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How newsletters help building a great company culture

In my last couple of blog posts I mentioned newsletters as a great way to share what happens in your company. Of course, they’re just a tool. So there are right ways to use them, and, well, less right ways.

A couple of years ago the CEO of very big company gave a speech. He talked about what actions he did to change the company’s culture. I have to admit, he did quite a bit. One of the actions was a weekly newsletter. He actually spent two hours each Sunday to write it, sharing what was happening in the company. Unfortunately, our hotshot was fuller of himself than the newsletter of vowels. So he also took the time to ventilate what his opinion on every subject was in the newsletter. And that’s a shame. It should be about ‘sharing’, not about ‘sending’ and telling people what to do.

The NEWS-rule

A regular newsletter is a tool for transparency. It’s an easy way to let everybody know what’s going on. It’s also the perfect solution to help building company culture. You can celebrate successes, give credit to those who deserve it, make fun of management and so on. Logically, it’s used by many companies including Futurice, SC5 and Vincit. When you are thinking about creating one for your company and you’re wondering how to do it, just remember the NEWS-rule. The what? It’s quite simple:

Not too long, not too short (Stories are worth telling, just don’t overdo it)

Exact (True story’s from real people)

Wonky (It should be a fun read)

Showing (Ad lots of pictures)

It can help to make up some recurring sections (News, Fun Story of the Month, Did He Really Say That? Birthdays and so on) that give structure. Also, no heroic efforts from management are needed, on the contrary. Delegate making the content to employees: pictures, stories, tips, announcements, celebrations and so on. If your company has 50+ employees, there won’t be a problem finding interesting stuff each week. Of course, make sure they have the time to work on it. Although it’s great fun to make a newsletter, it’s still work and not a hobby.

Getting to know each other

Maybe you’re like: ‘We already share a lot of stuff on Slack and monthly company-wide meetings. Why should we bother with newsletters?’ Well, great for you. But newsletters bring something else: they give another perspective on what’s going on in your company. They are the perfect tool to share stories, so employees and colleagues turn into real people instead of colleagues with certain skills. And that’s the most important step in building a great company culture.

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