January 19, 2023 | In the News

6 Reasons Your Employees Aren’t Reading Your Emails

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As communication technology continues to evolve and a younger generation emerges in the current workforce, many leaders are experiencing delayed or nonexistent response times to business-related emails.

According to a Wakefield Research survey conducted in April 2021, email fatigue leads to around 38% of employees quitting their jobs. This is especially true for remote work environments where employees often manage a growing level of emails, messages, and virtual meetings – often resulting in increased levels of employee burnout and job dissatisfaction.

To help create a work culture with more effective internal communications, here is a list of reasons your employees might not be reading or responding to your emails.

1. Information Overload

Past studies by The McKinsey Global Institute and the Information Overload Research Institute agree that the average worker not only spends too much time managing their emails, but email interruptions can make it difficult for workers to return to previous tasks.

It has also been reported that when an employee is interrupted by an email notification, it takes them an average of 25 minutes to return to their original task. With this, another consequence is often a delay in important decision-making or online silence altogether.

To prevent this, you want to ensure that each communication sent out is clear, relevant, and concise. It is also essential that employees are encouraged to have unnecessary communication tools and platforms limited during office hours to prevent further distractions.

2. Inefficient Workflow

Increased digital noise in today’s fast-paced business environment is challenging workflow efficiency. Employees are required to keep up with daily workflow responsibilities that include the ongoing management and maintenance of digital distractions and notifications.

As a result, not only are emails and other internal communications being missed or set aside and forgotten, but companies are also seeing overall workflow efficiency suffering. To improve communication workflow, consider looking beyond email to transform your communications with employees.

According to SayHey Messenger, secure and compliant instant messaging applications are one way to streamline daily communications, particularly if you have a younger generational workforce. SayHey leverages the phenomena known as “little red dot aversion.” They link increased response rates to the fact that employees are more inclined to deal with something in a timely manner when they see a red notification icon on their instant messaging mobile app.

RingCentral also notes that companies that take advantage of project management software and two-sided communication methods like video meetings, screen sharing, and messaging are more likely to stay productive throughout their workday.

3. Poor Quality of Communication

Along with ensuring that the email communications you send are relevant to recipients, it is also essential that the quality of communication is clear and understandable.

If you find that employees are responding with more questions, are not seamlessly implementing new processes or procedures, or email open rates are lingering – it may be that the quality of your communication methods could be improved.

This not only includes what is written in the email subject line to catch the employee’s attention or the details noted in the body of the correspondence. It could also be the quality of communication tools that your company has in place, whether they are out-of-date or simply not the right option for the business.

4. Poor Timing of Communication

When it comes to effective communications, timing can often be as important as the content itself. Just as a marketer needs to know what days and times their audience is likely to see an email newsletter or social media post, leaders should have a solid idea of the best time to send email communications to their employees.

A great way to do this is to have clear expectations of when employees should be checking their emails and other internal communications. Rather than assuming workers can check their email any time of the day, ensure that they read their company emails at the start of the day. Then, it is suggested that emails be checked in 45-minute intervals to coincide with natural attention breaks.

5. Unclear Policy Expectations

The fact is that only 60% of employees know what their managers expect of them, leaving the other 40% of employees left in the dark often as a result of poor communications.

This is especially the case when managers provide policy and other important updates via email messaging. Not everyone will open the email or read the contents in full, let alone immediately focus on implementing the changes within their daily workflow.

To prevent this, it may be more effective to hold a brief in-person or remote meeting that goes over the new updates or changes, along with management expectations. Then provide a supplemental email that employees may save and reference later.

6. Uninviting Work Culture

If your company has a purely remote work environment, it can be difficult to keep employees engaged and to build a strong work culture. Having an inviting company culture isn’t simply about keeping employees engaged, implementing DEI initiatives, or providing fun incentives for their hard work. Having effective, straight-forward communication methods in place is essential to keeping employees and leaders connected.

When a company has poor communication methods in place, it causes greater unpredictability and instability within the workplace environment. As a result, employees begin to feel uneasy throughout their workday and gradually become more disengaged and unproductive.

How to Improve Email Open Rates Among Employees

Now that you have narrowed down why your employees are not responding (or opening) emails, what can you do to make sure your messages are not only being seen, but also read by each recipient?

First and foremost, make sure every communication sent out is essential to the recipient and has an attention-grabbing headline. Over communication only adds to the digital noise and distractions that employees receive, so only send information out to relevant parties and only the information that is needed.

Also, be sure that your company has the most effective multi-channel communication method in place – this ensures that important and urgent communications are not missed, while general discussions can be quickly reviewed without much distraction. Also consider the use of a mobile application that allows for push notifications, peer engagement, and interactive content.

Source: Forbes

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