Besides their role as informal, entertaining forums for people working at a company, employee magazines have a range of other important functions, helping to motivate employees and encourage them to identify more strongly with the organisation. To illustrate how all these aims can be achieved, we thought we’d show you how our own staff publication, SAXONEWS, is made. We’ll look specifically at the last issue, produced for over 600 employees.
Drumroll, please, for the next issue of SAXONEWS
On 2nd May, 600 copies of the latest issue of our employee magazine were sent out to employees and Cewe group colleagues – not for the first time, either: SAXONEWS has been produced every quarter since 2009. So, it’s over ten years old now. Technically speaking, our ‘magazine’ is actually a brochure: it’s staple-bound and printed on 32 pages of A4, 170gsm silk finish paper.
In reality, SAXONEWS is more than a printed product, transcending genres to play its central role as a cross-departmental conduit for information and entertainment. It’s also a vector to increase employee motivation and identification with SAXOPRINT as a company. In addition to its role in generating loyalty among existing employees, SAXONEWS has also become something of a recruitment tool as SAXOPRINT has been a part of the CEWE group since 2012 and some issues are sent to other subsidiaries, allowing the company to expand their radius.
Writing an employee magazine
The magazine is produced by a six-to-eight-person editorial staff, who begin work on each issue by meeting to lay out an overall structure and a rough sketch of the topics to be covered. Once the initial plan is set, it’s time to start work – and this is where a broad range of colleagues, the SAXONEWS “freelancers”, make their contribution. They support the core editorial staff by reporting about the latest developments in SAXOPRINT.
Topics for SAXONEWS range from news items from individual departments to company-wide events or sponsoring initiatives. There are segments such as „Mach mit!“ (Join in!), family news, retirements, and the letter from the management (without which no issue is complete). Whatever the specific contents of any given issue, the focus is always very clearly on how each and every member of staff can join in, whether by suggesting their own topics to cover or by taking part in a competition.
In general, it takes six-to-eight weeks from the initial editorial meeting to the final editorial deadline, with another two weeks for setting and graphics needed before the magazine goes to print.
Max Eggerichs operates our folding machine and, as such, gets a first glimpse of each issue before most other members of SAXOPRINT staff. Max isn’t just responsible for cutting SAXONEWS, but is also an enthusiastic reader:
“It’s quite amusing when our next job turns out to be the new issue of SAXONEWS, and of course we’re always curious to see what’s in it. Nevertheless, we don’t really read it in depth until we get home. The best bit is when it arrives by post as a finished product and you know that, along with lots of other people in the company, you’ve played your part in making it.”
It mightn’t come as a surprise that, as a print company, we produce SAXONEWS as a printed magazine. What Editor-in-Chief Denise Schirmer thinks is particularly important, however, is that we send it home to each member of staff:
“We are a printing company, so of course we will always have a hard-copy internal communication product to complement our intranet. As the years have gone by, our SAXONEWS magazine has become a quality publication which, thanks to its numerous illustrations and informative copy covering a range of areas, marketing initiatives, and PR and sponsoring activities, helps make company news directly relevant to staff. Thanks to our various participative elements and staff offers, SAXOPRINT employees get an opportunity to join in – and because we send it to their home address, we know that every member of staff gets a copy.”
SAXONEWS – and lots, lots more!
Reactions from staff are strongly positive, and we know that everyone looks forward to the latest issue of SAXONEWS. The magazine isn’t an isolated element, however – it’s one of a range of benefits we offer our employees, including:
subsidised public transport passes
a company pension scheme
our employee shareholding programme
school holiday childcare
contributions towards gym membership
our popular summer festival
SAXOPRINT employees also love our corporate spaces at games played by the sports teams we sponsor – so we make sure to announce these dates in the employee magazine!
Annett Hunt, Head of Human Resources at SAXOPRINT, sees SAXONEWS as an integral part of the company’s communication strategy:
“With SAXONEWS, staff are regularly given a product of their own work to which everyone – from the editorial team and graphic design, through to print and processing staff – has contributed. And everyone benefits: SAXONEWS offers information and entertainment in equal measure. SAXONEWS is something SAXOPRINT simply can’t do without!“
Managing Director Daniel Ackermann is of the same opinion:
“For many years now, SAXONEWS has been an important part of our internal communication structure. It is a printed magazine produced in-house by our staff, for our staff. I can’t think of anything more fitting for us.“