Contentment within the workplace environment comes from a sense of belonging. This belonging is the goal of workplace community building. The mechanism behind community building is communication and the best communication vehicle is stories.
Organisational stories, staff stories and stories of a personal nature. Stories are a medium to keep the river flowing. Mix it up using the following as a guide to keep your internal newsletter engaging and informative.
- Use a writing style that speaks to ‘friends’: The same characteristics that create a caring personal relationship also make for a great business relationship. The goal is to create a sense of belonging and internal community. If there’s no belonging there’s no community. So it’s important to not only communicate well but also to communicate often.
- Senior executive update: Inform staff about strategy and progress towards goals. Send clear, credible messages about any changes in direction. The goal is to create understanding, commitment and a sense of energy.
- Success story: Sharing success, no matter how small is good for the morale of the organisation.
- What’s in it for me: Content that includes a ‘what’s in it for me’ section has a high rate of employee reader success. So include articles that address benefits, etc.
- Employee snapshot: Introduce short interviews with staff members. Start with ‘key players’ that employees outside of head office may not know well.
- Unique story: Include a unique story or drive discussion on an issue that’s of interest to staff. Vary it up.
- Honour teamwork: Honour individuals for any display of teamwork and diversity. This will encourage an internal culture of collaboration.
- Encourage engagement: Include a ‘talk back’ or ‘join the conversation’ tab after stories to prompt further discussion.
- Human resources: Announce employment milestones, promotions and new roles.
- Lessons learned: Propel knowledge throughout the organisation by sharing lessons learned.
- Acknowledge staff: Prominently featuring an employee’s great work is a great way to attract attention. Regularly thank employees and/or volunteers for a job well done.
- Philanthropic activities: Employees like to hear about philanthropic activities that colleagues undertake both under the corporate banner and independently.
- Photos: Include close-up photos that show engagement in the work. Keep the backgrounds interesting. To keep the online newsletter succinct, include photos with a caption or short paragraph to capture attention and then include a link to a longer version.
- Tip of the month/quarter: Encourage staff to put forward any feature, benefit or process that has been found to be of benefit.
- Trivia: Most people like the challenge of trivia. A contest to answer a question will generate interest and let you know that staff members are reading the newsletter.
- Tid-bits: Share information about any items that may not require their own article or story. For example, ‘Did you know’?
- Government relations: if relevant, provide the latest info/releases to keep employees in the know.
- Calendar of events: Include details of upcoming events.