Communication is key. But how can employers keep this up during times of COVID-19 lockdowns, when staff are dispersed and regular office communication channels are unavailable?
In times like these, employees need to hear from employers. They rely on internal communications to inform them of where the organization stands, support them with performance and reassure them of what’s coming next. It's important to have a regular cadence of covid-19 communications going out to employees.
That’s why newsletters are such a valuable part of today’s HR Managers’ toolkits. Their versatility, visual appeal and engaging formats make them ideal for communicating a wide range of subjects. And modern digital newsletters offer more functionality than ever, including video, images, scrolling tickers, slide shows and webpages – all delivered directly to employees’ screens.
So if employee engagement is one of your priorities this year, consider these 7 employee newsletter content ideas during lockdowns and for remote employees:
1. Weekly Wrap-Up
Change has been the only constant over the last year. Employers and employees have all had to navigate upheavals in working environments, business operations and role requirements.
Newsletters can provide a single, concise source of truth for the latest covid-19 business updates. How is the organization responding to covid-19 locally? What are the key leadership updates staff need to know? What plans are being put in place for a return to the workplace?
These newsletters could also promote virtual business events and activities for staff to participate in, keeping them informed and involved.
2. Good News
Positivity is a powerful motivator for employee productivity. In fact, it’s been proven that happy employees have 12% greater productivity. Looking for opportunities to create and share good news isn’t just good for the heart, it’s good for the business too.
A ‘Good News-letter’ could share uplifting news and inspirational stories from across the workplace and around the world to keep spirits high. These might include motivational quotes, personal stories (perhaps sourced from the experiences of your employees?), videos and images.
3. Keeping Well
Early studies on the health impact of working remotely due to covid-19 have warned of the risk to mental health. Work is stressful, even under normal conditions. Combine this with working from home, restrictions on mobility and social seclusion and the effect on personal health is clear.
Health and wellness are critical issues for HR Managers. Newsletters offer an excellent channel for promoting tips and advice on positive mental health and physical wellbeing. These could include resources for exercises, recipes and other activities that contribute to happier, healthier employees. It's also a good opportunity to remind employees of any mental health resources available to them such as Employee Assistance Programs.
4. Technology Tips
Ask any Chief Information Security Officer what keeps them awake at night and they’re likely to respond ‘cyber security’. Data breaches are on the rise, and each incident caused by human error costs US businesses $3.5 million. Staff are an organization’s greatest defense – and their Achilles heel.
In 2020 alone there was a huge increase in cyber attacks as companies moved to remote working. Recent studies show, 47% of individuals fall for a phishing scam while working at home, meaning cyber-attackers saw the pandemic as an opportunity to step up their attacks.
Minimize the risk to your business by creating a dedicated cyber security newsletter. Provide best practices for safe online behavior and general advice on operating technology better.
Remind employees of ways to protect themselves online, make them aware of the latest threats, and provide tips to improve productivity (for example, keyboard shortcuts or useful extensions).
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5. Praise People
One thing every newsletter should have at its core is people. Humans love reading the personal experiences of others. It creates bonds of fellowship and inspires us with tales of achievement.
Make your people the focus of a newsletter dedicated to celebrating them. Announce birthdays, anniversaries and other milestones. Share praise for employees, from peers or from management.
Recognizing and praising the efforts of employees is a proven motivational technique. As well as encouraging employees to do well, it also provides an important connection between staff in times of working remotely.
6. Educate Yourself
The restrictions imposed by Covid lockdowns have inspired many people onto paths of self-improvement. In some cases, these are to improve skills in a competitive job market, but in others are simply to pursue those hobbies and passion projects that offer valuable escapes from daily living.
Your newsletter could be a source of both education and inspiration. Choose a topic each week and collate a range of free resources for employees to learn about the topic. This could be from internal teams teaching other departments more about what they do, it could be a topic related to your industry or something else entirely.
Not sure where to start? Send out a staff survey to find out what employees are interested in learning about.
The pressure of lockdowns and workplace change can have an adverse effect on relationships. Families unaccustomed to spending every minute together have suddenly found themselves trapped at home 24/7. Close business relationships have eroded to superficial digital exchanges.
While company newsletters can never take the place of professional support services, they can play a useful part. Provide advice for maintaining positive relationships while working from home. These might be tips for parents to keep kids occupied and happy while they’re working. Or it may be ice-breakers for teams to explore in happy hour calls.
Collate a list of support services available to people in your local area and include these as useful links at the foot of every newsletter.
How often should you communicate with employees?
The short answer is as often as possible. A regular cadence of communications is key to keeping employees informed and engaged. Your organization should ensure the minimization of uncertainty and maximize awareness.
Sending a weekly newsletter is necessary to maintain productivity and engagement levels. Sending alerts on a reactive basis, e.g. when there are Covid cases, lockdowns beginning, is another crucial way to inform employees of critical information.
Your internal newsletter can be a powerful tool for engaging employees throughout covid-19 lockdowns and beyond. Need more inspiration? Take a look at our list of employee newsletter ideas, or if you’re stuck for a witty name to call yours, explore our list of great employee newsletter names.