Wondering how to motivate employees? I bet you haven’t heard this one before…but you should email them more! Many company managers mistakenly believe that keeping emails short and direct is the best way to streamline communications and optimize productivity. In reality, just the opposite may be true. A “just the facts” approach to internal emails often means missing huge team building opportunities.
The simple truth is, employees who love what they do and who they work for are more productive, and stick around longer (no one warns you about the dangers of employee and customer turnover more than us!). So managers can actually boost productivity by creating more positive work environments.
Any easy way to do this is through internal email. When managers take a little more time and energy to infuse personal voice, genuine gratitude, and enthusiasm into internal communications, they give their employees that “warm, fuzzy, I love working here” feeling that actually boosts employee motivation and productivity.
We’ll show you how to motivate employees with your email communication using five common internal email scenarios:
1) All Hands Updates
Whether it’s changes in company procedures, plans for office maintenance, or software updates—run of the mill company emails don’t have to be boring. Infuse a little bit of your brand and personal style, and even tell the story behind the “why” of the coming change. Employees love to be in the know about what’s going on behind the scenes. Take the time to be thoughtful and informative when you send all hands updates. Include a question in the end to get their feedback (“What do you think of this change? What other changes would you like?) to make your employees feel valued, and open the door to additional communication with them.
Even your most email-inundated employees will perk up and pay attention to an “all hands” update!
2) Birthday and Holiday Shout-outs
Does your upper management currently acknowledge employee birthdays? A lot of C-suites are notorious for throwing break room fiestas for their upper management colleagues, but totally ignoring the occasion when Dwayne-in-accounting’s 48th rolls around.
Depending on the size of your organization, not every birthday necessarily needs a full-on balloons and streamers celebration (maybe consider a once a month, group party (or group email) approach). But birthdays are a great time to personally acknowledge an employee over email. Include your personal memories with the given employee and details about how that team member has contributed to company goals. Receiving public praise is paramount to firing up employee motivation.
3) Announce Office Closures & Days Off
No matter how great your office culture is, everybody loves a day off. Announcing planned days for employees to spend extra time with their loved ones is a great opportunity to add a conversational and personal touch to internal emails. Share a personal memory of your favorite Christmas growing up, or tell the team about your most exciting Thanksgiving plans.
Instead of sounding like a robot, spitting out information about the days that the office doors will be open and closed, you have a chance to engage as a fellow team member—equally enthusiastic about the work you do every day, but also equally excited for a break to enjoy some personal time. Not to mention the fact that your employees will likely feel more positive towards the person giving them the day off- aka you!
4) Celebrate Team Successes
When the team has a win, public acknowledgement is incredibly important. Celebrating victory is one of the most important steps to spurring team momentum forward. As you acknowledge the team, be detailed (as appropriate) about specific contributions and the challenges faced toward achieving the goal – this is a great opportunity to use humor, like noting how crucial Jim’s funny ties were to keeping up morale.
A word of caution, however, as you single out individual team members for their contributions—check your facts, and make sure you don’t leave anyone out. There’s nothing worse for a team member who’s been pouring in nights and weekends to get a job done than going unnoticed when the champagne popping finally begins.
5) Acknowledge Company Challenges
Bad quarterly revenue numbers, goals that aren’t quite met, loss of an investor or an integral team member—unfortunately, the news that upper managers need to share with their employees isn’t always good.
If you need to acknowledge failures or share bad news with your team—be open, genuine, and frank. Don’t sugarcoat, and to the extent that you can avoid it, don’t withhold information. Knowing the reality of the situation, however severe, and feeling your heart for moving forward will give your team what they need to band together and pull through.
Ultimately, both what you say and how you say it within company emails reflects back on the core values and culture of your organization. If you want to live in a friendly, comfortable office culture, lead by example through your tone in internal emails. Don’t be afraid to seem approachable, friendly, and conversational- it will pay off!
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