Caution will control power of the e-mailOn 27 Mar 2001 in Personnel Today Previous Article Next Article DavidTaylor offers guidance on putting in place a company e-mail policy that is fairto everybodyForgetthe dotcom hype, mobile technology and the Internet – the biggest growth areaof the new business age by far is e-mail, and this brings a huge opportunityfor HR leaders.E-mailsfeed our reactive, rather than responsive behaviour, often failing to make thepoints intended, and are too often used as an alternative to other means ofcontact. As one of the most public, powerful and prevalent forms ofcommunication, there is a need for caution, care and clarity and, once this isdone, it can be hugely positive.Youcan set a company trend in HR by doing the following:– Make e-mails friendly (write Dear name, and always end on a friendly note)– Use the term “we” rather than “you” and always put yourself in the place ofthe recipient – reading through what you have written before you send it– Ensure that the quality of e-mails we send is as good as those we receive.Itmay be time to put in place company guidance, covering the key issues:Information on other companiesTo avoid litigation do not use e-mail to discuss competitors, potentialacquisitions or mergers, or to give your opinion about another company. Theword confidential simply does not apply to electronic communication – somebodyelse in your organisation can always access it.Personale-mailsMany companies are concerned about the growing numbers of non-work relatedcorrespondence. The key words here are guidelines and trust. Put in place aclear policy that gives some freedom, but ensure staff know the boundaries ontime and content. Manage your staff by giving them ownership and responsibility.Aggressivee-mailsIt is one thing to misunderstand the sender’s intent, quite another todeliberately attack someone by e-mail. Business bullying is now recognised byindustrial tribunals as a form of illegal behaviour in itself.SexualharassmentThe cases of this, and stalking over e-mail, are growing. Company policymust be extended to include this area and should lead to dismissal. Encouragepeople to come forward with evidence and make it clear that all e-mails areheld on the mainframe or network after they have been written. This willdiscourage most people.Chaine-mailsThese are both unpleasant and destructive in terms of time, volume oftraffic on a network and personal well-being. Treat these seriously, root outtheir origins and invite recipients to send them to you.Electroniccommunications are no different from every other form and there should be noneed for complex guidelines, rules and restrictions. As long as everyone isclear on your company’s policy, none of these potential dangers will grow outof hand. DavidTaylor is president of the association of IT directors, Certus e-mail: [email protected] Comments are closed. Related posts:No related photos.