Internal Communication

Employee Newsletters: How to Make Them More Engaging

Picture of Sociabble By   Sociabble  

Employee newsletters are a time-honored way to keep employees informed and engaged, and they make up a crucial component of any employee communication plan. But how can you make sure employees are actually reading them? Find out how to make your newsletters even more engaging and more likely to be read.

Employee communication has undergone massive shifts over the past decade thanks to new technologies, work plans, and office arrangements. One thing that has not changed, however, even in our modern digital age, is the crucial role that the employee newsletter can play. The digital missives of today can be just as important as the paper photocopies that were deposited in the employee mailboxes of yesterday. But one challenge that also remains: How can you be sure employees are actually reading them? How can you make your employee newsletters more relevant, engaging, and maybe even fun? We’ll discuss all this and more.

 

In this article, you will find the answers to these questions:

1. What is an employee newsletter?

2. Why should your company have an employee newsletter?

3. What are the benefits of an employee newsletter?

4.What should an employee newsletter contain?

5. What else makes a good employee newsletter?

6. How to get employees to read a company newsletter?

7. How to create an employee newsletter?

8. How to measure employee engagement with newsletter metrics?

 

1. What is an employee newsletter?

An employee newsletter is a means of internal communication commonly used by companies. It often complements other communication tools as well, and it used to be an actual paper document distributed to employees to keep them updated and aware of events going on at the organization. Today, employee newsletters are more often digital, and sent via email as part of a group message. This makes distribution easy, but it comes with a common problem: employees already receive too much information via email, and these documents are often ignored. Which is why it’s crucial to remember: the purpose of an employee newsletter is not just to inform, but also engage. Without engagement, nobody will ready anything!

 

2. Why should your company have an employee newsletter?

It’s important to remember that the employee newsletter is just one tool in your communications tool box—they aren’t enough on their own. But that being said, they play a very important role. Employees are often bombarded by information from all sorts of different channels, and it’s easy for critical details to slip through unnoticed. The employee newsletter is a great way of consolidating information and putting it in one practical place for employees to find, as they will all have their own way of seeking out what they need. And email remains an important channel. No, it should not be the only one, but nor should it be overlooked or underestimated. It remains an essential conduit for updates, and an effective way, if executed properly, of sending out an employee newsletter.

Employee newsletter statistics

3. What are the benefits of an employee newsletter?

So newsletters are theoretically a good thing to have, but what specific, tangible benefits will companies get from them? There are three obvious gains an organization can make if sending out effective newsletters, and ensuring that their workforce is reading them.

Keep your employees informed

Of course, you want your employees to be up to date on all important news of the company, but not only that. You also want them to be aware of what’s going on in the ecosystem they work in, including competitive analysis, new rules and regulations, and new industry developments in general. The added value for them is to always be current with the latest news.

With the Sociabble platform, for example, you can generate newsletters very quickly, and customize them in order to adapt to employees’ needs. For reoccurring newsletters, it is also possible to automate the sending of a formatted letter, to the whole company, or targeting of a specific audience (i.e. department, geography, level of hierarchy, etc.).

Keep your employees engaged

Reading a newsletter is definitely desired, but the real objective behind that is that employees engage with the content. Which means they understand it, they remember it, and, if possible, they even give feedback. This is why it’s important to always include a call to action within newsletters, in order to engage employees even further.

With Sociabble, you can encourage employees to access a survey to give their feedback, or to share content on their own social media directly from the newsletter, creating real engagement. It’s also possible to track the open rate and see who has read the email (various specifications are possible, in terms of department or location) and when.

Keep frontline and office workers aligned

Frontline workers often do not have access to information as easily or as immediately as in-office workers. This is why it’s especially important they receive a newsletter. It’s an asynchronous means of communication that is very practical for frontline scenarios, as they can access the information whenever they want, on their mobile devices. This holds true for deskless, remote, and frontline workers alike.

With Sociabble, admins can send newsletters directly to frontline workers, to their personal mobile phones. They will access the same content as the office workers, but with the convenience and flexibility that a mobile-friendly platform like Sociabble can give.

 

4. What should a company newsletter contain?

Of course, the obvious question: what to include, that will keep employees actively opening and reading the newsletter each time it arrives? Here are the most critical elements.

Employee newsletters subjects

Important announcements

This is basic, but that doesn’t mean it’s easy. When something important occurs in the company, the newsletter is an excellent means of communication, as you can reach everybody at once. For example, major accomplishments or acquisitions, new governance or top exec appointments, new rules or incidents, in short, any breaking news that needs to be taken into account to work efficiently. Communication admins just need to make sure employees understand that it is a top priority message, and this can be stated in the title, and in the format of the email if specified.

Staff newsletter section

What matters most at work is time! So when employees take the time to read a newsletter, they want some added value. Segmented staff newsletters are very valuable, as they make comms easier and more relevant inside a team or department. With Sociabble, you can target a specific audience and send them the news about life and upcoming events for their specific cohort. This is an efficient, complementary means of strengthening links in a team or department, especially when workers are not physically together. This level of focus and relevance can boost a sense of belonging and even team spirit!

Messages from leadership

Much anticipated and great for both transmitting information and boosting morale, these are key moments in company life. Newsletters can include a written message directly from the CEO, but they can also be used to inform about an upcoming event or announcement coming from top leadership.

Employee content ideas

Let’s give a voice to employees and let them share their ideas, too. On specific topics as well as more strategic ones, such as what they’re looking for in CSR programs, how they feel about remote work scenarios, and their general impressions of company life. Employees can and should contribute to the content of newsletters. Who better to talk about your organization?

 

Content ideas for employee newsletters

The Sociabble platform allows employees to suggest and vote on new CSR initiatives and projects, ensuring that their voice is heard.

 

Feedback on your employee health and wellness

Now more than ever, it is crucial to monitor employees’ mental and physical health. It is important that all employees have access to communication channels to alert leadership of an uncomfortable situation. Newsletters are perfect for reminding employees of such communication channels, as they are often unaware of who best to contact with wellbeing concerns, and such answers are not always obvious.

Industry spotlight newsletter section

It’s very important to know what is happening in regards to the company’s positioning within the industry, in terms of trends, competitors, innovations—generally, how it is interacting with its own ecosystem. Newsletters are perfect for conveying exactly this kind of information, in a way that’s also fun and relevant.

Best practices

Hybrid work has sometimes made exchanges between team workers more difficult or less frequent. Newsletters are very effective when it comes to sharing best practices and useful techniques that may not be common knowledge around the office. The water cooler chats of yesterday may be less frequent, but a good newsletter can fill in the gaps.

HR newsletter section

New arrivals and departures, job opportunities, training sessions—all of this can and should be included in your newsletter, because building awareness among employees is good for business. They might have great candidates in their own networks, or they might even be good candidates for promotions or new positions themselves.

Employee recognition newsletter section

This includes recognizing and celebrating good outcomes such as strong sales numbers, CSR involvement, solidarity initiatives, whatever is consistent with company values. The recognition of individual employees is good, as values are embodied by people with real stories; they are engaging and inspiring. Other employees can easily relate to them, so it becomes a lever of engagement.

Staff surveys and results

Newsletters are also excellent for asking employees what they think about a particular topic, and for encouraging them to answer a survey and give their opinion. A survey can also be useful to verify the understanding of a specific topic by employees. Newsletters are also helpful when communicating the results of surveys and the action plans to be implemented accordingly.

Sociabble, for example, combines both newsletters and surveys in one tool, easy to use for an optimized user experience, with no need to go to any platforms; everything is managed in one place, making everything easier for users and communicators alike:

 

Employee surveys

 

Customer feedback and stories

Customer stories and feedback are especially inspiring, but they’re often not well known by the entire workforce—they should be included! They give a sense of the everyday work going on across the company. Newsletters are perfect to share both breaking news such as the signing of an important deal, or more everyday news, such as client experiences or feedback.

 

5. What else makes a good employee newsletter?

We’ve covered what goes into a newsletter. But what makes it good? What steps do you need to take to make sure that content is actually read? Here’s how to make your newsletters shine.

Master the basics

Master the basics of employee newsletters by clearly announcing the topic, getting personal, and explaining things in a direct, educational, but conversational tone.

And keep it short! Most employees don’t have time to waste on content that isn’t relevant and helpful. Say what you need to say, and avoid any factual errors or mistakes.

Announce the subject clearly

Just come out and say what you’re trying to communicate. Transmit the benefit—why is this information helpful to employees? What will they get out of it? Make sure they know it’s in their interest from the get-go.

Make your employee newsletter fun

Reading an email is often not the most exciting thing in the world. Turn your newsletter into a fun and enjoyable moment, so that people can read it during a break in their workday, and turn it into an entertaining experience. With Sociabble, for example, you can use emojis, gifs, and integrate any other dynamic format such as pictures, videos, infographics, or external links that will make your newsletter more visual and appealing:

 

Employee newsletter tool

 

Provide added value

Content relevance is key. There is some content that’s relevant to everybody, and some that simply isn’t. Segment your audience and provide relevant content accordingly. For example, information on the annual review procedures is relevant only to managers, or a timetable change on shifts is relevant only to the team that is impacted. Helpful tips are often appreciated, like a list of dos and don’ts.

Make it easy

Help your employees by suggesting a key takeaway. Make information easy to digest, and make it clear exactly what they are going to get out of it. This way, they’ll never feel like they’re wasting their time, or reading something that isn’t useful.

Include call to actions

Generate engagement by encouraging employees to take action. It could be participating in an event, answering a survey, submitting new ideas, or sharing best practices. But make the action clear!

Ask for feedback

It’s important to evaluate the employee pulse, to gauge reactions. People are used to giving their opinion in their everyday life, about a restaurant or a movie, so why not ask for their opinion on their work environment? It’s crucial to monitor the physical and mental health of your workforce—don’t be afraid to ask how they’re feeling!

 

6. How to get employees to read a company newsletter?

So you’ve done everything to make your employee newsletter attractive, fun, engaging, and relevant. You’ve added gifs, videos, surveys, and interactive content. In short: you’ve created something worth reading. So how do you get employees to read it? And what if they start reading them in the beginning, but those open rates start to drop? Well…

Content relevance is key…

Some content is useful to everybody in the company. Other content isn’t. For example, an important announcement from the CEO concerns everybody. But the arrival of a new manager at the purchasing department doesn’t—unless you work in the purchasing department. And if new purchasing regulations are implemented in the U.S., it may not interest you if you don’t work in the U.S.

This means that every time you release new content, you know who will be interested in it. So target them! Then you can work on the format to make it more appealing and engaging from there.

And audience segmentation matters, too

To that end, segmenting your audience will ensure relevance. And you can make as many segmentations as you think is necessary. This can be done using multiple parameters:

departments/services/teams

countries/regions/commercial areas/sites/specific locations

responsibility level/board members/top executives/executives/managers/head of service

based on interest or a topic: all people interested in electric mobility, CSR, energy saving, competitive watch, etc.

based on temporary issues: all people working on the preparation of an event, on a new product launch, etc.

Or any other variable, for that matter. For example, all employees on a night shift, all employees going to work by public transportation, all employees with children, all employees who are members of a sports association—there’s literally no limit to how audiences can be segmented for relevance.

The result: a whole, customized employee newsletter

But how can you achieve this? With a tool like Sociabble, it’s not only possible—it’s easy!

With the Sociabble platform, you can segment your content by defining categories, like HR, laws and regulations, CSR, products . . . the possibilities are endless. You can create as many categories as needed, and you can customize them. Then you assign the content to a specific audience.

In fact, segmentation is done automatically when a user signs up in Sociabble. Based on their department, country, the language they speak, the place where they work—the user will automatically be assigned to audiences:

 

Segmented employee newsletters

 

As a result, by cross-referencing the content with the segmentation of the users, Sociabble can automatically generate the most relevant newsletters for each employee. There is no limit, you can automatically generate as many newsletters as you want or need.

Last but not least, the users will receive the newsletter in their native language, thanks to the automatic translation feature of the Sociabble platform. The translation is editable, and administrators of the platform can revise the translation and make it “official.” Automatic translation is available in over 70 languages, ensuring that users will only receive the information in the language they understand.

 

7. How to create an employee newsletter?

But isn’t it hard to accomplish all of this, and create a newsletter with so many targeted, moving parts? Nope, not at all. In fact, with Sociabble, it’s easy! The employee communication platform comes with a built-in newsletter engine designed to make creating rich, targeted, and interactive newsletters simple, bringing dynamic, personalized, and relevant content right to your workforce, whether it’s a large-scale operation, or even just a small, localized office. In effect, any admin can create segmented newsletters with user-specific content pieces tailored to the audience, either on an automated schedule, or for special events. Users can receive notifications on their mobile device when a new newsletter is available, and analytics allow you to know what content has been read.

And for those who want to truly simplify the process, Sociabble even comes with ready-to-use templates. You can have dynamic, personalized newsletters filled with surveys, videos, and gifs, translated instantly into the local languages of your employees, with just a few clicks:

 

Employee newsletter template

 

With Sociabble, it really is that easy!

 

8. How to measure your employee engagement thanks to newsletter metrics?

The most important element, however, is making sure that your employee newsletters actually get read. After all, what’s the point of sending them if they’re not being opened, digested, and remembered? To that end, Sociabble offers a full analytics package to monitor how effective your newsletters are. You can keep tabs on open rates, unique open rates, clicks, and unique click rates. You can segment data by department, geographic zone, or any other category you choose, and that may be relevant for the company. You can even monitor what times the newsletters are being read, and on which kinds of devices.

This information matters, because you can use it to optimize your strategy. If you know that newsletters have the highest open rates between 9am and 10am, then you can automatically set the platform to distribute them at the designated hour, thus optimizing your success.

If you’d like to learn more about Sociabble’s unique newsletter capabilities, or about the Sociabble employee communication platform in general, you can schedule a free demo. We’d love to chat!

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