13 tips for better ‘all staff emails’

“Can you send this email to all staff?” That dreaded question all comms people loathe. Fear not, as here I am with another topic others dare not speak of. Here’s my 13 tips for better all staff emails.

I don’t know about you, but in my experience:

  • Staff routinely tell us that they get too many emails
  • They also tell us they will (or won’t) read emails from certain sources
  • They’ll only read emails if the person or team sending it is trusted and reputable
  • The content needs to be well written with links for further reading or response, as relevant
  • The list you send it to needs to be relevant, up to date and well targeted.
Things to think about even before you send ‘all staff’ emails

1. Is an email the best channel to share your message?
2. Are there other channels that might work better? E.g. regular staff newsletter, face to face via a team meeting.
3. Is the content of your message relevant to most, if not all, of the staff you are sending it to?
4. Is the person / email box you’re sending the message from the most relevant and trusted source?
5. When did you last send a message about this topic?
6. It’s important to not ‘over share’or you will lose credibility and staff will ignore future messages.

Content of the emails

7. Does the subject box instantly let readers know what he email is about?
8. Is the message succinct and to the point?
9. Is there a key contact for queries or responses?
10. Have you set up replies to be directed to this person / or a dedicated inbox (if needed).

Timing of the email message

11. Think about when you will send the message – avoid the times when staff are less likely to read it e.g. Fridays
12. If you need staff to take action, particularly before a deadline, make this clear and give them plenty of notice
13. If the message relates to an event, a minimum of 6 weeks notice needs to be provided unless special circumstances over-ride this (otherwise, we get lots of complaints that this isn’t enough to plan around already packed diaries).

None of these points are difficult to appreciate. But it takes a good comms person to think through all the issues and arrive at the right decision. This also connects with our skills as communicators to tell stories through the right channels – read my post about this.

Image via Flickr: Copyright City of Boston

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