By Chris Izquierdo on August 30, 2021


Well-run organizations prioritize internal communication in order to have happy and engaged employees. According to McKinsey & Company, employee productivity increases by up to 25% in organizations where employees are connected. However, according to Gallup’s State of the Global Workplace, only 15% of employees are engaged in the workplace. 

Some organizations might try to unlock these productivity gains by starting up weekly email newsletters to keep their employees informed. However, these organizations should think twice: relying too much on email newsletters as your primary or even sole communication channel can be ineffective and even distract your employees.

In this blog, we’ll share the ins-and-outs of using email newsletters to effectively connect and engage your employees.

Email Shouldn’t Be The Only Channel

Employees these days want to feel connected to where they work, and there’s no better way to achieve that than by creating open lines of communication that not only keeps them informed but also allows them to share feedback. Although email used to be an effective communication tool, it can no longer satisfy all the demands of a modern business for a couple of reasons.

The first reason is that the inboxes of your employees are likely under constant bombardment. According to SaneBox, 62% of the emails in the average inbox are not important. On top of that, a study by the Danwood Group found that it takes an average of 64 seconds to recover from an email interruption and return to work at the same work rate as before the interruption. Using other communication channels, then, can help reduce the burden of distracting emails on your employees. 

Another reason to diversify your communication channels is that email newsletters alone cannot effectively engage your employees. Email newsletters, by their nature, don’t enable a dynamic exchange of information—unless you want to encourage employees to hit reply-all or create a massive chain letter. Email newsletters distribute information statically and aren’t conducive to sparking conversations or building rapport. Furthermore, once opened (and perhaps only skimmed), email newsletters are likely filed away to the trash folder—you can’t revise an email with more updated information or clarify with further detail. 

In contrast, an omnichannel approach to your internal communications—one that uses all possible forms of communication—will better engage and build relationships with your employees. Using an omnichannel approach empowers your employees to choose the channel that works best for them, which can vary depending on their job as well as the time, day, or location. You can further increase engagement by segmenting your employees and reaching out to them with personalized messages and content that is relevant to just them. 

Challenges with Email Analytics

On top of these previously mentioned challenges, measuring the effectiveness of email newsletters is another tricky factor. There are so many metrics these days, such as open rates, click rates, click-through rates, conversion rates, and much more, that it can be difficult to know which ones can help you get more from your internal communications. That’s why we’ll review a few of these top challenges.

Open rates are one of the most misleading metrics when it comes to email metrics. It is calculated by dividing the number of opens by the number of emails sent. Opens are tracked by placing a 1x1 pixel image at the bottom of each message. The image is then linked to a tracker code that records when the image is downloaded, thus recording an open. 

However, it’s not actually that simple. Some emails go untracked because they’re read in preview, without downloading the tracking pixel. Some mail clients block images, which also limits tracking. And then, some emails are bounced, blocked, or even deleted before they’re opened. 

Click-through rates (CTRs) are another metric that can be misleading. A CTR is commonly calculated by dividing the number of unique recipients that clicked by the number of total recipients. But if a large portion of the email recipients didn’t even open your email, is it accurate to factor them into your CTR calculations? Instead, divide the number of unique recipients that clicked by the number of unique recipients that actually opened. This will provide you with a much more effective evaluation of your email content. 

So Should You Still Use Email?

Just because email newsletters aren’t the most effective way of engaging with your employees doesn’t mean you should abandon the channel altogether. Instead, consider reframing email as another channel rather than the channel, as if email were just one tool in your toolbox. Try reflecting on how you can not only group your employee email list to provide more tailored content but also on what type of information is best saved for email. 

Sparrow, for example, is a communications platform with newsletter functionality. However, every newsletter is automatically generated and targeted to each employee based on their interests. Furthermore, the Sparrow platform allows your organization to send emails that only include relevant content that either you want to reinforce or that your employees missed, whether that’s because they didn’t read it or engage with it through another communication channel.

Re-imagine Your Internal Communications with Sparrow

Does your organization have an internal communications strategy in place? Your business deserves the best communication tools out there so you can engage your employees, boost productivity, and bring value throughout your workforce. At Sparrow, we believe in the power of workforce communications and can help your business stay ahead of the competition. Book a conversation with us today.

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