Division C - Audio/Visual Tools of Public Relations
Category 11 - Other
LCEC Monday Blast

Award of Distinction

Research/Situation Analysis: LCEC delivers electricity to 197,000 customers throughout five counties in Southwest Florida. The organization’s 380 employees are also scattered throughout the expansive service area. LCEC has several internal communication tools in place to reach employees, including two employee newsletters, an intranet and e-mail. However, an employee engagement survey conducted by an independent consultant in 2006 indicated that LCEC had an opportunity to enhance employee engagement by improving communication. In order to drill down to determine how communication could be improved, a communication survey was conducted. Results showed that employees were hungry for more information; however, they were frustrated by the number of all-employee e-mails that were distributed on a daily basis. LCEC does not restrict the ability to send all-employee e-mails. Messages are sent from various departments regarding new hires, policy changes, events, job postings, volunteer opportunities, training courses, etc. The number of all-employee e-mails could range from 5-10 e-mails per day! In addition, the survey indicated that the 43.9 percent of employees would prefer to receive their newsletters electronically, which is the direction that the organization would like to go in order to eliminate printing costs. Armed with this information, a weekly e-newsletter was created with the hopes of enhancing communication, consolidating all-employee e-mails and eventually influencing the majority of employees to relinquish their printed newsletters in favor of an electronic version. Due to employees’ various work environments, it was essential that the format of the e-newsletter be simple and work across computer platforms. The target audience was key information providers, LCEC employees and management.

Objectives: 1. To launch a weekly e-newsletter to inform LCEC employees about current developments, announcements and other events that would be read by a minimum of 30 percent of LCEC employees within the first month of the first Blast.
2. To reduce the number of all employee e-mails by 10 percent within the first month.
3. To illustrate how employee feedback on the engagement survey can make a difference by ultimately improving communication.
4. To develop the e-newsletter at no cost.

Implementation: LCEC analyzed all-employee e-mail communication to identify the employees who distributed the majority of the group e-mails. Those key information providers and the in-house Web administrator were gathered for a focus group in order to obtain their buy-in, to determine possible topic areas that were needed most to improve employee communication and development of content criteria and timelines. Additionally, the Web administrator provided input about the technical side of the project. A simple template was created without photos and using standard fonts to ensure that field employees could view the information from mobile workstations. The information was kept short and simple and directed employees to more detailed information through links within the e-newsletter. The format allowed for a quick-view by readers with bold topic headlines and red subject lines. This design was used so that employees could quickly scan the e-newsletter and read the topics that pertained to them or interested them. The weekly e-newsletter was named the Monday Blast and an e-newsletter archive on the intranet was named The Blasts from the Past. Once approval was obtained from management, a production schedule was created and shared with the information providers. Employees were encouraged to provide news and feedback at the end of each Blast.

Evaluation: The Monday Blast was a hit! Several accolades were received from employees immediately following the first Blast. Submissions poured in from employees throughout the organization.
1. Through tracking information, LCEC determined that 74 percent of employees read the Monday Blast within the first month, 44 percent more than the goal. According to a survey distributed to all employees two months after implementation, 100 % of respondents read the Monday Blast every week and 95.1% read the entire e-newsletter.
2. LCEC was able to reduce the number of all employee e-mails by 88 percent within the first month. Employees began to submit items for the Blast and even sent in the proper format!
3. According to a survey 98.8% of employees indicated that the Monday Blast has improved communication at LCEC. When introducing the Blast, and in many of the weekly intros, it was stressed that the idea was a result of employee feedback during the engagement survey.
4. The e-newsletter was created at no cost to LCEC.

Budget: Approximately 10 hours of staff time and with the template weekly Blast development time was reduced to an hour.