How to jazz up interviews for your employee magazine

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It’s said that there are three rules to success in business: Know your people, know your people, and know your people

A great way to help that happen is through your internal magazine. Employee interviews in internal publications can be engaging and fun, and they can help colleagues connect in an easy-going, lighthearted way.

A well-considered employee presence delivered with a personal touch helps to create a powerful sense of belonging and ownership: It’s “our magazine” representing “our people.”

It’s important to keep the content of this feel-good platform fresh and relevant, so readers come back for more. There are lots of quirky ways to go about introducing your associates to the rest of the organization by injecting energy into your employee interviews:

Take inspiration from “Meet the team” Web pages.

Creative organizations are always coming up with fresh and engaging ways to present their people to the public. There’s a lot we can learn from this, swiping cheeky ideas to transfer to our internal environment.

The websites to look out for are the ones that focus on people, rather than abstract company information or dull product detail. Peruse your favorite funky companies to see how they do it.

Some of the best ideas we’ve spotted include heaps of humor, creative imagery, cartoon portraits, random facts, yearbook presentation styles, “skills scales,” personal stats cards and superpower capabilities. All these approaches work well for printed publications, as well as for digital channels, where you can use different formats like video and animation.

Download the free white paper, “How to be a brand journalist,” to learn how to tell your organization’s compelling stories.

Here are some examples of nifty team pages to get your creative thoughts flowing:

The Wow Co.

TH_NK

LessFilms

Digital Marmalade

Revamp your questions.

If your employee magazine has been around a while, it might be time to refresh it.

Think about how your questions set the tone for you employee interviews. More lighthearted options can help employees to “open up.”

Here are 20 of our current favorites:

  • What gets you out of bed in the morning?
  • How would you describe your day job to a child?
  • What is your biggest achievement to date—either personal or professional?
  • What does a typical day look like for you, and what are you currently working on?
  • What three words would you use to describe your role?
  • If you could switch jobs with someone, who would it be?
  • What is on your wish list for your next five years here?
  • What are your biggest professional challenges?
  • If you could choose anyone, whom would you pick as your mentor?
  • If you could change one thing about working here, what would it be?
  • What do you like most about your job?
  • What advice would you give to recent hires?
  • What’s your most memorable face-palm moment?
  • When was the last time you laughed so hard you cried?
  • What is your motto or personal mantra?
  • What’s your favorite blog?
  • What’s the most recent app you’ve downloaded but have yet to use?
  • Given a chance, who would you like to be for a day?
  • What’s your favorite line from a film?
  • What is your guilty pleasure?

Repackage the feature.

Another way to freshen up an interview feature is to give it a new identity. Internal magazine features don’t have to be dry, corporate content.

Rather than conducting a humdrum Q&A session, get creative with the format. We’ve come across some really strong internal magazines in which the employee interview always hits the spot in the popularity stakes. These include:

  • One Minute With…
  • Stuck in the Elevator
  • Q&A by the Coffee Machine
  • Spotlight On…
  • Lunch Break Roulette
  • Center Stage
  • An Audience With…
  • On the Grapevine

Ask employees to interview each other.

If interviewing doesn’t come naturally to you or if it’s just time for a fresh approach—there is another way.

Readers have a unique relationship with each other, understanding the right questions to ask while also knowing what people want to read about. Employees understand the priorities, the subjects that they’re all talking about, and the juicy stuff that gets all the hits.

Cutting out the middleman can uncover this detail faster and produce a purer, more sincere result. You can set a few parameters or guidelines, but really you want to hand over the reins and encourage some creativity.

Ask employees simply to record it and send you an audio file-that way you’re not waiting for a finished product that’ll never come. You’ll be pleasantly surprised by the raw, unadulterated dialogue.

What’s next?

Take a good look at how you’re presenting your employee interviews. Could you be a little more creative? A spot more stimulating?

Ask employees what they’d like to see, have fun with new ideas, and introduce your people in appealing ways. People love to see a familiar face, “one of them.”

A fresh new look to your employee interviews will certainly pique readers’ interest and could end up being your best-loved feature.

A version of this article originally appeared on the Alive With Ideas blog.
Ragan.com

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16 ways to keep your internal print magazine relevant and fresh

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It’s tempting to think print publications are old news, defeated by digital.

Is there still a place for print?

There was a time when internal print magazines were a communications cornerstone, a vital channel for sharing news. As times have changed, many organizations have replaced print magazines with digital alternatives or have done away with print altogether.

Scuttling print magazines could be a big mistake. Organizations continue to embrace print magazines for many reasons, including:

  • Employee preference; print is still a crowd pleaser.
  • Field staffers aren’t always able to access the intranet.
  • Some employees aren’t active on social media.
  • Employees can take a print newsletter home, read it while commuting or keep it for leisurely reading.
  • The act of turning real pages is a refreshing change from the daily bombardment of digital content.
  • It’s harder to throw away a print publication than delete an email.

Rather than viewing email newsletters or social intranets as the best communication options, many organizations believe print magazines remain a valuable part of the communications mix.

Download this free white paper, “Auditing your Internal Communications,” for a step-by-step guide to assess which communications channels work best for your organization.

Keeping content fresh and interesting

It’s important to regularly ensure your print publication’s content is relevant and entertaining to readers. A print magazine may not be the most suitable channel for time-sensitive news, but there are plenty of topics that are perfect for magazines. Here are some suggestions:

1. Promote the why. Use your magazine to demonstrate employees’ role in helping the organization achieve its vision. By highlighting the big picture, you’ll promote a sense of purpose and belonging.

2. Sharpen soft skills. Share articles on employees’ personal qualities, attitudes and behaviors. Communication, making decisions, working as a team, solving problems and creativity are valuable, transferrable skills that appeal to everyone.

3. Highlight your heritage. Talking about the organization’s history, featuring visual timelines with milestones and sharing significant moments can support your organization’s story.

4. Mention notable facts and figures. How many customers do you serve each day? How many products did you sell this month? How many lives have you touched? Provide context, and make it meaningful.

5. Share employee wellness initiatives. According to Unum, 30 percent of workers would consider leaving their jobs because of a poor workplace atmosphere. If your company has an employee wellness program, make it known. Share articles about available services.

6. Community news. Employees achieve great things every day. Feature these emotional stories alongside the usual business content.

7. Close the gap. Bridge the distance between employees and leaders by sharing features about senior managers, showing their human side so employees can connect with them.

8. Shine a spotlight on individuals. Featuring stories about employees’ achievements-personal or professional-is a great way to recognize and celebrate your people.

9. Give employees a voice. Show employees what their colleagues are up to by featuring short, fun interviews. This can help demystify roles, break down silos and bring people together. Here are some ideas.

10. Illustrate corporate values. Show colleagues demonstrating the organization’s values.

11. A day in the life. Provide a glimpse into all areas of your organization to make employees feel like part of a team. Help employees understand different jobs at the organization and how they work together.

12. Circulate performance updates. Keep employees informed on the organization’s progress by publishing noteworthy performance updates. Share plans for the future, and get creative with visuals and infographics to demonstrate progress.

13. Update employees on the latest survey results. What improvements has the organization made since the last employee survey? What action plans are in place? What has changed? Show employees you’re listening to them and taking action.

14. Shout about the benefits. Remind people why it’s great to work at your organization. Research from Cass Business School says 64 percent of employers don’t tell their employees about available benefits. A magazine feature is a good way to remind employees about upcoming deadlines such as the end of open enrollment, deadlines for pension plans, etc.

15. Celebrate service anniversaries. Recognize service achievements with a public announcement. Recognition goes a long way.

16. Share kind words from customers. Reading compliments from clients and customers can make a big difference to morale and motivation.

Despite the cries that print is dead, there are many people who hold employee magazines in high esteem. The key is to recognize communication opportunities and continually adapt. Digital media hasn’t done away with print magazines—it has given print a new identity and a chance to shine in new and exciting ways.

Caroline Roodhouse is marketing and content strategist at Alive With Ideas. A version of this article originally appeared on LinkedIn.
Ragan.com

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