Fundamentals and strategy to reduce email noise
— December 2nd, 2019
The recent Poppulo whitepaper on The strategic role of email in employee communication made the case for continued focus on email and encouraged internal communication professionals to start with this channel to showcase their role in enabling, engaging, and empowering employees to deliver results.
I was pleased to work on two How-To Guides to turn our recommendations into realities. The first guide focused on email fundamentals while the second focused on strategy and its role in reducing email noise. At first, we questioned the back-to-basics approach to the first guide but we quickly realized a few things:
- There are not enough career internal communication professionals in the market. These are the individuals who started in internal communication early in their careers and grew to manage the discipline. This is a symptom of corporate communication teams seeing internal communication as a stepping stone; a junior, less important position that only managed tactics. The internal being seen as less important than communicating to external audiences.
- Career internal communication professionals are still performing at a tactical level versus using their skills and expertise to solve real business problems. Many have come from journalism backgrounds and love the art of creating and writing versus the science of strategy tied to results. The first step for these teams and individuals is to start measuring their activities to evaluate success and create accountability for impacts and results.
- Finally, because of the increasing need for internal communication and employee engagement, organizations are hiring individuals with little to no background in internal communication. In my work, it’s not unusual that HR, Marketing, External PR, or Administrative practitioners are hired to lead internal communication with all of the passion, and little formal training and understanding of the nuances of the discipline.
That’s why the first guide is intended to help create a foundation of understanding, encourage conversations and encourage best writing practice when it comes to email.
The second guide focuses on solving the business problem of email overload, one shared by the majority of organizations and individuals. This guide:
- Focuses on the strategic process. What are the elements in the email strategy with easy questions you can answer?
- Helps you build important foundations for success. These include stakeholder groups, content and editorial teams and governance plans.
- Finally, it helps you leverage your email strategy to drive traffic to your holistic internal communication strategy and channels.
How to Get Workplace Email Communication Right
At Inner Strength Communication, we believe strongly that you need to always begin with research that leads to a plan. This guide provides templates on the questions you should be asking before you embark on your email strategy.
Identifying the present state also help communication professionals understand and define the business problem in a quantitative way to set a baseline from which to set and measure goals and objectives.
With qualitative input of employee needs and wants, it also establishes conversations and relationships with employees and teams and encourages them to be a part of a business solution.
I see many communication professionals make the mistake of wanting to show improvement prior to measuring for fear of what the data will show them. Instead, there is an opportunity to face challenges head-on, identify the organization’s pain points and email reality in a quantitative way to establish the communication team as leaders of improvement. Without the baseline, how is it possible to demonstrate the impact of your strategy?
The guide also focuses on email planning and writing basics. This is a surprising area that I’ve been personally called on to provide training. We’re still seeing communication professionals, and everyone else who uses emails, creating content that is more likely to be ignored and deleted than read. That’s why we always focus on thinking and planning before writing.
How to Reduce Email Noise for a Winning Employee Communications Strategy
Once we understand the basics, it’s time to put our focus on reducing email noise, an area for which Poppulo continues to get inquiries. Imagine being the leader identified with solving this issue for your organization?
How many of you are not confident that your databases are correct and maintained? How many internal communication professionals work in a vacuum versus collaboratively with other teams fighting for ownership versus partnership? How many still fly by the seat of their pants reacting instead of being proactive about employee communication so that it’s possible to identify connects and disconnects? Communication professionals have been talking about a seat at the table for my entire career (25 years in the industry) but this is a wonderful opportunity to create your own table and invite others.
With talk of democratization of communication in organizations, internal communication professionals have a real opportunity to create and identify as an influencer of best-practice communication rather than simply a doer. Instead of writer, the communicator becomes guider, trainer and advisor in a way that turns on the power of people, experts and leaders.
Templates and Tools
Both guides are full of usable templates and tools. They are designed to help ask the right questions and create the right plans. Combined with Poppulo, this guide – How to reduce email noise for a winning employee communications strategy – will help you get your strategy right, a first step to evolving your internal communication practice and establishing your impact.