You may remember this scene in an old movie: the kid is on the street corner with a pile of newspapers yelling out to the crowd that passes by, "Extra, extra", read all about it!" Newspapers were the only source of information for the general public. When a special edition came out, it was called an "Extra", and it meant that something big had happened.
Has your team thought about starting an employee newsletter? It can be a great way to help engage your team members and communicate throughout your departments. The following are six questions you will need to ask yourself before you get started.
- What is it that you want to achieve? Do you want to motivate employees and improve your work culture? Keep employees up-to-date on what is going on across departments? Our goal for our newsletter was simple: "Celebrate, Communicate, and Educate." We wanted to focus on the employees and their roles, and tie everything back to the company in a positive way. The tone would be upbeat and positive.
- How frequently should it be published and how big should it be? Newsletters work best published on a set frequency. Should it be Monthly, Bi Monthly, or Quarterly? You want your information to be current and fresh if possible. How many pages should it be? The amount of content and frequency should determine the size.
- What should I call the employee newsletter? The name of your newsletter is very important. It should have some kind of significance for your readers. It would be fun to have a contest to name the newsletter and have a prize. The contest would generate interest and get the staff excited about the newsletter before it ever comes out.
- What will be my content? See question one. Content should always follow what you want to achieve. Our newsletter includes a great deal of focus on newly hired employees. We feature a different department each month. We recognize birthdays and service anniversaries and promote programs that would benefit to our employees.
- How will it be produced, and what will I need? You will need to either download a newsletter template or design one from scratch. We used a free template and then transferred it to Microsoft Publisher with the help of one of our team members that is very experienced with Publisher. Have a good digital camera to take photos and use as many as you can. Employees like to see photos, and it draws attention to the article. You will want to consider color or black-and-white. Cost may be a consideration. Ours ended up being color and four pages, with a photo for every article.
- Who is going to help you? You may have a newsletter committee, or you may be the one person who has responsibility for the newsletter. You will need help. I have two team members that proofread my drafts. No matter how close I look at it, there are always some misspelled words or something out of place. It will be a work in progress and should get better with time. Start simple and build on it. Seek input and participation as you go.
Do you have an employee newsletter? What has it done for your team?
Steve Numbers is the corporate services leader for Hospitality Operations at Westfield and is responsible for providing support for monitoring and reporting results of all customer service programs for Westfield Groups Hospitality Operations. He also coordinates and performs all orientation and universal standards training for seasonal and full-time hospitality employees. In addition, he supports all audio-visual products and services for the corporate home office and service offices.