Have We Gotten Too
Comfortable With Email?
Have We Gotten Too Comfortable With Email?
June, 2004 Independents Newsletter
The use of email has
definitely given business and business owners some advantages.
We can respond to email while returning phone calls; answer
questions and get information without playing telephone tag; or
get information quickly to a colleague across the state without
waiting for snail mail; but, have we begun to rely on this mode
of communication too much. Yes, in a busy day shooting off an
email can save some time. However, from a Human Resources
perspective, this type of communication can be particularly
- Don’t document employee performance problems in an email.
Use the appropriate format in your company and have the
- Don’t use email to request approval for a termination, or to
request advice from your manager or Human Resources on delicate
One Company’s Example:
An employee has recently
communicated to you that they have been diagnosed with a serious
illness and subsequently goes out for treatment. As the manager,
you send emails to your supervisor regarding the situation. In
these emails you express your doubt about the treatment,
question whether or not the illness is real, ask if you are
going to have to let the employee always go to the doctor, etc.
These emails ping-pong around from supervisor, to manager, to
director and back. Subsequently, the employee in question is
laid off due to job elimination. The job elimination may be very
valid; however, these emails have created a great deal of
“smoke” surrounding the employee’s disability.
- Do be
aware that your email deleted or not, can be considered
documentation in an investigation or law suit. Consider writing
an email the same as writing a letter and placing it in the
employee’s file. In other words, you wouldn’t mind anyone,
including the employee or a government agency, reading what you
have to say.
- Be very careful when including salary
information, social security numbers or other private
information, in an email or attachment. You don’t always know
where the email will end up.
communication has helped make businesses more efficient.
Awareness of when and when not to use this communication tool
will avoid future surprises.
Information in this article
is not intended to provide legal or human resources compliance
advice and should be used for general information only.
KM Consulting Group provides Human Resources solutions to small
and medium size companies.
KM Consulting Group
Office: (817) 596-0353