5 Company Newsletter Ideas to Keep Your Employees Hooked

We’ve all been there: sitting in a meeting (with multiple deadlines approaching) and thinking, This could have been an email. Or more specifically, a newsletter.

In a fireside chat, leadership from Unbabel and Honey dove into why an internal company newsletter is an efficient way to communicate departmental and company-wide updates with every employee.

But just like too many meetings can be counter-productive, sending newsletters without a game plan can start to feel like spam. In fact, HR and communications professionals in one study revealed that 71% of employees don’t read company emails. To keep employees both informed and engaged, your internal communications must be as intentional and strategic as your customer-facing content.

It’s challenging enough to get one newsletter off the ground, yet Unbabel has successfully launched a comprehensive monthly newsletter program for five different departments. Read on to discover their tips and tricks for starting your very first newsletter, getting buy-in from leadership, and keeping your employee community engaged.

Gather Powerful Insights, Create a Better Employee Experience

Don't leave your company culture to chance. With accurate, reliable employee surveys in BambooHR, you'll gain the insight you need to prevent burnout, improve morale, and stop premature turnover in its tracks.

Get a Free Demo Today

Meet Our Experts

Melissa Cohen is the Head of Corporate Marketing at Calendly. Previously, Cohen was Unbabel’s VP of Communications and Customer Advocacy where she focused on external and internal communications, thought leadership, content, customer experience, and more.

Chris Lajara is the Senior Product Marketing Manager at Intento. Previously, he served as the HR Representative for Unbabel's US team. While the rest of his team was based in Portugal, he had the unique opportunity to facilitate Unbabel's efforts in the States.

Rachel Kaplowitz is BambooHR’s Head of Core Product and Marketplace. She's also the co-founder of Honey, a reimagination of the corporate intranet.

About Unbabel

Unbabel is an AI-powered language operations (LangOps) solution that helps businesses across the globe deliver multilingual customer support. The company is trusted by several leading brands, such as Microsoft, Booking.com, Udemy, and Panasonic.

About Honey

Honey’s intranet solution makes it easy to manage internal communications in one convenient place, helping employees feel more inspired, informed, and engaged at work.

Why Your HR Team Should Publish a Company Newsletter

It’s easy for different teams to be hyper-focused on their individual functions, but a company newsletter can break down silos and remind everyone of the bigger picture they’re all working toward. Besides serving as a communication tool, a well-crafted and transparent newsletter can bolster employee trust, motivation, and engagement.

For instance, when Unbabel posts a newsletter, the result has been an astounding 100% employee engagement rate. Chris attributes this to their unique feedback approach. Unbabelers have access to open feedback channels, and leadership truly takes their input into consideration to inform future newsletter content. As he explains, “We have to lead by making people feel heard and making them feel like they're a part of something.” This helps employees become more invested in the company’s collective success.

3 Practical Tips for Starting a Company Newsletter

Based on Unbabel's experience in internal comms, here are a few helpful tips for starting a company newsletter from scratch:

Start with a People Newsletter

Even if you’re envisioning a multi-faceted newsletter program, consider easing into the process with one communication to make learning the ropes more manageable. When the Unbabel team started their newsletter program, their first priority was People Team updates. Melissa advises other companies to start there because “It will help the team align from an HR, leadership, benefits, and culture perspective.”

Make It Easy to Skim

Content is the heart of your newsletter, so make sure it’s digestible and to the point. After all, you want employees to go back and reference them instead of coming to you with questions you’ve already addressed.

Oftentimes, Unbabel’s analytics show that their People newsletters have more views than their total number of employees, indicating how effective brevity is. Plus, they make sure to incorporate different elements. As Melissa notes, “We also include emojis, pictures, short stories, and quotes from management, which really keep everyone engaged.”

Don't Rely on Executives to Drive Company Newsletters

A great way to get leadership buy-in is to invite them to contribute, but not lead the newsletter. Generally, executives have jam-packed schedules and likely won’t be able to take ownership of another project that needs constant attention.

To make participation more approachable for Unbabel’s CEO, Vasco Pedro, the People Team simply asks him to provide a quote, a blurb about his current priority, a congratulations for a successful company initiative, or a thought for the upcoming week to feature in their newsletter.

The 5 Best Company Newsletter Ideas That Boost Engagement

There's no formula for the perfect internal newsletter—it varies from one company to the next. So, how can you make sure it's engaging? Here are five things to consider before getting started:

Use a Consistent Format

Over time, different departments may express interest in creating their own newsletters. While creativity should be encouraged, it's also helpful to have a general guide on how to produce impactful newsletters while maintaining consistency.

For example, Unbabel's contributors prioritize these key elements:

Furthermore, they emphasize having a conclusion that connects the newsletter’s topics back to the overarching company strategy.

Send a Survey

Not sure if your formatting or content is resonating with your organization? A brief interactive survey is a great way to find out!

Unbabel includes one at the end of every newsletter to gather mutually beneficial feedback. This gives creators insights for future newsletters and employees a sense of ownership that encourages ongoing engagement.

Use Newsletters as an Onboarding Tool

Besides sharing revenue updates and the like, newsletters are a great way to convey company culture, making them a useful onboarding tool.

For instance, making an effort to highlight new hires and accomplished employees lets new employees know your company welcomes and appreciates hard work. This can help them feel confident that accepting your offer was the right choice and more motivated to strive for recognition.

Get Personal

Newsletters shouldn’t make employees feel like they’re reading a report, but rather like they’re part of a conversation. Beyond only objectives and key results, there’s an opportunity to convey the warmer, human part of business through aspects like tone, personalization, and a pleasant internal brand voice.

To foster connection as a global company, for example, Unbabel prioritizes celebrating different cultures in its People newsletter. They highlight different holidays and a variety of cultural dishes that are meaningful to their diverse workforce. As Melissa mentions, "Our CEO provides perspective, empathy, and experiences in our People newsletter, which I think our team really enjoys.”

Use Eye-Catching Visuals and Videos

As they say, a picture is worth a thousand words. Research shows that viewers retain up to 95% of a message delivered through video, compared to only 10% when reading it in text. "It’s so nice to see faces, hear tones—you get so much more out of a 10-minute video than reading a whitepaper," Rachel notes.

Video is a top priority for Unbabel’s newsletters. Being unable to host their typical, in-person holiday celebrations during the COVID-19 pandemic was the original impetus. To help everyone feel a little closer, the People Team put together a video from the entire leadership team and their families as part of their holiday newsletter, which significantly boosted engagement.

Internal communication is more than a means to relay basic information—it enhances collaboration and connection. And with these ideas in mind, you’re well on your way to crafting a newsletter that strengthens your employees' sense of purpose and community company-wide.

Get the Definitive Guide to Company Culture

A vibrant company culture which supports and nurtures employees—and helps your organization achieve its goals. Created by BambooHR experts, our guide offers a step-by-step plan for leveling up your company culture.

Download Your Free Copy