As mentioned in a previous post on employee communications, most organizations have more than enough content and sufficient communications tools they can use. Because it’s easy for departments to issue all-employee e-mails, it’s not unusual to hear folks complain about being bombarded with internal e-mails.
Even if controls are in place to manage the stream of “need to know” info, there is still a need to communicate the “nice to know” stuff so employees know what’s going on and feel connected … the challenge is finding a way to effectively & efficiently communicate both types of information without overloading people.
Meeting the challenge
Just about a year ago, Hudson Valley Community College, based in Troy, NY, launched the Hudson Valley Campus Chronicle as the school’s official employee newsletter “dedicated to providing information that helps the employees fulfill the college’s mission.” Information is categorized under the headings of general news, upcoming events, “accolades” (faculty & staff achievements), and classifieds (the ever-popular “items for sale, swap, or wanted”).
The project was a joint collaboration between the school’s Internal Communications Committee and Computer Services Department. [In full disclosure, I helped the Committee develop their initial internal communications plan in which they identified the need to streamline their employee e-mail. However, I was not involved in any follow up design or implementation. This post reports on their experience that I thought may be helpful to others.]
According to Eric Bryant, Assistant Director of Communications & Marketing, the Hudson Valley Campus Chronicle has been well received. I recently got a sneak peek at it & was impressed with how user-friendly it is. So I asked Eric to share his experience in developing and managing the Campus Chronicle.
- Employees were anxious for an alternative to streamline the all-campus e-mails they received, so getting buy-in for this e-newsletter was not as difficult as anticipated.
- In getting employees to use the Campus Chronicle, it was important to convey that it’s THEIR publication – an open platform for information, not just top-down communication.
- Those involved in the project worked hard to make it easy to navigate (so people would read it) and easy to submit information via template (so people would use it).
- Recognizing some employees need extra hand-holding to become more comfortable in submitting information (especially those who are not web-savvy), Eric felt they could have been more proactive in providing training in this area.
For other communications professionals about to engage in a similar initiative to streamline all-employee e-mail communications, Eric acknowledged an ongoing effort in continually “tweaking” the newsletter to meet employees’ communication needs and continually promoting it. He also advises being flexible and having some fun with it.
Thanks for sharing, Eric. And I’d love to hear from others who have experience with this.