Have you ever fired off an email or text and immediately wished you could recall it back? Or sent an email to the wrong person? Ever heard of “Reply All” and regretted replying to all? These issues are very important to address within companies and finding some solutions can be hard. Let’s look at the issues and potential fixes:
- Emails are EVERYWHERE. Think about your own personal email account(s) (if you’re like me, you have four of them). How many emails do you receive per day? According to this study, “In 2015, the number of emails sent and received per day total over 205 billion. This figure is expected to grow at an average annual rate of 3% over the next four years, reaching over 246 billion by the end of 2019.” How is anyone supposed to manage this? From a business sense, that same study reported, “In 2015, the number of business emails sent and received per user per day totals 122 emails per day. This figure continues to show growth and is expected to average 126 messages sent and received per business user by the end of 2019.” Does this ring true for you and your employees? Do your employees spend too much time sending and receiving emails, or reading emails and email trains?
- What are in these emails? Some common mistakes are employees making when sending and receiving emails could be:
- Informality of tone
- Sent to the wrong person (autofill of addresses is a naughty culprit)
- “Reply to all” instead of just one person
- Inappropriate subjects
- My rule of thumb is if you wouldn’t sent it to your child or your grandmother, don’t send it to a co-worker or customer.
- Focusing on personal issues rather than factual problems
- for example; “Sheila is rude and unprofessional” rather than “Sheila made a comment to a client about their ugly proposal.” Stick to the facts.
- Documenting confidential information (whistleblower items)
- Not recognizing who’s in the email chain
- Expressing anger or frustration in written format
- Emailing conversations or discussing topics that should have a phone conversation
- Privacy or HIPPA violations
- Harassing or hostile information
Once an email has been sent – it is always traceable. Emails can be requested or subpoenaed at any time. They can also be leaked or hacked. Information that you AND your employees are sending could have consequences. Some suggestions to help with these issues could be:
- Install software to filter unwanted and/or junk email to reduce time spent on filtering
- Create policies on when and when not to email (specific topics/conversations)
- Turn off autofill of addresses requiring the full entry of an email address to avoid mistake emails
- TRAIN, TRAIN, TRAIN. I can’t emphasize this enough. Training employees on appropriate conversations, email trains, and policies that the company has regarding forwards, harassment, tone and inappropriate content. And when you’re done training, document that training, discipline for those that break policy, and train again!
- Picking up the phone and speaking about certain situations vs. putting it in email format that can be retrieved at any time
Jobs have been lost and reputations have been ruined by simple emails. Practice what you as managers and business owners preach: be cautious each time you hit send. Hire an outsourced professional (like me, hint hint) to provide training for your employees along with other outsourced benefits (payroll, benefits, discipline, and safety just to name a few). We are happy and eager to help.