Employee newsletters serve as a main communication channel by many co-ops to release internal news and information. While newsletters hold vast potential to keep employees up-to-date and engaged with co-op news and happenings, that potential remains largely untapped in many cooperatives. Whether you’re thinking of starting an employee newsletter or want to resolve pain points with your current newsletter, this article offers several tips for success. Let’s dive in!
A common assumption regarding internal communications is that all employees must always receive the same message at the same time. This simply isn’t the case.
If you are looking to boost the open and engagement rates of your cooperative’s employee newsletters, include dynamic content blocks that are tailored to the needs of the co-op’s various employee groups. Most co-ops have workgroups that work in drastically different settings. As an example, consider a utility co-op that has office employees, warehouse employees, field crews, and other workgroups. Each of those employee workgroups has unique information needs and preferences for receiving that information.
Here are a few examples where dynamic newsletter content may be beneficial:
While overarching static content is typically needed in work newsletters, adding sections of dynamic content will help you cater to the needs of each workgroup. Most digital newsletter creation platforms (typically the paid versions) include the option for dynamic content creation. Adding dynamic content that will appear for each relevant work group will make employees feel that you understand their workplace needs and can increase their engagement with the newsletter’s overall content.
There is no universal ‘best time’ to release employee newsletters. Every co-op is unique. Thus, the ideal time to send a newsletter to your employees will be unique to your cooperative. The most effective way to find the ideal send time for your newsletter is to test sending it at different days/times.
Here’s a quick step-by-step testing process to get you started:
This is just one example of the many ways that you can use data to improve your internal communications efforts. Want to learn more? Check out our playbook, How to Use Data to Improve Internal Communications. It includes a step-by-step process for making data-driven decisions and also features a suite of useful planning templates.
Should your employee newsletters be posted in digital form, be printed, or released in both digital and print versions? While printing an employee newsletter may seem archaic to some, it remains an essential option for many companies to reach their workforce. For example, if you work for a grocery co-op, many of your employees likely don’t have work email addresses or may lack access to a corporate intranet. Placing copies of a printed newsletter on breakroom tables or requiring shift workers to read the newsletter at the beginning of their shift may be the best method for relaying needed information.
If you’ve struggled to get employees to open and engage with an emailed newsletter, try posting it to your intranet instead. Also, be sure that your digital delivery channel is optimized for mobile. Again, whether your newsletter should be printed, posted on an intranet, emailed, or handled through a combination of channels depends on your cooperative’s industry and specific workforce.
If you want employees to read the co-op’s newsletter, make the content useful and interesting. But, how can you learn what content employees will find useful? Ask them!
Sending a survey to employees that asks for feedback on the newsletter and invites suggestions for future topics is a great way to begin tailoring the content to the workforce’s needs. Another effective approach is dividing the workforce into groups. You can then email one group in advance of planning each newsletter’s content—rotating groups that are emailed throughout the year—and ask the group for topics they would like to see covered.
Here are a few additional ways to invite employee feedback:
Those who feel they have a say in something are more likely to show commitment for that something. Asking for feedback—and acting upon it—shows employees that their opinion matters.
As mentioned above, tracking any available analytics of digital newsletters will provide essential insights to help you hone content to topics that employees prefer. For example, by tracking the newsletter’s engagement rate and testing different types of content within each newsletter, you’ll begin to notice trends in the types of content that employees like (and dislike).
In his book “How to Win Friends & Influence People”, Dale Carnegie accurately said, “A person’s name is to that person, the sweetest, most important sound in any language.”
Employees are much more likely to open a workplace newsletter when they know there’s a chance that their name could be featured within it. Here are a few ways that you can feature employees within the co-op’s newsletter:
While knowing that their name may be listed might prompt an employee to open the newsletter, engaging content is what will get them to stay. Achieve consistently high engagement rates by pairing the strategy of featuring employees with a commitment to including useful content.
Employee newsletters hold great potential for engaging your workforce with important news and information. Develop a newsletter that engages and motivates your cooperative’s employees by using dynamic content, honing an ideal send time, including useful content and featuring employees whenever possible within that content.
Looking for additional ways to infuse strategy into your cooperative’s internal communications efforts? Check out the book, “Successful Employee Communications: A Practitioner’s Guide to Tools, Models and Best Practice for Internal Communication”. It’s packed with useful and practical tips for improving your organization’s internal communications content strategy.
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Cadenced Communications helps corporate leaders and communications professionals find the best rhythm of communications for their organizations.
Strategic and streamlined corporate communications bring organizational cadence by improving interdepartmental relationships, motivating employees, increasing productivity and more. Our useful tips, tools and resources are designed to help you begin improving communications in your company today.