Category All, Best Practices Employee Newsletter: 5 Most Common Mistakes, 7 Best Practices and 13 Creative Ideas Keep your employees safe, informed and engaged by utilizing the best practices and ideas on creating the perfect employee newsletter. February 9, 2021 By Sara Ana Cemazar Employee newsletter came into focus of HR professionals and internal communications experts with increasing importance of communication in the workplace. Employers realized that they must use the right communication methods to keep their employees informed. Moreover, employee communication should break the organizational silos and engage employees in their work. As one of the most used employee communication methods, email ensures everybody is informed and engaged. Right? Well, not exactly. Nowadays, many employees are frustrated by getting too many emails, and important stuff often get lost in the shuffle. This is exactly why employee communication experts now must use the best employee newsletter practices at their disposal to catch employees’ attention and ensure they are safe, informed and engaged. ☎️ Read on to find out what are most common mistakes, best practices and ideas around creating and sending employee newsletters. Before we start, get down to the basics and find out the 5 reasons employee communication is essential for company success. What is Employee Newsletter First things first: what is employee newsletter at all? Simply put, employee newsletter is a company-wide update that is sent to all employees. Its content can range across variety of topics. However, the main goal of employee newsletter is to keep employees informed on important company updates and engaged in their work. 5 Most Common Employee Newsletter Mistakes Today, we receive more information on daily basis than we ever did before. Of course, employees are frustrated and stressed out by this. Their attention is often not where it should be, and they are unable to tell important from less important information apart. This is why internal comms experts must ensure that the employee newsletter gets opened, read and consumed by employees. However, in trying to do our best, sometimes we all make mistakes. These are some of the most common mistakes made when it comes to employee newsletter. Too long TL; DR! The popular abbreviation meaning “Too long, didn’t read” became somewhat of a funny catchphrase among younger generations. This is of no wonder, since research shows that the human attention span is rapidly decreasing. In 2000, average attention span was 12 seconds; in 2015, it was 8.25 seconds. It is as simple as that – if your employee newsletter is too long, there is less chance of your employees reading it. Too much information It is good that you want to keep transparency in your company and your employees updated timely. However, by sending employee newsletter too frequently, you are just contributing to the abundance of content your employees are bombarded with on daily basis. Moreover, even if you do not send employee newsletter too frequently, you might be including too much information in it. In fact, 34% of employees say that their internal communications do not work because important information gets buried by too much other information. Failing to catch your employees’ attention As explained earlier, human attention span is short. One of the main shortcomings of employee newsletter is that it fails to catch employees’ attention. Compared to the usually consumed content on social media or news portals, it can seem quite boring and mundane. This is especially true for Millennials and Gen Z who are surrounded by captivating online content more than other generations. Being overly formal Employee newsletter should not be or look like a report. Sure, you want to report some important updates; but reports are neither interesting nor easy to consume. Of course, the formality of your entire employee communication depends on the type of company and industry you work for. However, many companies are dropping formalities and are adopting more natural ways of communication to facilitate more open company cultures. In line with that, employees will more likely open and read employee newsletter if you present information in a storytelling manner. It is a more relatable and natural way to consume information, which is your ultimate goal. Avoiding photos Another common employee newsletter mistake is avoiding photos or any kind of visual items. Namely, 90% of the information that the brain processes are visual. Moreover, human brain processes images 60 000 times faster than text. Therefore, photos definitely belong to your employee newsletter. Once again, you should get rid of report-like feeling in your newsletter and aim for easily consumable content your employees will love to receive. Employee Newsletter Best Practices Have you been making some of the most common employee newsletter mistakes? In addition to avoiding them, make sure you also utilize the following best practices. They will ensure you increase readership of your employee newsletter and keep your employees aware of all important aspects of your company’s business. Moreover, it will add to your employee engagement efforts by maintaining a transparent company culture. Make it employee-centric Employee newsletter should be employee-centric. This means that you must adapt your messaging to appeal your audience, i.e., employees, and make it all about them. For example, instead of naming your update “Important changes in company safety policy”, name it “We want to keep you safe” and explain the changes in plain language. Moreover, you will not have crucial business messages to convey in your employee newsletter every week. Instead, make it all about employees: create a positive company culture and spark engagement by writing success stories, sharing your coworkers’ accomplishments and recognizing your top performers in employee newsletter. ☎️ Find out how else you can showcase your employee appreciation. Keep it short & simple If your goal is to increase readership of your employee newsletter, you have to catch your employees’ attention. Therefore, keep it short and simple! In other words, avoid corporate language, do not go into details and estimate if your employees really need all that info you planned to send out. Less formality, more fun Your employee newsletter should be fun! Why? Because it is a great tactic to ensure it becomes a method of employee engagement. It would be great if your employees could perceive newsletter not as something they must read, but as something they want to read. Therefore, don’t scare away from little fun and make sure you engage employees with the employee newsletter content. Make it colorful and visual As explained earlier, our brains process visual images much faster than text. Therefore, include appropriate pictures into your employee newsletter as much as possible. Moreover, do not shy away from colors in your design. You want to make employee newsletter fun and interesting. Regularity Employees should come to expect and look forward to your employee newsletter. That is why it is important to make it regular. Moreover, regularity helps you make sure that your employees know they are timely updated on important information. Some companies choose to send one employee newsletter per week, while others have a bi-weekly newsletter practice. Addressing all employees One of the most important rules of employee newsletter is to make it inclusive for all employees. Yes, your internal communication strategy should allow you to diversify communication channels and make sure that communication is personalized and highly targeted. However, employee newsletter is one piece of content that should be distributed equally to all employees. Therefore, you should address all employees and make sure your topics range across departments to make everybody feel included. Measure your efforts Last but not least, you can only improve upon your employee newsletter practices if you measure them! Open rates, click through rates and other statistics is what marketing professionals use to increase the effectiveness of email marketing. So, borrow this tactic to make data-based revisions to your newsletter design. ☎️ It is easier to keep track of your email statistics with an employee communication software. Have a look at how our employee communication solution Nurture allows internal communication experts to reach and engage their employees. Keep your workplace informed with Nurture. Read more Employee Newsletter Ideas Now you know which common mistakes to avoid and what best practices to apply when it comes to employee newsletter. However, if you are new to the topic, you might be lacking ideas on what to include in employee newsletter to make it useful, readable and easy to consume. It is important to diversify your content and not do the same thing week after week. Here are some employee newsletter ideas you can apply. Employee milestones As mentioned before, employee newsletter should be employee-centric. Therefore, you can include congratulations on your employees’ work anniversaries, accomplishments, or other important milestones in your employee newsletter. ☎️ Make sure to also recognize your employees’ commitment to your company with the appropriate employee service awards. Customer success story What better way to show your employees how meaningful their roles are than to tell a customer success story? Sharing how your teams have resolved a customer’s problem makes employees realize the impact they can make. Therefore, it is a good practice to share customer-oriented stories in your employee newsletter on occasion. Message from the CEO Nothing breaks organizational silos and improves trust in an employer like a message from the CEO himself! Did you know that 82% of employees believe that regular company-wide communication from the head of their company is important? At the same time, 44% of employees say that their most senior company leader is not visible to employees. Overall, it is a very good practice to include your leadership in your internal communications strategy. Why not start by including an inspiring message from the CEO in your next employee newsletter? Industry news To keep your employees in the loop with the industry, inform them of its latest trends. Keeping up with the pace of your competitors is always a good idea. Moreover, it can spark innovation. However, make sure that you don’t overdo it and include too much information on industry in your employee newsletter. A day in the life of an employee or a team Now this is an example of employee-centric employee newsletter! Describing a day in the life of an employee or a team within your organization would be a great employer branding exercise. In fact, it can also strengthen employee relationships in large enterprises. Moreover, such an initiative improves company culture and increases employee motivation and employee productivity. Just make sure that you represent different departments and type of workers – both digital and non-digital workers – in such an initiative. Updates on company policy, financial news, product updates Updates on company policy, financial news and product updates is what you would expect for an employee newsletter to contain. Of course, it is important to diversify such information and present it in a reader-friendly way to increase readership of this important content. Employee surveys Did you know that an average employee survey response rate is merely 30%? The goal of employee surveys is to identify rising issues among your employees. However, are you getting the full picture if only a third of your employees actually fill out the survey? You can always include a reminder to fill out the survey in your employee newsletter or explain how the survey results will help you tackle the challenges you face and introduce some new initiatives in the company. ☎️ Here are the 70 employee survey questions every employer must ask. Introducing new initiatives Are you rolling out a new employee wellbeing initiative? Are you running a company-wide lottery, charity event, or are you updating your compensation and benefits policy? Have some of your employees started a book or hiking club? Include the news in your employee newsletter! Reading recommendations On a lighter note, you can always include reading recommendations in your employee newsletter. The books you recommend can also be novels or sci-fi and not always business-related. Play around and see how your employees react! Job openings Including job openings in your employee newsletter is a good idea. It will serve your employees as a reminder to spread the word of new opportunities in your company. Of course, employees will be more encouraged to do so if they are eligible for an employee referral bonus! ☎️ See what are other tactics to smart recruiting. Recognizing employees Employee recognition is a great tactic for improving your employee engagement, company culture and business results. In fact, 52% of employees want more recognition. So, tell your employees about Employee of the Month winners, share your employees’ biggest accomplishments and recognize other behavior you would love to inspire in others. For more ideas and best practices of employee recognition, check out these articles: How employee recognition improves customer satisfaction Why social recognition matters Thoughtful employee gift ideas Employee appreciation day ideas for 2021 Employee appreciation email templates to thank your coworkers. Development opportunities Employee development is crucial to company growth. In fact, learning and development opportunities are sought-after by many employees. You can notify your employees of workshops, courses or other training opportunities they can take in your employee newsletter. Employee calendar Let your employees know when you have special events planned, when you are organizing workshops, lectures or when you will have a company-wide team building. In other words, send your employees an event calendar in the employee newsletter. The fact that you want to improve your employee newsletter practice speaks volumes of your employee experience efforts! Here is an eBook you could also find useful: questions employees use to evaluate your employers. Get it and estimate how your employees would rate your company!