Thursday, January 8, 2009

Corporate Newsletters that Save Lives and Increase Productivity

Corporate newsletters are powerful tools and the most effective way to insert behavioral change information into the lives of employees who are moving at a fast pace on the job. Properly constructed with management goals and employee well-being in mind, these productivity tools can help resolve issues with problem employees, reduce risk to business customers, and even improve the ability of a smart insurance producer to build better relationships to sell insurance and improve marketing of risk management products. Corporate newsletters are grossly misunderstood as marketing tools, risk management reduction devices, troubled employee helpers, and productivity boosters.

When I first began writing the work-life-productivity newsletter for the 12,000 employees of the U.S. Congress, my mind was on entertaining employees and helping ensure that I would please the reader. Satisfying the host organization was the mission, but I soon discovered how to do that and much more.

Today, after authoring newsletters for over 50,000 companies, I can assure you that your corporate employee, work-life wellness newsletter is under-powered and under-utilized. Here is how to make your newsletter a instrument of change and directly responsible for doing everything you can imagine from improving customer service to preventing workplace violence.
Step #1: Divide the editorial planning of your employee/work-life newsletter, corporate newsletter, or planned newsletter articles into 12 topic areas.

These will include:

Improving Coworker Relationships
On-the-job Worker Productivity Tips
Balancing Work, Family, Home, and Community
Improving Personal Fitness and Effectiveness
Alcohol and Drug Education, Recovery, & Intervention
Team Building
How to Get Help Now (put information at end of articles)
Hot Work-Life Topics in the News (Seasonal depression, back-to-school, etc.)
Stress Management Tips
Improving the Relationship with Your Supervisor
Workplace Safety, Injury Prevention, and Recovery
Customer Service Improvement and Relationship Enhancement

These topics are the ones that I have discovered meet the most essential needs of employees and business managers in any company large or small.

Next - NEVER have a company newsletter of four pages. Employee will ditch it after 2 pages. So make them two pages. And make them monthly. This is an easy process with a customizable newsletter service - Google "Customizable Editable Employee Newsletters" to find resources.

Next - Distribute by PDF. Employees without computers can get hard copies. And make hard copies available in strategic locations.

Next - Never make articles long and comprehensive when they are associated with mental health issues. Instead make them motivating and captivating. For example, if an article addresses anger management--DO NOT make articles so comprehensive that employees "self-diagnose" and begin treating serious problems themselves. This can increase your risk because they will take half measures and avoid introspection and persistence. It takes a professional to keep this process going most of the time when serious problems exist.

Instead, provide enough information to motivate the reader to take the next step and get help from the company EAP or other resource (preferable a live health/counseling/mental health professional) who can work with the employee. Use this person's face in your newsletter during the year. It will improve the likelihood of this person being utilized as a helping resource. Do you see how doing this can reduce organizational risk? A person struggling with anger issues, who might be the next person to go "postal" in your company could be helped by a newsletter that "sells" help in this manner.

You can apply the above model of information, enticement, and referral to the next step to almost any corporate or employee behavioral problem.

To obtain 24 free newsletter articles that you can use in your own corporate newsletter right now, visit this link to request the download from WorkExcel.com in MS Word. There is no obligation or restriction on the use of these articles.Daniel Feerst, MSW, LISW is author and publisher of the employee newsletters for the U.S. Congress and publisher of the workplace newsletter FrontLine Employee and WorkLife Excel, available by subscription and used by thousands of companies nationwide. Click here to obtain them and learn more other corporate newsletters. You can reach Dan Feerst at mailto:publisher@workexcel.com. His phone number is 1-800-626-4327.

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