A tough choice: Killing print

Ten years after killing its printed employee publication, Arkema says going online was the right decision.

In 1995 and 1996, communicators at the $1.6 billion Philadelphia chemical manufacturer conducted employee communication surveys (which they do at least once—often twice—a year) to measure the usefulness of the company’s quarterly video magazine and quarterly printed magazine.

Overwhelmingly, the majority of the company’s 3,000 employees said they wanted more timely—more instant—communication. So, communicators made a decision. “We alerted employees that the results of this particular research indicated that while employees liked the video medium, they preferred instant, current news,” says Jane Crawford, the company’s chief public affairs officer.

The solution: Cut the high-end video magazine and the four-color print magazine and expand the intranet. Communicators beefed up the company news and features on the site and added sections like “President’s Page” and “Among Us” to mirror the type of content in the magazine. The manager of employee communication took on the responsibility of updating homepage headlines daily.

The cost-savings, incidentally, weren’t small: “We saved about $100,000 annually by cutting the quarterly magazine and quarterly video magazine,” Crawford says.

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