There’s a saying that great minds think alike. Cindy Sachire, associate director of University budgeting and financial planning, submitted an idea to ND Innovates last fall that NDWorks go digital. The proposal mirrored comments Internal Communications received through the 2018 Improve ND staff survey.
By listening to readers’ feedback, Internal Communications introduced a weekly e-newsletter in July and will print NDWorks just six times a year, down from 11 issues a year. The number of copies published was also reduced to 5,000 from 6,200. The changes will save at least $9,000 in printing and graphic design costs in fiscal year 2019 compared to 2018.
As the ND Innovates initiative intends, not only did Sachire’s idea lead to cost savings, the changes produced efficiencies. With the addition of NDWorks Weekly, the frequency of news updates for faculty and staff increased to once a week from about once a month, and the e-newsletter did not cost Internal Communications any additional money since the same email platform is used for TheWeek@ND.
The changes have generated positive returns, but print remains part of the NDWorks identity.
“NDWorks ranked among the top five favorite communications systems and tools offered by the University, according to Improve ND,” says Gwen O’Brien, associate director of internal communications. “Digging into the 207 comments, we found as many people said they appreciate the newspaper is printed as those who urged for a shift to a digital model. We sought to meet the preferences of both audiences and opted for a hybrid approach.”
Print is valuable for many reasons:
- An estimated 20 percent to 25 percent of University staff do not have access to a computer on the job. The printed paper offers an alternative way to see the information they need to know as employees.
- Those who do work at a desk spend most of their waking hours staring at screens, and up to 30 hours a week checking email. Screen fatigue is real. The print piece is another communication channel to reach a target audience
- Newspaper print is 100 percent recyclable, making it a sustainable communication tool.
“We appreciate the feedback from Cindy Sachire who submitted an idea to ND Innovates, and value the comments in Improve ND,” O’Brien says. “Thanks to our readers sharing their ideas with Internal Communications, we have an overall product that suits the needs of almost anyone.”
ND Innovates continues to welcome ideas submitted through innovates.nd.edu.