Why: Employee involvement can make a big difference to the strength of your company newsletter. A publication that comes down from the top, with writing by senior management, can leave employees indifferent and frustrated. On the other hand, if the content and production of your newsletter shows substantial employee engagement, it will help build employee loyalty and-just as important-understanding of company goals.
How: You can involve your employees in many ways in producing your company newsletter. Let people know that (if your newsletter is new) you think that employee involvement will be essential. Form a newsletter team and schedule a kick-off meeting where you outline goals for the newsletter. Invite discussion and ideas about additional goals, and content.
If your company newsletter already exists, announce that you are looking for new talent and give people the chance to contribute new ideas and energy. Have a meeting to engage everyone and re-start the process.
At your kick-off meeting, invite people to sign up for different tasks, such as writing, editing, designing, and taking photographs. If your newsletter will be hard copy, you’ll also need people responsible for printing and delivery. If it will be part of your company intranet, find a volunteer to work with the house IT team.
When: Almost any time is the right time to get employee involvement in your company newsletter, especially if its focus is the employees themselves. If the economy has slowed you down, plan on a short and simple format that doesn’t cost much. If days are slower than usual, invite employee participation as a way to keep them busy, and informed, about what is going on. A newsletter that shows up more often (at least once a month) is better than one that appears only quarterly, because its news and information will be current and of more interest.
Who: Who is in charge of starting your company newsletter-or keeping it going? Is this someone in marketing, or public relations, or human resources? It doesn’t really matter, as long as everyone is in agreement as to the newsletter’s goals. Marketing tends to be very good at writing and designing. Public relations understands how to choose the right tone of voice, what content will go over well, and how timing is important. Human resources has perhaps the best perspective on what employees Rhode Island are experiencing and what information will be helpful to them. Given all of this, you might want to form a core newsletter team with someone from each area!
When seeking employee involvement, don’t make the mistake of bypassing areas, such as an assembly line, or van drivers, or maintenance. Good writers can be found almost anywhere-and even if someone is not strong in writing, he or she might be very smart about what topics are current or what employee concerns are growing.
What: What is your newsletter going to look and feel like? In addition to hard copy versus intranet, will it be a brief, one-page black and white update delivered weekly, or a six-page four-color glossy that comes out quarterly? Will it contain birthdays and weddings, memorials and promotions? Puzzles and an occasional recipe? Or will it be entirely business-like, focused entirely on company goals and employee achievements in improving product or service quality?
In coming up with the answers to these questions, remember the goals you established, and work with your newsletter team to reach your decisions. And be sure, of course, to keep senior management informed about progress, and to get any sign-offs needed.