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In any organization, leadership occasionally needs to make company-wide announcements for a number of reasons. These can be anything from good news about employee and company achievements to less welcome updates related to policy changes, cutbacks and even layoffs. Whenever news needs to be shared, organizational announcements should take the right tone and share all of the necessary information in few concise paragraphs.
Formatting the Announcement
Most organizational announcements are made in memo format. The top of the page should include a header that includes a “To” line (i.e., all employees, a specific department, etc.); a “From” line; the date; and a subject line. These lines should align with the left margin.
The announcement should then follow the format of declaration, discussion and summary. Begin with a declaration of the subject of the announcement, or why you are writing. Follow with more explanation and detail, and end with a summary that reiterates the announcement and next steps. The tone should be professional and direct to ensure that employees understand the news being shared.
Be Clear, Concise and Specific
The most important aspect of an organizational announcement is that it serves a direct purpose. In other words, the audience should know exactly what the announcement pertains to and why it is important. Be specific in the subject line of the announcement; for example, “Welcome to John Smith,” rather than “New Employee Welcome,” or “Memorial Day Holiday Schedule” rather than “Holiday Observance.”
In the body of the announcement, begin with a short explanation of why you are making the announcement, and then share the specifics. For example, if you are sending an announcement about cost cutting, you might begin with a short paragraph noting the reasons for the belt-tightening and how you have reached these conclusions. The next few paragraphs will detail the cost-cutting measures that will affect employees, for instance, cutting nonessential travel or free lunch on Fridays. At the end of the page, be sure to direct employees to where they can ask questions or learn more information about the announcement.
Just the Facts
Organizational announcements are just that: announcements. Therefore, they should remain objective, without speculation or opinion. Stick to the facts and information pertinent to what’s being said. A good way to do this is to use an inverted triangle or journalism-style approach to making the announcement. Open with the most important information in the first paragraph, addressing the who, what, where, when and why of the announcement. For instance, if you are welcoming a new employee, announce the employee’s name, his department, where he will be working, and invite employees to welcome him. If you are having a welcome lunch or other event, include information about that event in the first paragraph. In the following sections, offer more information about the new employee, including education and experience. End with a reiteration of the welcome, and direct employees to where they can find out more information if they have additional questions or must RSVP to an invitation.
An adjunct instructor at Central Maine Community College, Kristen Hamlin is also a freelance writer and editor, specializing in careers, business, education, and lifestyle topics. The author of Graduate! Everything You Need to Succeed After College (Capital Books), which covers everything from career and financial advice to furnishing your first apartment, her work has also appeared in Young Money, Lewiston Auburn Magazine, USA Today, and a variety of online outlets. She's also been quoted as a career expert in many newspapers and magazines, including Cosmopolitan and Parade. She has a B.A. in Communication from Stonehill College, and a Master of Liberal Studies in Creative Writing from the University of Denver.