LoudspeakersBack in olden times, when the head of an HR department had something important to share, she’d enlist her two loudest, tallest employees to wander the office during “whiskey hour” with a rolled-up newspaper yelling stuff at the top of their lungs.* Nowadays, of course, if you’re like most HR folks, you conduct a big percentage of your communication with employees via email. And few times of the year find you sending more emails to employees than in the months before and during open enrollment.

That being so, we’d like to offer up four things to keep in mind as you write to your employees over the coming months.

  1. Be strategic about subject lines. Keep your subject line as short and descriptive as possible – the best ones have fewer than 35 characters (including spaces).
  2. Always include a Call to Action. What’s a call to action (CTA), exactly? Very simple. It’s the part of the email in which you ask the reader to do something specific. Some common examples of CTAs include: Click here for more info; Download this form, and Go to this link. But keep in mind that even when your message is little more than an FYI, it’s useful to suggest an action your audience can take. Say, ‘Watch for our next email about X,’ or ‘Contact me if you have any questions.’ Doing so makes people feel less like passive recipients and more like participants in the communication.
  3. Keep things personal (and relevant). If it’s possible for you to customize your greeting to individual employees, do so. Also, think about whom your email will be ‘from.’ Will it be yourself or something like ‘The Company Benefits Team’? Whatever you choose, go with a name your employees recognize and trust.
  4. Bulletpoints are your pals. Whenever you have a critical mass of things that can be summarized in a sentence (for our purposes, let’s say 3 to 7 things), consider listing off said things in a series of easily-scanable bullets. And what are some tips for bullets? Allow me to both provide you with some, while also illustrating my, ahem, (bullet)point:
    • Begin every bullet with the same part of speech and grammatical form. Good: Reduce costs; increase revenue; boost sales. Not good: Reduce costs; Bigger earnings; boost sales.
    • Avoid using sub-bullets and sub-sub-bullets; adding another layer or two of complexity defeats the purpose of bullets in the first place.
    • If you can, keep your bullet points symmetrical (one line each or two lines each); it looks better and is easier to digest
    • Put the most important items in a bulleted list first and last in your list; people tend to remember information in those spots best

Anyway…good luck in the coming months. Hope this helps!

*Not really a thing.

photo credit: dobrych via photopin cc