are a baker, for example, consider a drawing of a loaf of bread. A clever but not excessively cute name is always a good idea. Check with your marketing people for ideas about appearance and consistency.
Tip #5: Ideas for content: Now that you know your purpose and your audience, you have some good guidelines for content. Here are some suggestions:
* Recognition of achievement, awards, anniversaries
* Announcement of critical changes: budgetary, union, new senior management
* List new employees with a little about their background
* profile of an employee of some interest
* Announce new clients
* Anything big going on? New quality control initiative? Use the newsletter to inform employees and help gain their buy-in.
* A Q&A gives employees a chance to get answers to questions. If you offer this, be absolutely sure to do as promised and provide the answers!
Tip #6: Timing and consistency: Be clear at the start about the timing of your newsletter and stick to your plan. (This is true for any newsletter.) Employees need to feel they can count on seeing their newsletter when promised.
Tip #7: Distribution: How will you distribute the newsletter? Employee mailboxes? Bulletin boards? Be sure to keep the latest newsletter on display. If you e-mail your newsletter as a PDF file, have hard copies available for employees who don't work with a computer.
Tip #8: Do you really need a newsletter? Or are you better off with an intranet with regular updates? This will only work if all employees have computers. To save money, consider e-mail news with a template through your IT department or using an e-mail service provider like Constant Contact or iContact.
Copyright (c) 2010 Jane Sherwin. You may reprint this entire article and you must include the copyright info and the following statement: "Jane Sherwin is a writer who helps hospitals and other healthcare facilities communicate their strengths and connect with their readers."