Moving Your Employee Print Newsletter Online? 6 Tips To Make An Impact

If you currently run an employee print newsletter and want to move to an electronic version consider the following tips to make your publication more relevant, improve readership and champion change.

While employee newsletters are still considered an important channel, print publications are gradually falling out of favor. Paucity of time, evolving demographics, changing reader habits and the growth of mobile are a few of the factors influencing the need to move to a web based platform.

Will employees miss the print version? Is the online version more effective? What do employees expect of an e-zine? How can you sustain interest in your organization’s e-zine? These and many other questions may cross your mind while considering a transition.

  • Seek feedback and gather insights: Ask your employees if they prefer an electronic version and what they expect to be different from the print edition. If you don’t already have insights which you can delve into, run a survey or do focus groups to gain perspectives on content, relevance and value employees derive currently. Reflect on what will work best depending on your employees’ profiles, distribution across locations and geographies and diversity.
  • Build a strong business case: It does seem intuitive that an online version will be beneficial for employees and the organization. However, unless you share the rationale to back your thinking such decisions can soon be undone. Spot the tangible and intangible benefits. Among the former are reduction in print costs, wider reach, quicker access to information and ability to measure the value of communication while the latter can include contribution to the feeling of pride, belongingness and personal branding. Look at the newsletter as a way to unify your organization – by increasing cross-business learning and appreciation, exchanging ideas and building a ‘boundaryless’ entity.


  • Refresh the model: A print version needs a different approach to sourcing content, publishing and measuring impact. With an online version you will need to make it simpler and easier for the team to produce the editions and creating reusable templates – unless of course, you are outsourcing your newsletter to an agency. Word of caution: what works in print won’t work online – shorter headlines, crisp messages, images that tell stories and greater opportunities to offer feedback are expected from an online version. What can however work is a model where the content resides on a central platform and the e-zine links to the content either via e-mail or a mobile application which pushes information on-demand. Online content is easier to search in case employees miss the e-mail or the mobile notification. Measuring views and downloads are simple ways to ascertain with an analytics tool and it is easier to report insights from data you gather.
  • Communicate the change: Explain the ‘why’ behind the move. Give employees time to accept the change and partner on the transformation. Demonstrate how the change will improve communication, enhance information accessibility and help employees feel more connected with your business. Be mindful of older employees – who may prefer to read a print version. Create a PDF version for those who still prefer to print and read.
  • Co-create content: Involve passionate employees as content contributors. The success of an employee newsletter hinges on how involved employees are. Form an extended team of content writers, editors and ‘internal’ journalists. Give them ownership for sections on your e-zine. This will mean ‘letting go’ of control – often tough for communicators to accept. For example, have them curate content, interview leaders and teams and come back with stories from the trenches. Remember to recognize their contributions – by giving bylines, adding them as part of your editorial board or informing their managers when they make progress with initiatives that impact the newsletter.
  • Define your measures of success: The litmus test for the newsletter is to gauge your employees’ participation levels in contributing content and their engagement with the organization. Apart from measuring the newsletter’s ability to reach essential information and business perspectives in a timely manner you can also evaluate if employees feel connected to and committed with the organization’s goals.

Have other ideas which worked for you? Do share them here.

4 Ways To Get Your Millennials on the Same Page

Have a large millennial population in your organization and keen to understand and engage the group better?

Consider this. According to a recent global study among millennials 42% believe that the quality of education will be a key change driver for the world. Protecting the environment and reducing poverty come next. This may sound surprising coming from a group often viewed as aloof and self-centered. Millennials want to make a local and a global difference, are interested in contributing to the community, are keen to be entrepreneurs and are very comfortable with technology, says this research report.

Opportunities to innovate, be innovative and be ‘intrepreneurs’ will go a long in engaging this group based on the Deloitte Millennial Survey . The study shares that 78% millennials made their decision to join a workforce based on how innovative the firm was and if the organization truly encouraged employees to be creative. Likewise, 70% of millennials looked at their future as entrepreneurs rather than working with the confines of a formal structure.

In a NASSCOM study – Managing In A Multigenerational Workplace what comes out strongly is the wide perception gap among employees of this generation and their managers.  The millennials attitudes are shaped by their experiences at home and at the workplace – mostly developed by self-learning. Loyalty and striving for perfection aren’t attributes that bother them a lot. While managers believe employees expect instant recognition it isn’t always the case – instead they seek a friend in a manager who is approachable and respected. However, work-life balance is crucial to the millennial’s life. This group prefers empowerment, engagement and flexibility.

With this backdrop, most organizations with a sizable chunk of millennials at their workforce will struggle to connect with this group unless they approach their relationship differently. Internal communicators can play the perfect foil in enlisting the support of this young group and bridging the gap.

Here are a few recommendations to get started with your Gen Y engagement.

Curate a self-managed forum: Initiate a dialogue with this group with either a forum or an informal online community. Clarify business goals and tap this forum to sensitize the group on the organization’s plans, share insights and invite suggestions. Ensure you make concrete plans and allow the group to self-manage their outcomes. Help promote the group’s actions using internal communication. Probably, profile one member every month or have the group ‘reverse mentor’ their leaders on topics of mutual interest.

Tap millenials’ talent: Millenials are looking for ways to be a part of the organization’s initiatives and one crucial approach is by tapping their potential to the fullest. Apart from their work there are opportunities to leverage their discretionary effort to further the brand – inside and outside the firm. Build a repository of talent areas and map it internally with the need of the hour – for example, how to simplify a process that improves your employees’ lives can be something of interest for this group. You will find employees who have say a passion for design thinking or are great with application development. Putting them together can create something extraordinary.

Provide opportunities to give back: Challenge the group on a social need and have them think of solutions which will enhance the lives of communities you serve. With their interest to be a responsible corporate citizen you can be sure of the group coming up with answers that work for all. Allow the group to spot opportunities and link it with the organization’s business objectives. Have their managers encourage participation in such initiatives.

Demonstrate positive action: Get your leaders to attend the forum to listen and engage. Invite the group to creatively recommend solutions for everyday issues instead of looking to their leaders for direction. Seek their inputs on policies and approaches on employee practices. Show how their effort is translating into business outcomes. For example, how simple actions such as sharing company content with their social media network can improve reach and impact of business communication.

From my experience of starting such a forum sustaining the momentum is the most crucial. The culture within will also help determine if this forum will last beyond the initial enthusiasm.

If your organization is truly committed to engaging Gen Y and building trust there isn’t a better way than allowing your future leader to lead the way.

If you have other ideas do share them here. Keen to hear from you.

My IABC Webinar Recording Available Now: Tapping the Power of Your Employees as Brands

There are significant changes shaping the world’s workforces and workplaces – more and more Gen Y joining organizations, diverse job expectations, erosion of trust of leadership, the rise of the activist employee, the employees’ passion to build their personal brands, and interest to be the brand’s spokesperson and affinity towards teams rather than organizations as an entity. Such changes pose interesting challenges and offer opportunities for communicators. On April 30, I ran a webinar  – ‘Tapping the Power of Your Employees as Brands’ on IABC’s website sharing perspectives and pointers on evolving trends and approaches that communicators can adopt to stay ahead of the curve.

My submission is that every organization’s culture and brand is shaped by the actions and messages shared by employees (current or former) and therefore every employee is in some way responsible for corporate communications.  The explosion of social media only accentuates their power – to enhance or damage an organization’s brand. The reality is that in today’s context the communicator doesn’t control communication and needs to partner effectively with each employee to successfully build the brand from within. In that sense, employer branding isn’t as effective an approach in this new world order.

However, the role of the communicator is now more important than ever highlighting the need for revisiting skills to engage the new emerging workforce and changing expectations at the workplace.

Look up a framework that I shared to help communicators build and sustain their own program to engage employees.