One of my favorite stories about the power of an employee newsletter is from an article entitled, “Is Your Employee Newsletter Doing Its Job?” which appeared in Entrepreneur magazine. Here’s an excerpt:
Some years back, a custodial employee working for one of my clients came up with an ingenious way to eliminate a slip hazard for customers on wet or snowy days. A story about it, with a photo of the employee, was featured in the company newsletter. This company routinely mailed copies of its newsletter to the children of any employees highlighted within its pages, with a personalized note that read, “Your daddy’s picture appears on page 2.”
Several weeks later, management held a staff meeting and invited questions about their quality improvement program. The custodian rose to his feet and reported that the day his two children received the newsletter, he’d been greeted with a hero’s welcome when he got home. His youngsters wanted to hear how his picture came to be in “the paper.” The kids had subsequently brought the newsletter to school for show-and-tell, and the teacher posted it on the school bulletin board for a week. His kids felt like celebrities at school, he said, as if their dad had been on the cover of Time magazine. He went on to acknowledge that he’d always assumed they were somewhat ashamed of the janitorial work their father did for a living. This expression of pride from his own children, he said, was the most personally rewarding experience in his entire 30-year career with the company–and if this was the kind of thing management meant by “quality improvement,” he wanted them to know he was ready to do anything he could to help. With that, he sat back down. Things were strangely quiet in the meeting room for a few moments after his remarks.
This anecdote demonstrates the immense power of an internal newsletter when it includes stories that showcase an employee in a positive light. When this spotlight is shined on an employee the reward is three-fold: the featured employee feels motivated and excited, the company gains a more engaged and therefore more productive team member, and there is a very positive spillover effect on all the other readers of the newsletter.
So, is you employee newsletter just a dry communications piece? Or are you harnessing its power by using it to motivate, inspire and thereby promote employee engagement by highlighting your workforce?