Every day, American workers send thousands of text messages and emails, while also talking on the phone and leaving voice messages on various devices. Since we must often handle these in a hurry, it’s critical to carefully discern when we should communicate directly in person, over the phone or by using written communications.
The following information can help you determine which types of messages are best handled in person, via carefully worded text messages and emails -- or voice messages. When we carelessly choose the wrong medium, we often create numerous problems for ourselves and others.
Key Reminders Regarding Daily Work Communications with Others
- All sensitive topics must be handled in person. Never use an email or text message to let an employee know that s/he is being put on probation or may soon be fired. You always owe employees their right to privacy regarding this information and should convey these types of warnings in person, preferably with a witness present in the personnel office. You should also document such warnings in writing, and place copies in the employees’ permanent work files. Emails can be intercepted and employees may need you to break this type of news to them in a calm manner;
- When you’re very upset or feeling quite critical about an employee’s serious error, always deliver this information in person. This situation is much like the one above. However, when it’s just a major error and not the latest in a string of damaging events, be ready to listen carefully to see if there were any extenuating circumstances as to why certain actions were taken. Regardless of the outcome, consider providing personnel with a brief, carefully worded explanation as to how the situation was explained and handled. Never leave an angry voice message or send a terse or possibly threatening email. These types of communications might come back to haunt you if you’re later sued for wrongful termination, harassment or some other charge;
- Emails and text messages should be as short as possible. Try to remove as much “emotion” as possible from your business emails, although a friendly reference to an upcoming event of mutual interest (or a similar topic) is usually alright. Also, when sending a written message, make sure it’s being sent to the correct person; you’ve used a good spellchecking system; you’ve provided your accurate contact information; you’ve attached any documents referenced in the email; and you’re certain that it’s not a message that should be delivered in person or over the phone;
- Formal letters, bills, and other materials sent via a hard copy mail service. Always use your best letterhead and require your administrative assistant to carefully double check the information provided in the letter before you send it out -- unless it covers strictly confidential information. Finally, be sure your accounting department and other employees always follow your office handbook’s instructions for sending out mail.
When in doubt regarding any communication, always consider delivering the information in person or over the phone. That way, you’ll have the chance to quickly correct any possible misunderstandings and you’ll be able to answer any questions raised.
To obtain help with handling all of your Georgia business planning needs, please contact Shane Smith Law today. You can schedule your free initial consultation with a knowledgeable Peachtree City estate planning attorney by calling: (770) 487-8999.