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13 Employee Newsletter Best Practices To Keep Your Employees Engaged

Do you know how important internal newsletters can be? We’re sharing some of the best employee newsletter best practices so you can add punch to yours.
Written by: Penny Swift
employee newsletter best practices blog post
Published: March 29, 2024
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Management and team leaders in every organization have those frustrating moments when employees talk about missing their communications. Whether you hear it in passing or receive actual complaints, it can be disheartening, making you feel as though your work has little impact.

The key, of course, is to improve employee engagement. There are many ways to do this, for example, via emails, text messages, live events, conference calls, and employee newsletters. And organizations leverage technology in different ways to suit their needs. 

Gallagher’s State of the Sector 2023/24 survey report identifies 12 broadcast channels. The table below shows what they are and which are used most frequently. It also shows that usage doesn’t necessarily translate to effectiveness.

most popular broadcast channels

You can see from this that even though email continues to retain the top spot in terms of channel usage, live events, conference calls, and text messages are perceived to be more effective. Also, both newsletters and employee magazines are found to be almost as effective as emails — with a slight 2% difference. 

One reason emails have retained the top usage spot is because they are easy to create and send. With a little more effort, you can gain even better traction in terms of engaging employees. And it’s not as difficult as you might think. 

In this post, we’re going to focus on employee newsletters and share the most efficient employee newsletter best practices. We will also give you some invaluable tips on how to maximize newsletter results. 

What Is an Employee Newsletter?

An employee newsletter (or employee E-newsletter as Gallagher calls it) is a digital communication tool used by companies to keep their staff informed and engaged. It’s essentially a lengthy company-wide email or online document that gets sent out regularly, typically every week or month.

The main goals of an employee newsletter are to:

  • Share important news and updates: This can include anything from financial performance to new product launches or policy changes.
  • Boost employee engagement: Newsletters can help employees feel more connected to the company and their colleagues. Typically, they feature employee spotlights, team achievements, or fun company culture content.
  • Improve internal communication: Employee newsletters are an ideal central location for important announcements and resources, reducing reliance on email overload.
what is an employee newsletter

Employee newsletters can be a great way to create a sense of community within a company, especially for remote or deskless workers. They can also be a helpful tool for leadership to share their vision and goals with the wider team.

Gallagher’s stats show that an employee magazine is as effective (87%) as an internal company newsletter. So, it may confuse some people to see that newsletters are used by 71% of organizations, while only 15% use employee magazines. But it isn’t rocket science. 

While both communications media were originally printed, and both are now more often than not digital, magazines are typically more in-depth and visually appealing than newsletters. There is also more comprehensive content that includes company news and stories, longer articles, interviews, and human interest pieces. They require more manpower, including professional writers, layout artists, and graphic designers, to produce. Employee magazines are still printed more often than employee newsletters. It also stands to reason that, because of these factors, organizations produce them less frequently.   

Why Is It Important to Have Your Internal Company Newsletter?

An internal company newsletter is a valuable tool for keeping employees informed, engaged, and feeling like part of a team. It should be part of any internal communications strategy to improve the engagement of employees. Furthermore, it offers benefits not only to employees but also to the company.

Benefits for Employees

An internal newsletter will keep employees in the loop about company news, goals, and achievements. This can make them feel more invested in the company’s success.

When produced regularly, an internal company newsletter will help employees feel connected to their colleagues, especially in large companies or those with remote workers. A good way to do this is to feature employee spotlights and team updates in company news.

Above all else, an internal newsletter can be pivotal in improving internal communications. Well-produced employee newsletters can act as a central hub for important announcements, resources, and company policies. This reduces reliance on overflowing inboxes and ensures everyone has access to the same information.

Benefits for the Company

It’s important to share news about the company, and an internal newsletter can be a powerful tool for promoting company values and building a sense of community. Regular communication through newsletters fosters trust and transparency between leadership and employees.

Additionally, a regular internal newsletter can bundle important announcements and updates, preventing information overload through individual emails. It can also be a great platform to recognize employee achievements and contributions, constantly boosting morale and engagement.

importance of internal company newsletter

13 Most Efficient Employee Newsletter Best Practices 

A well-designed and informative newsletter portrays a professional company image and cultivates pride among employees. Furthermore, employing best practices by using templates and clear writing processes streamlines newsletter creation, saving valuable time for the communication team.

#1 Spend Time Crafting Your Employee Newsletter Subject Lines 

Why should your employees read the email you’re sending them? After all, their inboxes are full of Microsoft notifications, meeting invites, and email threads. They don’t care whether it’s a newsletter or a simple announcement. 

We suggest that you need to get your foot in the door by focusing on your email’s first impression: its headline. Take the time to workshop your subject lines. Don’t just use the first thought that comes to mind. Make it meaningful and stick within a 40-character max. That way, they aren’t cut off in the preview of the inbox and you’ll stay mobile-friendly. 

When you’re writing, ask yourself, “What is the benefit the reader will get from this communication?” As an example, if it’s a professional development workshop, then good examples could be “Free professional development workshop,” or “Coffee and conversation with our CFO.” Be creative. 

#2 Cut Down on the Number of Employee Emails You Send

It’s not unusual for the average office worker to receive more than 100 internal and external emails in one day. Reducing the number of emails your employees receive makes them less likely to skip over your communications. 

Start by looking at your delivery metrics for the best times and weekdays to send your newsletter.  

According to a 2023 Loom survey, on average workers spend nearly four hours communicating via emails, messaging, video, or phone calls. They reckon this costs companies more than $21 billion every week.  

Two startling stats they mention are:

  • 31% of employees find it difficult to work due to constant interruptions
  • 85% of employees send the same information or messages multiple times weekly
  • 69% do this every day, either to create a trail of accountability, to ensure people read their messages, or to make sure they “accommodate the recipient’s preference”

“Communication is essential to productivity, but balancing it with focused execution time is key”

Loom

Sending out newsletters is a good way to cut down on message volumes. Furthermore, it is a cost-effective channel of asynchronous comms that also saves recipients time. 

#3 Personalize Content to Increase Relevance

Tailor the content of your newsletters to the specific interests, roles, and needs of different employee groups. Mass personal communication can significantly enhance engagement and make employees feel valued. This is because it targets a broader audience that shares common interests or characteristics.

Some ideas for personalizing content for newsletters include:

  • Highlight employee achievements: Feature success stories and contributions from employees within their respective departments. This fosters a sense of community and recognition.
  • Spotlight different teams: Rotate which departments or teams are featured in each newsletter, showcasing their work and accomplishments. This keeps the content fresh and relevant to a wider audience.
  • Use employee quotes: Include quotes from employees about company initiatives, projects, or company culture. This adds a personal voice and makes the newsletter more relatable.

A  community post on LinkedIn asks, How do you segment and personalize your internal newsletter for different audiences? 

“When you’re considering personalization, it’s tempting to personalize everything as much as possible and take advantage of all the dynamic features in the tools you have. However, ask yourself which information actually needs to be personalized and how it will be valuable to the recipients. You may not need to use someone’s first name in a monthly internal newsletter, for example. But if you have valuable information that helps someone do their individual role better, then that’s worth adding.”

James Gerber

#4 Reach Employees on Their Preferred Channels

One of the best features of Cerkl Broadcast is that it enables employees to receive internal communications via the channels they prefer. 

Employees are bombarded with emails daily and many employees choose not to receive an internal company newsletter via email. Sending newsletters through their preferred channels, like a company intranet platform or a mobile app, reduces clutter in their inboxes and makes the newsletter easier to access. Additionally, employees can access an internal newsletter on their preferred platform at their convenience, increasing the likelihood they’ll read it.

Ultimately, reaching employees on their preferred communication channels shows that the company values their time and preferences. It also shows you understand their communication habits and are tailoring the experience for them. This can lead to higher open rates, better content retention, and a more engaged workforce. 

#5 Schedule Regular Newsletter Send-Outs

Establish a consistent schedule for sending out your employee newsletters to maintain regular communication and keep employees informed. Whether it’s monthly, weekly, or bi-weekly, monthly, regularity helps build anticipation and ensures that employees know when to expect important updates. 

Regular newsletters keep employees updated on company news, announcements, and developments. In large companies and organizations that employ remote workers, regular newsletters help employees feel connected to their colleagues and company culture. 

But there’s a caveat. You need to find the right balance. Sending newsletters too frequently can lead to information overload and disengagement. The ideal frequency depends on the amount of content you have and the preferences of your audience. 

#6 Incorporate Multimedia Content

Utilize visuals, videos, infographics, and other multimedia elements to make your newsletters more visually appealing and engaging. Multimedia content can help convey complex information more effectively and capture employees’ attention.

Some more specific advantages of including multimedia content in employee newsletters are that it increases engagement and attention and improves the level of communication. For example, you can use images, infographics, or short videos to break up large blocks of text, making the newsletter more visually appealing and easier to scan. This is especially helpful for busy employees who might skim through content.

As Stephen McNulty says in response to the community LinkedIn post mentioned earlier, humanizing the content with employee photos, team videos, or behind-the-scenes glimpses can personalize the content and create a more human connection with employees. Visuals and videos can evoke emotions and create a lasting impression on employees. This can be particularly effective for sharing company milestones, employee achievements, or social responsibility initiatives.

“People love seeing themselves and love seeing their colleagues. Including photos, videos, perspectives from others, showcasing others, etc. will greatly increase your engagement.”

Stephen McNulty

#7 Provide Value-Added Resources

Offer valuable resources, such as links to relevant articles, industry insights, training opportunities, or employee benefits updates, to provide additional value to your newsletters. Providing useful resources can help employees feel supported and empowered in their roles.

They can be a particularly useful resource on industry trends, training opportunities, or internal knowledge-sharing articles. This keeps employees engaged and helps them develop professionally.

7 employee newsletter best practices

#8 Plan Your Internal Content Around a Diverse, Distributed Workforce

It stands to reason that because of the wide diversity of jobs in any one organization, the focus of an internal newsletter needs to be equally diversified. For example, a contractor doesn’t need updates on employee benefits. The same applies to distribution in terms of where employees are based. A customer service representative from Milwaukee likely won’t be interested in the same material as an IT person working in another country. 

Your team should be planning your corporate communications around your workforce. Segmenting by location, job type, interests, and so on will make your emails employee click-bait instead of scrolled-past content.

Also, where employees are working from home and in different geographical locations, make sure your delivery plan considers different time zones. 

#9 Create a Centralized Employee Communications Experience 

There are so many options for internal communicators to consider, it can be overwhelming. That’s why they want to meet their employees where they already are. The need to create content on social media, intranet, employee newsletter, and possibly a mobile app makes sense. But with this many touchpoints, it stands to reason there will be a degree of overlap. 

That’s why streamlining your communications is an essential part of creating an engaging employee experience. Why should your employees get your newsletter only to see the same information the moment they log in to the intranet?

If an employee misses communications, make sure there’s an easy way they can search it. A content archive pulls in your website, intranet, app, and video pieces, making one place that’s able to search across all your channels. Just make sure there’s an easy way for them to find newsletters all in one place.

#10 Highlight Employee Achievements and Success Stories

We mentioned the value of including employee achievements in the section on personalizing content for newsletters. It’s essential to recognize and celebrate the accomplishments of individual employees or teams within your organization. Sharing success stories boosts morale, fosters a sense of pride, and reinforces a positive company culture.

More specifically, it boosts morale and engagement, improves communication and transparency, and is a source of universal appeal for a distributed workforce

By highlighting employee achievements, you create a win-win situation. Employees feel valued and motivated, and the company fosters a more positive, engaged, and successful work environment, even for a dispersed workforce.

#11 Conduct Surveys and Polls

It’s useful to periodically survey employees with your newsletters to gather feedback on various aspects of an organization and how it operates. Surveys and polls can provide valuable insights into employee preferences, interests, and areas for improvement.

The ease of access and integration within newsletters can sometimes lead to higher response rates compared to standalone surveys. Employees might be more likely to participate when it’s a quick and easy process.

Additionally, segmenting your newsletter allows you to target specific surveys or polls to relevant employee groups. This ensures you gather more focused and actionable feedback.

#12 Analyze Open and Click-Through Rates

Track metrics such as open rates and click-through rates to gauge how many employees are engaging with your newsletters. High open rates indicate that your subject lines are effective at grabbing attention, while click-through rates indicate interest in the content you’re sharing.

If you want to increase your open rate even more, give your employees the power to select their own delivery time and frequency. Twenty of the emails that you would send could turn into two leaving you with an option to send time-sensitive communications if need be. 

A while back, we did some targeted research into the best time and topics for a hospital employee internal newsletter. While topic interest will vary — sometimes substantially — in different industries, this post is a good example of how being on target with topics and timing can improve click-through rates

#13 Use A/B Testing for Optimization

Experiment with different elements of your newsletters, such as subject lines, content format, time, preferred channel, or call-to-action placement, using A/B testing to determine which variations drive the highest levels of engagement and impact. 

“Experiment with formats and test them to see what resonates with your internal audience. And no matter the format, remember that you need to have a compelling story, even if it’s only for internal audiences. The actual format of your newsletter only matters to the extent that it helps your audience better digest and engage with that story.” James Gerber

6 employee newsletter best practices

How Cerkl’s News Digests Can Help You Maximize The Results?

As mentioned earlier, Cerkl Broadcast is an ideal platform for delivering personalized content that is relevant to your audience. It helps you prevent information overload that turns off employees, enabling you to increase employee engagement instead. 

Broadcast News Digest enables you to send communications, including newsletters, effortlessly, whenever you decide to schedule them. It also helps you manage employee preferences and, as with all Broadcast channels, provides real-time analytics so that you know how employees respond and interact with these communications.   

What’s Next?

If you’re interested in learning more about creating a personalized, cross-channel experience, we’d love to show you how we can simplify and help you improve your internal communications.

Are your newsletters achieving your internal communication goals? Get our strategic comms audit for free, no risk, no commitment.

Want feedback? If you complete it, we will provide you with free, personalized advice on how to improve. Get started using your email.

FAQ

Why are newsletters important for employees?

Newsletters are important for employees because they keep everyone informed about internal news, updates, and events, cultivating a sense of connection and transparency.

How long should an employee newsletter be?

An employee newsletter should be concise and skimmable, ideally one to two pages long, but not longer than four — depending on the information you want to share. Think of a printed employee newsletter: these were typically either an A3 page folded to create four A4 pages, or an A4 page printed on both sides. Whatever size you choose, aim for bite-sized pieces of information with easy-to-access links for those who want to delve deeper.

Is a newsletter the best way to communicate with employees?

Newsletters are a great communication tool, but not the only one. A good internal communications platform will enable you to incorporate emails and other channels into your strategy. You might want to include town halls and live events for a well-rounded approach.

Are newsletters still effective?

Newsletters can be tremendously effective as long as they are done well. They offer a centralized information hub and have the potential to be a more engaging way to present news about the company compared to plain email blasts. Most are produced digitally nowadays, rather than printed in the traditional way.

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