In a recent survey conducted by University of Northern Colorado’s (UNC) Social Research Lab and Booher Research, knowledge workers report they’re inundated with email:
—42 percent spend 3 hours or more a day reading and responding to email
—34 percent of their email is either redundant or irrelevant
Yet data from a survey of 1,200 US workers conducted by EmployeeChannel, Inc. revealed that workers at all levels say they want more frequent communication from their employer!
So what conclusions can you draw from this?
So what can you do to make sure your own communication “gets through”?
If you intend to push a message out to a wide audience, use a multichannel approach. In the UNC survey, respondents were analyzed by age groups from Millennials to Traditionalists. Their use of text messaging, emails, phone, face-to-face meetings, and video conferencing varied by age group—but not dramatically.
The reasons: For the most part, when they communicate outgoing messages, the majority use email because that’s the channel that key decision maker/readers use. However, they don’t necessarily “live” on that channel for their incoming messages. To reach those employees, you’ll need to communicate with them where they “live.”
Respond to other people in the same channel in which they contacted you.
Granted, some people can be infuriatingly slow to respond to email. So when you must interact with these colleagues, you’re tempted to leave multiple messages: text, email, phone, social media. Most often, the reaction is annoyance.
Continuing to switch channels (that is, they phone you and you email your response) to YOUR preference is like saying “You live at the wrong address” or “You drive the wrong model car.”
What’s the standard response time expected in your organization? One hour? Four hours? Twenty-four hours? Are there exceptions? If so, what? If you don’t know, find out from your team leader. If you’re the leader, communicate the standard to your team.
Eighty percent of the participants in the UNC survey typically expect readers to respond to “important” emails within four hours or less. Fifty-nine percent expect a response within an hour or less.
Protect your personal brand by living up to the standard in your culture. Slow responses suggest many things—most of them negative:
Can you routinely afford to be considered the bottleneck to decisions and processes?
As with meetings, the larger the group, the lower the individual participation. When emailing for input, the same principle applies.
When you email blast a large group, people feel anonymous. Fewer feel it’s necessary to respond. If you need input, limit the list. You’ll increase response—not to mention clearing inboxes for the uninterested.
Seriously. Hit SEND far less often, and your emails will grab more attention when they arrive.
Learn more effective email strategies in Faster, Fewer, Better Emails: Manage the Volume, Reduce the Stress, Love the Results. Click here for details.