Weekly company newsletters that actually engage

Every Friday at Rotunda Software, the weekly newsletter lands in email inboxes company-wide signaling the end of another productive week. At many companies, the internal newsletter is a skippable item - so what makes Rotunda's so unique?

While we do get together virtually on a weekly basis to give our team time to co-mingle, the intention of those "breakout sessions" is not to go over company updates or review metrics, but to create an opportunity for our team to connect and discuss a variety of work related and non-work related topics. However, we did need a way to communicate company-wide on a consistent basis to keep everyone in the loop. Enter our weekly newsletter, which has adapted over time into its current form - a form that has proven very effective for our own team! We use our newsletter to share company wide announcements, provide updates on the hard work of each department, and share some fun internal highlights like warm praise we’ve received from customers or photos that have been shared on Slack.

The Business
At Rotunda Software, we typically hold full company meetings on a quarterly basis, to review where we’ve been and where we are going. However, we have found great value in keeping people informed about the activities in other departments on a more regular, if less formal, basis. Our newsletter has become a place where each department can provide a brief update on work that has been completed, their progress on ongoing projects, and goals they have set for the near future. Giving everyone access to updates across departments has shown to reduce the effect of siloing and improved our connections between teams. It helps people to see how their work affects or overlaps with efforts being undertaken in other departments, reinforces that all of our individual work is progressing us towards common goals, and lets us share in each other's successes.

The Fun
It can’t be all fun and games, but we try to give people opportunities for "water cooler" talk through tools like Slack. Throughout the week, team members regularly and organically talk with each other about things like food and cooking, culture, family updates, and travel. Using these conversations, we create a small digest of Slack channel highlights in each newsletter, to share photos, recipes, music and more. This has been a great way to add personality and whimsy into our newsletter, and helps bring our team together through shared interests and hobbies!

The Format
We take strong pride in our shared values, which includes the value that our work is our art. That’s why we strive to utilize our own products whenever possible (check out our article on walking a mile in our users shoes). Our weekly newsletters take advantage of one of our newest products, Unison.io, which gives everyone an easy way to receive and interact with each newsletter, such as by leaving comments or responding to polls right from the email. By setting each newsletter up in a simple to read and easy to interact with format, it encourages more people to read and follow up with the content. A win win!

A weekly internal email may not be an out-of-the-box concept, but we attribute the success of our newsletter to the fact that we focus on providing content that serves the needs and interests of our team members first, and being open to adaptation as those needs and interests change. If you’d like to introduce a regular newsletter to your team, consider signing up for a free Unison.io account. Unison.io helps groups do more, and we’d love to hear from you about how it benefits your team’s communication!

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