It’s tempting to think that the printed publication is old news. Defeated by digital.
Is there still a place for it? What sort of content should it feature? Do employees really want it?
There was once a time when the printed internal magazine was a comms cornerstone, a vital channel used for sharing business wide news. As times have changed, many organisations have replaced their magazines with digital alternatives or have simply done away with them altogether.
But STOP! Binning the printed employee magazine could be a big mistake.
As we know, a key component of good communication is accessibility and it’s for this reason that Caffè Nero continues to print and distribute their employee magazine to some 600 coffee shops across the UK. We helped to refresh their old style magazine, introducing a stylish look and some inspiring new ideas, freshening up this popular periodical. You can read all about it here.
Accessibility isn’t the only concern. Other organisations continue to embrace their employee magazine for varying reasons:
- Employee preference – the printed word is still a crowd-pleaser
- Field staff aren’t always used to browsing the intranet for their news updates
- Some employees simply aren’t active digital and social media users
- The printed newsletter can be kept for leisurely browsing, taken home or read on the commute
- The act of turning crisp pages makes a refreshing change from the daily digital bombardment
- It’s a lot harder to press delete (get it right and they won’t want to!)
Integration has become the answer for many organisations, opting to maintain their magazine and adapting its content to compliment alternative channels. Rather than viewing email newsletters or social intranets as the better options, the printed magazine remains a valuable part of the comms mix.
Keeping content fresh and engaging
It’s important to regularly check in on the type of content covered. Make sure it’s still relevant, still entertaining and still something your readers actually care about. The printed magazine may no longer be the most suitable channel for time critical news updates but there are plenty of topics that are perfect magazine material. Here are some suggestions:
PROMOTE THE WHY
Use your magazine to demonstrate the role employees are playing in helping the company achieve its vision. This all helps to promote a sense of purpose and belonging, highlighting the bigger picture.
SHARPEN ‘SOFTER SKILLS’
Share articles on personal qualities, attitudes and behaviours – communication, decision-making, working as a team, ideation, problem solving and creativity are valuable, transferrable skills that appeal to us all.
HIGHLIGHT YOUR HERITAGE
Talking about the history of your organisation, featuring visual timelines with major milestones and sharing significant moments can all help to support your story.
MENTION NOTABLE FACTS AND FIGURES
How many customers do you service each day? How many products have been sold this month? How many lives have you touched? Give it some context and make it meaningful.
SHARE EMPLOYEE WELLNESS INITIATIVES
According to Unum, 30% of workers would consider leaving their job due to poor workplace wellbeing. If your company has an employee wellness program, make it known! Share articles about the latest services available with supporting tips and ideas.
COMMUNITY AND VOLUNTEERING NEWS
Employees are out there achieving great things and caring for others every day. As well as the business stuff, feature some of the softer more emotive stories that are equally newsworthy.
CLOSE THE GAP
Help to bridge the gap between employees and leaders by sharing regular features about what senior managers are getting up to. Show their human side so employees can connect.
SHINE A SPOTLIGHT ON INDIVIDUALS
Featuring stories about personal achievements – whether at work or at home – is a great way to recognise and celebrate your people.
GIVE EMPLOYEES A VOICE
Show employees what their colleagues are up to by featuring short, snappy, fun interviews. This can help to demystify roles, break down silos and bring people closer together. Here are some ideas to inspire!
ILLUSTRATE CORPORATE VALUES
Show real life examples of colleagues demonstrating the values and behaviours that the organisation encourages.
A DAY IN THE LIFE OF…
Provide a window into other areas of your organisation to enhance the feeling of belonging and being part of a team. Help employees understand different jobs and functions and how they work together.
CIRCULATE PERFORMANCE UPDATES
Keep employees informed on company progress by publishing the more noteworthy performance updates. Share plans for the future. Get creative with visuals and infographics to demonstrate progress.
UPDATE EMPLOYEES ON THE LATEST SURVEY RESULTS
What’s changed? What improvements have been made since the last survey? What action plans have been initiated? Demonstrate to your employees that they’re being listened to and actions are being taken.
SHOUT ABOUT THE BENEFITS
Remind employees why it’s great to work here!
Research from Cass Business School shows that 64% of employers don’t tell their employees about the benefits they offer, so they’re effectively pouring money down the drain. A magazine feature is also a good way to remind employees about important upcoming deadlines, such as the end of open enrolment for a benefits plan, deadlines for pension plans, etc.
CELEBRATE SERVICE ANNIVERSARIES
Recognise long service achievements with a public announcement. An open show of recognition goes a very long way.
KIND WORDS FROM CUSTOMERS
Reading kind and complimentary comments from clients and customers can make a big difference to morale and motivation.
The future of the printed employee magazine
Despite the cries from some that ‘print is dead!’ there are many who continue to hold the employee magazine in high esteem, believing it has a key role to play for the foreseeable future. The difference now is in recognising the opportunities and continually adapting. In our view, digital hasn’t done away with the printed magazine, it’s given it a whole new identity and a chance to shine in new and exciting ways.
The employee magazine is a channel that motivates and inspires employees, acting as a conversation starter by providing content that colleagues may not encounter through other comms channels. Keep it positive, keep it light and keep it alive!