The Good Old Newsletter
When working as an employee retention speaker, I was discussing the fundamental nature of communication and one audience member said, “I like getting the newsletter.” When asked why, he said the newsletter was something special. It talked about the people, events and yet still had some serious topics in it. Bottom line: it was informative and fun. He also mentioned that is stuck out because it did not get lost in the all the electronic communication because his organization printed it and passed it out! What a novel concept; paper!
His organization has hit on a formula that always works: Easy to read (code for short), fun, informative and visible. That is the best way to get a message to stick that the vast majority of your people will read. And, that is the goal. It doesn’t have to have some fancy name or a logo that is sexy. You are working for effectiveness in messaging. You could write it on toilet paper for all I care as long as it works.
All too often in our employee retention strategies, we try to get too fancy and we lose sight of what we are trying to do. Forget fancy fads…focus on the fundamentals. Put it up on the bulletin board, and then pass one out to everyone. Then, have your supervisors mention the key things in their departmental meetings. As an employee retention expert, I have found that by doing so you significantly enhance the likelihood that the key message gets across.
The other key element is fun. Put stuff in it that people find interesting and fun. We used to always do contests to see who would read the newsletter and the answers were part of company trivia. Then we used to go out in the plant and ask 10 people what the answer was. If you got it right, we gave you a crisp $5 bill. People loved it and looked for the newsletter so they could do the trivia. They also read the rest of the stuff. It was fun! When stuff is fun, people tend to do it. If you make an optional activity like reading the newsletter difficult, people don’t generally do it.
The other key is to be disciplined and do it every week at the same time. People look for it. It becomes habit so the newsletter gets read. What better way to make sure communication gets through? This is clearly not high tech. It is simple but it is not easy to be disciplined! You have to be disciplined to do it on a regular schedule and you have to come up with the content. But if you do, people will read it.