THE BLOG

How Safe Is Your Business' Reputation With Your New Joiners?

13/09/2013 13:06 BST | Updated 11/11/2013 10:12 GMT

Does email etiquette matter these days? Over the next few months lots of bright young things will be joining your workforce many of whom will be working in the 'real world' for the very first time. This digital generation (the Millennials) will be very technically adept but few will have much experience of how to leverage the technology to improve business and productivity.

In terms of email etiquette and social media, as you would expect, they largely express themselves in informal language, emoticons, text speak, pictures and video - all easily understood by their peers. In terms of business few Millennials will have used conventional email or crafted a proper business letter. That's not to say they are illiterate as many are highly gifted individuals. The problem is they have never before been the public face of a business.

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In this age of 24x7x365 communications, speed is vital, but so too is the quality. When you read an email does the greeting, length, spelling, use of caps or sign-off ever annoy you? Yes? Then you'll understand that poor email etiquette may be costing you business.

So how safe are you?

Not very is almost certainly the answer. To avoid litigation disasters, many companies today do give their new joiners an email best practice code as part of their induction programme. However, as with so many things it comes down to Education, Education, Education. It's not enough to just give them a document with the organisations email best practice, you must train them to apply the principles and level of email etiquette appropriate for your business.

These new joiners in their new jobs are now your companies' front line ambassadors. You need to clearly define when and how they can use the internet, email and social media at work. You must determine and educate them as what it is or isn't appropriate for them to publish on these networks, how quickly you expect them to respond to tweets, email or Facebook messages and teach them to do it in a style which reflects your company image.

Creating the right image

Show new joiners that there's no point crafting a winning email and then ruining it with an inept greeting or sign-off. No matter how short the email, it pays to pause and ask yourself, what image of myself and my business am I conveying?

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Use my free email etiquette on-line tool to benchmark the quality of your new joiner's email and assess the level of risk to your business.

What is your organisation is doing to train your new joiners in email and social media best practice? What tips can share to help others?