Fast & efficient, best used sparingly

Employee communications channels

Email

Purpose Typical audience Pros Cons Can you do it yourself? Thinking points
A tried & tested way of sending secure messages quickly, to a wide audience Not ideal for production workers Not too expensive, and you can link easily to other online content Email overload, a 500-recipient limit, lack of the ‘personal touch’ Yes, especially if to smaller groups Avoid getting into the ‘reply all’ game and try and avoid cc and bcc if possible

What is this channel?

Using email is of course second nature to most of us nowadays. It’s a fast and efficient way to send a message. But as we know from our own inboxes…email overload can be a problem. You don’t want your email to be just another one flooding your recipient’s inbox. So, make sure you use this channel only when you really need to - and keep your messages clear and concise.

What and when is it typically used?

Think about your audience; can you share your messages properly and reach them via this channel? Check out the comparison notes below and weigh the pros versus cons. This will help you decide how to spend your time/ money for the best result.

Benefits

  1. It‘s fast.
  2. You can reach lots of people (nearly all employees have a DSM email account).
  3. Secure.
  4. Easy to link to websites, visuals and internal digital sites.
  5. Not as expensive as some other channels.

Challenges

  1. Email overload!
  2. Risk of ending in the spam folder.
  3. To reach >500 people you need to send emails in batches or work with a vendor.
  4. Many production workers tend not to check their email regularly.
  5. Mass emails don’t have the ‘personal touch’.

How to use this channel

A few key points worth remembering:

  • Make sure your subject line captures the essence of your email. But don’t make it too long.
  • Put your most important message in the first paragraph and build your story from there.
  • Keep paragraphs, sentences and words as short as possible.

Do you need to email a large audience?

  • Check first if this is ok with the site manager or a respective communications colleague.
  • Also note that sending emails to all colleagues in a specific site or region (or large audiences) is restricted to a limited group because it may clash with other important mailings. 
  • Once your email is approved, follow the instructions of the communications colleague in order to organize  your mailing. This may mean you will need to work with an external vendor. (eg, Crossphase or Webpower). Naturally, there are some costs involved here.

Things to keep in mind

  • Do you know who your recipients are? What is your key message for this audience? 
  • Is it worth asking a peer to review before sending? (to ensure your message is clear).
  • Avoid ending up in a massive ‘reply-to-all’ game. 
  • Only cc if necessary. 
  • For transparency, best avoid using bcc. 

KPIs for this channel

How will you know ‘what success looks like’? Measuring the response to this channel /tool could give you a better understanding of whether you’ve reached your communication objective. KPIs can be qualitative or quantitative. Here are some ideas:

  1. You can request a read receipt via the option tags. This tells you how many opened the email, however, be aware that this does not tell you if they actually understood what they read! Also, you may get many read-receipts that need to be tracked manually.
  2. You can consider adding a voting button, for example asking if recipients found the message relevant.
  3. If you sent an email to a very large audience with support from a DSM expert or external vendor (eg, Webpower or HRSS), they can provide an overview of the number of bounced emails, opens, and clicks - if you added hyperlinks. 

Final thoughts

If this a stand-alone initiative, then go ahead! However, if this is part of a wider initiative, you might want to take a step back and look at the broader communications perspective. A good starting point is our 9-step approach to creating your communication plan - which includes an overview of all the internal channels and tools.

Read more

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