Tact does not always make its way into corporate e-mail, and what may seem like an innocent announcement from your perspective could be a morale-crushing message to the people on the other end. Below are a collection of e-mails that executives have actually sent to their employees that may have had a different impact than was intended.
Consider this tip: take a few extra moments to craft your office e-mails, and give them a once-over (or two-over or maybe even a three-over) before sending them out to your employees. Those extra minutes could save you days – or even weeks – of employee frustration, resentment and low morale. Technically, this is called "organizational empathy" - the ability to predict how your communications (or lack thereof) will impact others.
Subject: Company Picnic
We will have our first company picnic next week, which we have dubbed "Morale Builder 2004." The picnic will feature carnival rides and all-you-can-eat hot dogs and beans. A menu of steak and lobster is available for executives.
Subject: Computer Training Course
After much consideration, we have decided to cancel the training for our new computer system on the grounds that once people learn the system, they usually leave.
Subject: Recommendation Status
I sent your recommendations, under my signature, to the vice president. I thought your suggestions were good, and I know he will pay more attention if my name, and not your name, is on it.
Subject: Computer Downtime
It has come to my attention that the e-mail system was down yesterday. From now on, I have requested that the system manager send a group message to everyone next time the system goes down.
Subject: Customer Support
We have decided against creating a Customer Support Department on the grounds that it might encourage customers to complain more often.
Subject: New Parking Policy
We have decided to allocate parking spaces to managers. Our current policy of "open parking" seems to benefit only those employees who come to work early.