If a newsletter gets sent in a forest, does anyone read it?
What is an employee newsletter?
To put it succinctly, an employee newsletter is (normally) a company-wide digital communication document shared only with company employees, designed to keep workers up to date and engaged with the organization.
A company newsletter can be filled with important company news, project updates, customer stories, upcoming events, job postings, team member updates, company milestones, etc. – basically, anything that delivers relevant information to your entire workforce.
Employee newsletters can be from fun and silly to serious and time-sensitive, and are designed to engage employees, build morale, and garner employee feedback.
When companies send out an employee newsletter to team members on a regular basis, it tends to make for a better work environment. It’s a simple way to stay connected, improve internal communication, and deliver company information as needed.
If your organization isn’t delivering a company newsletter, you’re missing out on a great opportunity to keep employees up to date!
Why employee newsletters are still so important
Whether generated by the leadership team, human resources, department heads, or the marketing team, the purpose of employee newsletters is to encourage employees to take an interest in the goings-on across the organization. When employees feel “in the know”, they are more likely to be more productive, happier, and more loyal to the company… all of which contribute to business growth and success.
Because of all the changes in the work world since the start of the pandemic, staying in constant communication with employees, often spread far and wide, can sometimes be a struggle. So while employee newsletters may not have seemed all that important anymore just a few years ago, companies are reconsidering their importance as an effective channel for internal communications.
Just to show how important employee newsletters are today, a recent study found that an overwhelming majority of internal communicators (93%!) said email is the most preferred channel for reaching employees.
Let’s take a look at some of the reasons.
Help keep employees informed about company news and updates.
According to a Gallup poll from a few years ago, 74% of employees felt that they were missing out on company information and news. And that was before Covid when everyone started working from home. An employee newsletter can fill the role of informing employees of what’s happening at the company, no matter where they are.
Whether about client wins, monthly goals and stats, personnel changes, the status of fundraising efforts, or anything else considered “company news” can be included in newsletters, ensuring that your entire team stays up to date and in the know.
Help build a sense of community within the workplace.
If you want to attract and retain top talent for your organization, it’s important to build a sense of community into your company culture. Employee newsletters can help you do that! After all, a team that works well together and respects each others’ differences can deliver the results you are looking for. A community creates belonging among its members, and this motivates members (AKA employees) to do their best.
Newsletters are a great way to recognize employees’ contributions, highlight different cultures and locales, offer up distinct perspectives, organize get-togethers (both on and offline), introduce friendly competitions, etc. The opportunities are endless, especially when using fun employee newsletter ideas to build community!
Help to promote communication and collaboration between employees.
With some employees working in an office, some working from home or in the field, and some working a combination of both, modern-day internal communications can be difficult to keep up with. Who’s being left out? Who’s getting the information they need? Who isn’t? Do employees know how the company is doing, or who the new hires are?
Research conducted by Queens University shows that 39% of employees around the world say workers in their organization don’t collaborate enough…but 75% of employers rate teamwork and collaboration as “very important”. That’s a pretty steep disconnect!
By producing employee newsletters that inform, teach, share, and present opportunities for engagement and feedback, you’re helping build a stronger internal communication connection between employees.
Help to improve employee engagement and motivation.
McKinsey & Company found that employee productivity increases by 20-25% in organizations where employees are connected. And whenever an employee feels disconnected from their company, they are likely to be less engaged with their work (and, of course, fellow employees).
What happens then?
Employees become disgruntled and uninterested in their work, productivity drops, burnout sets in, and workers start looking for the exit. On the corporate side, profitability can fall and more money will end up being spent on recruiting and retention. Disengagement from work hurts the entire organization, from individual employees to the CEO, so it is vital that internal communication teams work to increase employee engagement.
Employee newsletters can help, of course!
By demonstrating to the entire organization your company’s values, successes, failures, changes, and challenges, in an easy-to-read format like an employee newsletter, you ensure your teams feel involved, heard, and motivated.
Help to build employee morale and loyalty.
This goes hand in hand with engagement, for sure. If employees are loyal to the organization and go to work each day looking forward to their jobs, you’re more likely to have employees that stick around for the long term who are on the same page and committed to meeting (or beating!) the company’s goals.
By putting a lot of employee-focused content in your internal newsletter, you’re letting them know they are valued, their opinions matter, their efforts don’t go unnoticed, and you (the leadership) understand just how important they are to the success of the organization.
Help reduce communications overload.
Did you know that internal communicators sent 72% more emails in 2020 than they did in 2019? What are we saying, of course you did – you’re most likely sending them! On average, employees spend 2.6 hours a day reading and responding to over 120 messages a day and are spending 44% more minutes reading them than in the past.
Between texting, phone calls, Slack messages, Zoom meetings, and all the other ways organizations communicate with their staff, workers are being overloaded with information. The end result? Fewer people actually read and/or engage with all of it.
One way to cut down on all the noise is to utilize an employee newsletter to send lots of information at once, rather than spreading it out over many emails or different communication channels. That way, you’re more likely to see higher engagement on the important stuff, rather than watching it get buried in an avalanche of information besides the company newsletters!
Help reach deskless and remote workers.
Out of sight, out of mind. Many employees who don’t work in an office often feel left out of important conversations and decisions. Deskless and hybrid/remote workers can be at a disadvantage being away from the office, as they aren’t there for the day-to-day minutiae that can be important to feel like part of a community.
A great employee newsletter can fill in your employees, no matter where they are or what device they are on, on all matter of things – birthdays, successes, new hires, company initiatives, promotions, etc. – while also letting them take part in the “fun” stuff like contests, pulse surveys, employee profiles, advice columns, user-generated content, or free resources. So no matter what, every employee feels like part of the team!
Help reinforce brand voice.
Don’t leave your employees hanging around, hoping to catch a glimpse of the latest news and brand messaging. You can build message reinforcement and brand advocacy efforts into your employee newsletter, ensuring your workers know how to share and communicate information about your company. This knowledge sharing goes a long way to increase engagement amongst team members while reinforcing your brand’s voice and culture to the “outside” world.
Best 25 employee newsletter ideas to try today
All of the above being said, it doesn’t matter how good an employee newsletter is if no one reads it.
Newsletters need to be full of useful, purposeful content that employees want to read. This is why it’s essential to include engaging employee newsletter ideas that have an equal balance of employee-focused vs. company-focused content. This encourages employees to always check out what’s inside the newsletter!
If you’re looking for new employee newsletter ideas to increase employee engagement and keep your team members in the loop, we’re here to help.
Here are our best employee newsletter ideas to use to keep employees engaged.
1. New hire profiles and au revoirs
Welcome new hires to your business with short blurbs that introduce them to the team. You can highlight their position, and background, and have them write up something about themselves so their personality shines through. Here at Firstup, we ask new employees to tell us three interesting things about themselves, and the answers are always interesting! On the flip side, if an employee is leaving on good terms, post a nice message to them as they go on to their next adventure.
2. Mention birthdays and anniversaries
While some workers may not be fans, most will appreciate the recognition by the company. Quick notes on birthdays, anniversaries, or achievements make employee newsletters more personal – and more fun!
3. Introduce training and career development opportunities
If you offer training and development stipends or opportunities, employee newsletters are a great way to keep everyone up to date on them. Let employees know about training sessions they can take, conferences they can attend, available webinars, bonuses for completing certificate classes, or any other professional development opportunities you provide.
4. Highlight recent employee vacations
Vacations are important for avoiding burnout and recharging, so why not let employees highlight where they vacationed? Employee-generated content, consisting of photos, videos, and/or text about vacations, can make for a fun employee newsletter segment.
More than 50% of employees don’t take vacations; use this content to encourage your staff to take the time off that they need to!
5. Include internal job postings
Whether to show job openings to existing employees, or encourage them to refer people they know to apply, posting open jobs in your internal newsletter gives your most loyal employees “first dibs” on growing their career (or that of their friends and family).
6. Remind employees of referral programs
Does your company offer a bonus for referring a new hire? Make sure every employee knows about it, and remind them on occasion in your newsletter. You never know where your next amazing team member will come from, and referrals are often the best way to find them!
7. Write up favorite staff recipes
If you have a budding chef on staff, let them share their favorite recipes with all the employees. Make it a regular feature, and your team members will turn in each week to see what user submissions are cookin’!
8. Showcase positive press coverage
A great way to utilize an employee newsletter is to share press coverage with the entire organization. Lots of time, employees work away at their job and aren’t aware of the effect their work is having on products and clients. By featuring positive press coverage of your organization, service, or product, everyone can feel a sense of pride and accomplishment knowing that all their efforts aren’t going unnoticed.
9. Pets are family too!
Everyone loves a pet photo or story. And when we say everyone, we mean… everyone. And since pets are considered part of our individual families, why not let them be a part of your work family, too?
If you’ve ever wondered what kind of employee newsletter content gets the most engagement, add some pet photos in your next one and watch the Likes and comments skyrocket.
10. “Overheard/on the grapevine/rumor mill” commentary
For good or for bad, rumors and news can spread through a company like a wildfire. Use your employee newsletter to either verify the information or dispel rumors.
11. Top ten roundup lists
Letterman doesn’t have to be the only one known for top 10 lists! Top 10 vacation spots, top 10 movies, top 10 songs… the opportunities are limitless and make for great employee newsletter ideas.
12. Remind employees of special offers
While employee benefits packages may offer things like discounted gym memberships or wellness programs, if your company has special offers outside of its benefits, be sure to inform employees. No one wants to miss out on, say, a discount at a favorite restaurant or movie theatre!
13. “Guess the desk” contests
We may not all be working side by side in an office anymore, but that doesn’t mean we can’t get an insight into how our coworkers do their jobs. Why not hold a contest and see if your employees can “guess the desk” of other employees, going only by photo or video?
14. Invite guest editors
Really want to engage with your employees? Offer them the opportunity to be guest editors for your employee newsletter. Everyone will build them differently, so you’re sure to have a varying experience each time you receive one in your inbox.
15. Highlight staff-recommended books, movies, and TV shows
Whether divided by certain departments or spread across the entire organization, a fun way to get everyone talking is to recommend media to watch, read, and discuss. This will really increase your employee communications game!
16. Share “This day in history” company-specific news
It could be about when the company started, when a certain long-time employee joined the team, or when certain benchmarks were met, but sharing company-specific “This day in history” knowledge in your employee newsletter will help everyone relate to how the company is growing and what went on before they joined the team.
17. Bad jokes (keep it clean!)
Dad jokes. They make you groan, but they sure can be funny. Throw a few into your newsletter once in a while to hear everyone at the company say “ugh” in unison.
18. Feature interesting podcasts
Podcasts, podcasts, podcasts – it seems it’s been quite the buzzword for the last few years. And for good reason, as you can find podcasts about nearly any subject matter you are interested in hearing about.
So go ahead, jump on the bandwagon, and share some podcasts with the team that you think they would find inspirational, hilarious, or motivational. You never know what they may learn and bring back to work!
19. Send employee surveys
If you haven’t implemented an employee listening program, you’re missing one of the greatest ways to increase engagement. Whether via pulse surveys or anonymous answer boxes, you’ll have a better understanding of what your team members need, want, and expect from the company they work for.
20. Communicate policy changes
You could send a mass email out to the entire company every time there is a policy change, but you risk having them go unread. It’s easier for employees to digest – and easier for you to put together – an employee newsletter specifically for policy issues.
21. Include employee calendars for the week/month/quarter
Keep your employees up to date on holidays, special occasions, and company-wide days off – whatever floats your boat and should be on everyone’s calendar. Don’t make them guess as to what they should be looking for!
22. Provide easy-to-share content
An employee newsletter is a simple and easy way to provide shareable content to your workers. And by preparing them to fit within character counts for different social media platforms, you can make it even easier for them to share out your messages. Allowing employees to help build your brand can go a long way towards your success!
23. Showcase volunteer/ do-good opportunities
If your company supports opportunities for employees to take time off for volunteering, be sure to list upcoming events they may be interested in taking part in.
24. Offer health and wellbeing resources and tips
The Covid pandemic has really increased employee stress levels, with burnout now at a record high of 70% and nearly half of U.S. workers are suffering from mental health issues. Offering tips and advice in your employee newsletter for dealing with stress and wellbeing will go a long way towards making employees feel like they are truly cared for.
Interesting in doing even more? See our article on setting up a real workforce wellness program for lots of tips!
25. Promote company events
And last, but definitely not least, on this list of company newsletter ideas is to cover company events. Keeping employees informed on a regular basis of opportunities they have to interact with coworkers is important, especially now that so many people work remotely. With travel starting to pick up a little, you’ll want them to know when their next chance to get together will be.
Promoting your employee newsletter
Now; how do you get employees to actually read and engage with your communications? Because no matter how hard you work on one, it still may go unread because of just how busy your employees are.
Here are some ways you can promote your employee newsletter to ensure everyone has a chance to check it out:
- Post about it in your workforce communications platform
- Utilize digital signage to reach deskless workers
- Link to your signup and/or latest version in company Slack channels
- Encourage employees to add the signup URL to their email signature
- Make them visually striking and interesting to catch employee’s eyes
- Send out a company-wide email introducing the newsletter, telling employees what they can expect in each one
Ensuring success with your employee newsletter
So now that we know what employee newsletters are, why they are still important, and the best newsletter ideas to try in your internal communications, it’s time for the last step – ensuring success.
- Always craft interesting subject lines.
- Provide real value, without much fluff (unless it’s fun fluff, then have at it!).
- Watch your tone. Keep your voice friendly and non-threatening to encourage more employees to actually absorb the information you have assembled.
- Use audience segmentation when necessary. Sometimes, not everyone at the company needs to receive the same newsletter. So when you need to, make sure you are targeting the right employees, with the right message.
- Send your employee newsletter out at a regular cadence. Don’t send one out and disappear for 3 months. You want your workforce to start to get a feel for when they can expect to see communication from your organization come in.
- Use templates to speed up the creation and delivery of your newsletter.
- Use calls to action (CTAs) to increase activity/engagement within your newsletter, whether for voting, giving survey results, or leaving comments.
- Pepper images, videos, and even GIFs throughout your newsletter for visual interest.
- Let employees take part in the creation and publication, and use plenty of employee-generated content.
- Always be experimenting with content, layout, cadence, etc. The only way to see what works is to keep trying different things to get the best results.
If you want to ensure that workers actually read your employee newsletter, you’re going to have to offer real value to them. Just being “pretty” isn’t going to cut it; you’ll need to deliver the goods that keep employees coming back for more as well as keep your focus on your communications goals. After all, isn’t that the main point of publishing an employee newsletter in the first place? You want to inform, engage, and motivate employees to do the best job possible for you and your company.
If you normally struggle with creating this kind of content, this list of internal newsletter ideas and best practices will inspire you to be creative with your next newsletter. And if you need additional resources, Firstup can help. Analyze, our unified analytics dashboard, shows you how all of your employees are interacting with all of your content—on every channel and system, across your organization.
Book a demo to see how our digital employee experience platform can reach, engage, and connect every worker, everywhere, improving the employee experience and driving change.
Looking for more communication tips? Check out employee email best practices to learn how to create relevant and engaging email content in order to get the best out of your team.