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Monday, March 8, 2021

Newsletters for small business

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Newsletters for small business

Newsletter for 60 employees?

A visitor to the Managers Guide website asked to buy content for a newsletter that could serve a group of 60 professionals; the department responsible would not have time to write a complete newsletter.

I emailed the following reply (slightly edited):

You asked a good question. With 60 employees, your staff is large enough to need a newsletter, but not large enough to make a big spending commitment. Let me share with you some observations on this basis.

First, although I am not sure why you want to interact with these employees, I assume that it retains their loyalty and increases their productivity (both general objectives for employee newsletters).

To maintain (and perhaps increase) loyalty, I would recommend that you or another suitable person sit down once a month and write a letter. Think of it as a letter to a friend or colleague, and report any news that is of interest to them. You can report on rent, about changes in policy, how to apply for benefits or any other information they might find helpful. Again, I would like to emphasize the need for an informal approach, perhaps something that this letter reflects to you. If possible, avoid it as a memo. And I would print or copy and mail it, rather than using electronic mail.

In terms of productivity, I wouldn’t buy articles from third parties unless you come across something that really impresses you. You say that these people are professionals, which to me indicates that they will have access to the internet, and probably have no end to information.

Instead, I would set up a modest budget and then offer to pay the employees for providing useful tips and articles that their colleagues can use to be more productive. For example, $ 20 per employee per expense gives you a budget of about $ 1,200; offers two articles from 500 to 1000 words for $ 500 each, and four tips from 100 to 200 words for $ 50 each. Or, if you want to spend $ 10 per employee, you can buy one article and two tips. After you have the material at hand, print and distribute it to the employees. It can be sent along with the letter on internal affairs, or separately.

Finally, you might want to consider the Hawthorne experiments, which took place in the late 1920s and early 1930s. Researchers want to determine which internal environmental changes (such as lighting, etc.) have increased productivity the most.

To their great surprise, they found that productivity increased regardless of the type of change made. For example, productivity increased as they increased the amount of light, as expected. But it also went up when the amount of light decreased; it was not to be expected.

All this led researchers to realize that it was the attention the employees received, not the changes, that made a difference. We now refer to this phenomenon, in which employees respond to the attention they receive, as the Hawthorne effect.

It’s all a circular way of saying that the act of communication is often more important than content or style. As long as you do something, it’s better than nothing.

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