One Big Employee Engagement No No

emailnightToday I want to talk to you managers and leaders out there.  If you’re anything like me, you spend much of your day in meetings and interacting with employees.  This often leaves the evening for catching up on email and other busy work.  Who doesn’t love that uninterrupted email time?

Last Friday evening, I was doing just that when I came across an issue where I thought one of my employees could have handled something differently.  Without thinking, I emailed her to ask her about the situation.  Upon checking my email early the next morning, I found a fairly distressed response from her in regards to the situation.

I quickly wrote her back and apologized for my handling of the situation, told her it was not a big deal and that it could wait until Monday.  As it turned out, I misunderstood and she had handled the situation perfectly.

It was at this moment that I was reminded of something I learned from reading the book Employee Engagement 2.0.  Kevin Kruse talked about how distressing it can be for employees to receive emails from their boss after hours and the fact that this can cause the employee to feel that they are expected to be working during these hours.  As you can imagine, this can have a negative effect on employee engagement.

For anyone in a position of power, this is an important boundary to set up.  While you shouldn’t expect non-exempt employees to check their work emails after hours, many of them do.  Any email that is potentially negative, should either be sent during business hours or addressed in person instead of email.

If you’re like me and you just need to get your email done, look into a way to schedule your emails to go out during business hours.  For employees you tend to interact with frequently, consider setting up a recurring meeting where you can address a laundry list of items and avoid the email altogether.  In doing so, you will have a much happier and healthier team.

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Jeremy Watkin is the Director of Customer Experience at FCR, the premiere provider of outsourced call center and business process solutions. He has more than 17 years of experience as a customer service and experience professional. He is co-founder of the Customer Service Life blog and a regular contributor. Jeremy has been recognized many times for his thought leadership. Follow him on Twitter and LinkedIn for more awesome customer service and experience insights.

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