Monday, October 12, 2009

Employee Newsletters: Entertainment or Risk Management in Disguise?

A newsletter is written to a captured audience -- your employees. They are at work and anything you offer them in writing has a fairly high likelihood of being read. With this in mind, it is a smart move to consider how to use your employee wellness and productivity newsletter as a tool both to help them and to help your company. Employee newsletters can influence behavior, and it is from this vantage point that they derive their power as risk management tools.

Helping employees and helping your company are not diametrically opposed. Many people, especially some organized labor folks I know, would maintain that anything good for the company is inherently bad for employees. Bull. Let's take a look at how a newsletter article on a simple subject can become a powerful little piece to protect a work organization, even while it helps employees. See below.

Most employee newsletters help employees manage stress. That's a good thing. But if you are thinking strategically with your newsletter, you would write articles to help employees with stress, but keep the topics of stress focused on critical issues facing the workplace or its work culture.

Below is a simple article, and an example of addressing stress management by building resilience. Future stress anticipated in the company directly influenced the timing of the article. It's purpose is to help employees, but also the company in general.

(Yes, you can use this article in your current newsletter if you include "used with permission, by Daniel Feerst,

Building Resilience to Prepare for Stress

Don’t wait until you are on the skids with stress. Start beating it back before it arrives by building resilience. Building resilience is not a passing pop-psychology fad. The American Psychological Association has weighed in on the strategy and endorsed a 10-step approach.

How many of these tips do you follow? Which ones would be good to work on more?
  1. Build effective, supportive relationships with others.
  2. Avoid “catastrophizing” (seeing crises as insurmountable).
  3. View change as part of life, with new opportunities accompanying it.
  4. Be proactive. Move toward your goals. Don’t let things just happen to you.
  5. When faced with problems, act decisively. Don’t just go with the flow.
  6. In the midst of a crisis (or sometime soon after), ask yourself, “Can this event change my life for the better in some way?”
  7. Nurture a view of yourself that includes the ability to withstand adversity.
  8. Practice not zeroing in on the worst part about a crisis or adverse experience.
  9. During a tough time, practice looking forward to the hoped-for conclusion and resolution while avoiding the visualization of your worst fears.
  10. Take care of yourself by maintaining your physical and mental health, because this makes it easier to bounce back when adversity strikes.

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