Employee Newsletters and Workplace newsletters are powerful tools and the most effective way to insert behavioral change information into the lives of employees who are moving at a fast pace on the job. Properly constructed with management goals and employees' well-being in mind, these productivity tools can help resolve issues with problem employees, reduce risk to business customers, and even improve the ability of a smart insurance producer to build better relationships to sell insurance and improve marketing of risk management products. Corporate newsletters are grossly misunderstood as marketing tools, risk management reduction devices, troubled employee helpers, and productivity boosters.
When I first began writing the work-life-productivity newsletter for the 12,000 employees of the U.S. Congress, my mind was on entertaining and educating employees, and helping ensure that I would please the reader. Satisfying the host organization was the mission, but I soon discovered how to do that and much more.
Today, after authoring newsletters for over 50,000 companies, I believe it likely that your corporate or work-life wellness newsletter is under-powered and under-utilized. Here is how to make your newsletter an instrument of change and directly responsible for doing everything you can imagine, from improving customer service to preventing workplace violence.
Step #1: Divide the editorial planning of your employee/work-life newsletter, corporate newsletter, or planned newsletter articles into 12 topic areas. These will include:
- Improving Coworker Relationships
- On-the-job Worker Productivity Tips
- Balancing Work, Family, Home, and Community
- Improving Personal Fitness and Effectiveness
- Alcohol and Drug Education, Recovery, & Intervention
- Team Building
- How to Get Help Now (put information at end of articles)
- Hot Work-Life Topics in the News (Seasonal depression, back-to-school, etc.)
- Stress Management Tips
- Improving the Relationship with Your Supervisor
- Workplace Safety, Injury Prevention, and Recovery
- Customer Service Improvement and Relationship Enhancement
These topics are the ones that I have discovered meet the most essential needs of employees and business managers in any company large or small.
Next - NEVER have a company newsletter of four pages. Employees will lose focus or become distracted after the first two pages. You will waste money, energy, trees, and not be able to impart as much information to them. So, give them what they want--less, more frequently. That's the secret. Give them a two page newsletter. Make your newsletter monthly. This is an easy thing to do with a customizable newsletter service. There are several such services. Copy and past the following and Google: Customizable Editable Employee Newsletters - to find vendors.
Next - Distribute your newsletter by PDF. Employees without computers can get (print) hard copies by your photocopying the newsletter PDF. Make hard copies available in strategic locations.
Next - Never make articles long and comprehensive when they are associated with mental health issues. Instead make them motivating and captivating. For example, if an article addresses anger management--DO NOT make articles so comprehensive that employees "self-diagnose" and begin treating serious problems themselves. This can increase your risk because employees will take half measures and avoid the hard introspection and persistence it takes to remain motivated and treat a condition properly. It takes a professional to keep this process going much of the time, especially with serious mental health issues, anger management, alcoholism, or troubles associated with personality disorders. So what do you do?
Instead, provide enough information to motivate the reader to take the next step and get help from the company EAP, or other resource (preferable a live health/counseling/mental health professional) who can work with the employee. Use this person's face in your newsletter during the year. It will improve the likelihood of this person being utilized as a helping resource. Do you see how doing this can reduce organizational risk? A person struggling with anger issues, who might be the next person to go "postal" in your company could be helped by a newsletter that "sells" help in this manner.
You can apply the above model of information and enticement to lots of person issues that employees struggle with. Use your EAP, wellness program, or occupational health clinic as the target source for referral of employees with health and wellness conditions.