Ellen is confused. As the employee communications manager she always hears from staff that they need information to be shared often in newsletters. At Pickaxe Inc., a mining to motors conglomerate spread across 3 continents with 3000 employees keeping everyone on the same page was a challenge. She discusses the concerns with her Communications Director and a couple of business leaders.
Ellen: “Thank you for joining. I wanted to get your thoughts on our company newsletter and the issues we face with readership. We tried different platforms and our employees have always told us that a newsletter helps keep them abreast of what we do as an organization. Strangely, we don’t get many reading the updates”.
Tim (Business Development Head): (looking concerned) “I am surprised that employees don’t read it. I always encourage my team to open the mail and look up what we do. Even we have a newsletter of our own and I know the marketing team and supply chain folks have theirs as well. What are the reasons?”
Jane: (Communication Director) “Could it be that our employees are busy and they probably don’t have time to read it? It is a bi-monthly, in print and online so those employees who are travelling can read it while they go about their work. Having the edition created too frequently will mean we need more content which we don’t get. Also my team will need to be working double shift to churn out content.”
Tim: “That isn’t a good enough reason. We will always have lots to do but how can they not want to read about us and why we are doing what we do!”
Ellen: (sounding defensive) “We have done our bit to make it available and accessible. What we do know is that employees are reading some sections and not everything. Our plan is to ‘market’ the newsletter more. We will do roadshows to make the newsletter visible!”
Clarke: (Operations Head): “We really need to up the game with our newsletter. There has to be fun stuff in there. We have a bunch of young people and they can’t be bothered about company news!”
Tim: “I think the newsletter is outdated and old fashioned. We need something else that appeals to everyone in our business”.
Jane: “Could you tell us why you think it is outdated? We do have messages from leaders, the snippets from around the business and loads of innovations we are attempting.”
Tim: “Isn’t it evident that with such low readership we probably need to revisit the approach. I think we need to make it contemporary and attractive. Add more color, liven things up. Our people are so outstanding and our newsletter needs to reflect the generation”.
Ellen: “We plan to add employee birthdays and anniversaries, share recognitions, add infographics among other steps to take the newsletter to the next level.”
Tim: “I am not convinced that will help. We need a game-changer!”
Clarke: “I second that. Take it a notch higher – make it cool and big!”
Jane and Ellen look at each other puzzled.
Jane: Tim and Clarke, let us give this a thought and come back. It does seem like there are challenges we need to address. Thanks for your views.”
Both leave the room wondering what they need to really to get their newsletter up a notch higher. Or was it the newsletter? Did they even need one in the first place?
What’s your take on the issue? Love to hear your views.