share what staff need to know, when they need to know it
Build culture and alignment by creating a plan for leadership to communicate with staff on a regular basis.
Key Insights
✔ Staff feel valued when they receive the information they need in a timely manner.
✔ Differentiating proactive messaging from reactive messaging will help employees know when to operate normally versus be in “fire-fighting mode.”
✔ Reflecting on recent work is as important as looking ahead.
Quick Wins
Condition communication channels for proactive communication — which also can be used for reactive, urgent messaging.
Big Wins
Creates opportunity to address problems and also celebrate corporate wins.
Quarterly Email Update from the CEO
Each newsletter followed this format:
Last Quarter: called out highlights, what worked and why, what didn’t work and win and positive staff recognition
This Quarter: outlined the top organizational priorities for the current quarter
Deep Dive: explanation of evolutions or shifts in the company’s philosophy, approach or strategy to promote adaptive management
Top Five Things on My Mind Right Now: insight in the professional and personal topics on the CEO’s mind
Employee Newsletter
Eradicating extreme poverty with Nuru International means helping households who are literally facing life and death situations. Mitigating food insecurity, economic shocks, disease, death and child illiteracy is sobering yet meaningful work.
While in that role, I constantly looked for ways to keep the employees engaged such challenging work energized. I created a biweekly newsletter to share important, timely, relevant and uplifting content. Each edition was curated for “brevity and levity.”
Even as staff remained connected with instant messaging over Slack, sending a biweekly internal communique accomplished three objectives:
✔ It presents a channel to coordinate communications between various departments—specifically human resources, security, finance, operations, marketing, fundraising and programs.
✔ It conditions employees to receive important but non-urgent information through a reliable channel.
✔ It helps keep the email distribution list of Nuru staff members up-to-date, which is useful should the team need to contact employees in a crisis situation.
These features made regular appearances in the biweekly editions:
Sharing is Caring: a ready-to-go message to share on social media
Tech Corner: tips for saving time, using new technology or upgrading existing software and hardware
Shoutouts: one team member recognizing the hard work of another team member
Worth Reading: a recommended article or book
Just Posted: recent media coverage about the company and/or staff
Stay Alert: commentary on current events, travel advisories or security threats that affect domestic or international employees
Professional Development: advertising online courses or sharing advice to help employees grow in their careers
Inside First: promoting job openings within the company
Welcome Aboard: introducing new employees to the rest of the organization
Farewell for Now: wishing well to employees transitioning from the organization
With just over 30 employees, the team size was manageable enough to highlight each team member twice a year—on his/her birthday and work anniversary—with answers to three questions such as:
✔ What do you enjoy most about your job?
✔ What did you want to be growing up?
✔ If given a chance, who would you like to be for a day?
✔ If you were to write a self help book, what would the topic be?
✔ If your house was burning down, what’s the one non-living thing you would save?
✔ If Hollywood made a movie about your life, who would you like to see cast as you?
✔ What’s your favorite pick-me-up?
As a result of interesting, relevant content, the average open rate was 91% and average click rate was 41%.

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