Can an Internal Newsletter Revitalize a Hybrid Workforce?
The convoluted way we work today, combined with the tug-of-war for leverage between employers and employees, has led to employees feeling disconnected from their employers.
Just last year, Gallup reported that 19% of employees are miserable at work, with feelings of sadness, anxiety, worry, pain and stress.
Another survey, this time by market intelligence firm Aspect43, revealed that while 51% of employees feel burned out, only about 15% of employers consider it a top concern.
Revitalizing staff should be top of mind for organizational leaders — and forcing them back into the office is unlikely to make that happen.
One thing that may help, though, is an internal newsletter.
Can an Internal Newsletter Really Help Improve Team Morale?
The idea of an internal newsletter may sound overly simplistic — and perhaps even a bit dated — but newsletters are a great way for leaders to share information, provide updates on business projects and keep employees engaged on the company's goals, initiatives and accomplishments.
Internal newsletters can also play a vital role in enhancing team morale by fostering a sense of community and communication within an organization, said Veena K V, head of people ops at FirstPrinciples.
The idea, however, is to make it fun and engaging. When employees don't converge to the same location every day, good work can sometimes go unrecognized, so including success stories and the excellent work employees do, for instance, are must-haves.
"Newsletters are also used to appreciate the efforts and performance of the employees," said Khunshan Ahmad, CEO of EvolveDash. "Appreciation is one of the quickest ways to make your employees feel valued and give their best."
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The Best Ways to Make Internal Communications Engaging
An internal newsletter that does not engage the audience is doomed to fail.
To ensure that employees read and digest the content of the internal newsletter, Dmytro Sokhach, a serial tech entrepreneur, says it's important to provide unique content, do some A/B testing to assess engagement, and seek feedback from employees.
Veena K V says companies should also use eye-catching graphics, images and infographics to break up text to make the content easier to read. Employee achievements, birthdays and milestones should be celebrated and mentioned in the content.
Other content of interest can include surveys, Q&A sessions and polls, which can be utilized to determine what employees think of the content or what they'd like to change about the workplace itself.
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Consistency is also important, said Sokhach. Branding the newsletter and making it more recognizable to staff is a great way to build a sense of belonging.
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Newsletter Mistakes to Avoid
Unfortunately, many companies don't take their internal communications as seriously as they do external ones. As a result, there are often mistakes made that wouldn't occur if the newsletter was sent to customers. Here are five of the most common — and easy to fix:
1. One-size-fits-all. Sokhach said companies should segment their employee list, sending different internal newsletters to various departments — just as they would for various groups of clients. This strategy allows you to build newsletters that provide the most valuable information to workers.
2. Lacking humanity. While some internal communications today are written by AI technology, Sokhach warns that doing so can take the human tone out of the newsletter content. If employees don't think management has taken the time to create the newsletter, they are less likely to engage with it.
3. Going blindly. Too many businesses fail to single out goals and objectives, making the communications initiative almost worthless, Sokhach said. The effort should be measured against goal, just like any other initiative the company would undertake.
4. Information overload. Some companies tend to overload emails with too much information, Veena K V said. This can overwhelm employees, making reading the newsletter appear like a tedious task.
5. Using jargon. While every industry and organization has its own jargon, the internal newsletter should be fun and accessible to everyone. Using jargon can make it harder for employees to understand and connect with the information being shared. Similarly, too much fluff can crowd out the important bits and make the content look too formal and less personalized, which goes against the reason for creating the content in the first place.
The best advice: Be human and engaging, but don't force it. Ask employees for feedback, what they find most interesting, what they have time to read. Listen and act on that feedback. It's a great way to open up the communication and reach your employees wherever they are situated.
About the Author
Kaya Ismail is a business software journalist and commentator with years of experience in the CMS industry.