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Let's Talk: Email Communication

Posted by Jacque Abernathy Jan 29, 2014 6:51:00 PM

Email

Emails can be effective but only if you do it right.  Here are some tips to get you started.

Ok, more often than not, I meet with clients who want to send an email to their employees without considering the message.  Did you know that your employee can process only 50 emails each day?  If your organization is like most, that number is easily exceeded each day – maybe even by lunch time.  And, think about the snowball effect of your email account.  Unless you are super organized and on top of your email account each day, you can end up with hundreds (or thousands) of emails. What happens when you are out of the office for a day, or two, or you have a deadline that requires you to neglect your email for a few days?  You get the point.  Before long you have pages and pages of emails to go through and respond to.  Some of them may even get deleted without being read, GASP!  

So, when it comes to benefit communication and getting your message read, what is your strategy?  When are you sending the email?  (Mornings are best and Friday afternoon is the worst.)  If there is a deadline (like annual enrollment or a period to complete a wellness assessment), are you sending the email multiple times throughout the enrollment period?  If you don’t have a strategy and you are relying on email to reach your audience you might not be having as much luck as you had hoped.  Here are some tips to consider when you are using email to communicate with your employees: 

  1. Consider the email needs to accomplish.  Is it a call to action or an “FYI” only?  If it is an FYI message, does it really need to be sent?  Just asking…
  2. What percent of your employees have easy access to emails every day? If you have shift workers who come in after a week off, or employees in the field who are not sitting at a computer and your employees typically receive over 50 emails a day your poor, overwhelmed employee has to make it through too many emails to process. Do you think your message is going to get read, responded to, or pushed aside? Your guess is as good as mine. 
  3. What else are you doing to support your email message?  If the email is informational, are you posting it on a portal or intranet site or publishing it in a company-wide publication? 
  4. If the message requires action, are you leveraging your managers, posters, text messages, voicemails, etc.?  It is a really good idea.
  5. Bottom line on top – it’s a solid strategy for all communication messages and significantly increases the chance that your reader will give your email a glance. When you bury the key message, or call to action, at the bottom of the email it is downright frustrating and leads to low readership and low participation in your programs. 

Examples of strong email headlines
Instead of saying Important Information or Enrollment Is Here, make it an actionable email by changing the subject line to Action Required: You Must Enroll by November 1, or you could say, Your Attention Is Required: Enrollment Deadline Is Tuesday.  Take a Wellness Assessment Before the December 1 to Earn Cash in Your Pocket. You get the idea. 

It’s the little things that make a big difference in the effectiveness of your employee communication.  Please give us a call if you have questions about your communication strategy.  We’d love to help!

Enroll & Engage

The Touchpoints blog

Touchpoints was founded in 2009 by consultants with a combined 60 plus years of HR, employee benefit communication, organizational development and change management experience. Built on a foundation of best practices, we help our business clients take complex ideas, messages and programs, and make them easy to understand. We deliver sustainable, targeted, results-oriented communication.

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