Attn: All Employees

When in doubt, don’t send it out!

You know them well. Those emails sent to all employees to inform the entire staff of companywide changes and/or directions. They may even possibly be carriers of great tidings for each and every employee, in hopes to boost moral. These types of emails carry the sending name, “All Employees”.

I am happy to open these because I believe I am going to be informed about some good communication from the great leadership at my place of business. However, most times they do not, which makes me question:

  • Who should have the power to send these?
  • What constitutes the good makings of an “All Employee” email?

If your place of business has no parameters around this, it will be dangerously used. There will be those who discover the power of the audience they can instantly acquire. This only fuels these staff members to keep sending useless emails to EVERYONE. Maybe these people mean well, but little do they realize what impression they are forcing you to make about them, or how much time they may be wasting their organization. And when you have a full inbox, it is just one more email to get through in the day. This only adds more eye strain leaving you with, “It’s time for the 20–20–20 rule again.”

There are a great deal of “All Employee” email types. Some of which are acceptable, but most of which are not and should instead be posted in the #random channel on Slack. Well, that is if your tenured colleagues even understand that you are not talking about “slacks”. The ones that come to mind in this scenario are the horrid pleated dress pant typically found in khaki.

I am sure you can relate to these types of emails, as a business professional. If you cannot, let me share some treasures I have come to enjoy:

The Lost and Founder…

You have seen them…and maybe even sent one. Everyone looses their keys, or maybe even a “black coat”. To those of you have done this, I would recommend talking to your receptionist and see if she can make an awkward overhead announcement. However, if you work in today’s modern business office environment, and do not have one of those, I would recommend talking with your HR team to see how to handle it best. They are HUMAN resources after all, and I am sure a change of pace from the hire/fire workflow would be much appreciated. Here’s one of my favorites:

First of all, I love that the first line is a question. Are they actually wanting people to look for their hearing aid or answer a riddle? Even Edward Nigma couldn’t figure this one out. The follow-up is equally good:

I suppose they should have only thanked Michelle, since she found it and not everyone. Yet, I guess we should all be grateful for their thankfulness since we were in such a scurry to find it, in the midst of important deadlines. Now we all can rest well this evening knowing they can hear again. I have to say, I was half tempted to write back with a,“What’s that you say?”👂.

The Passive Aggressive Scolder:

Sometimes people hold in the pains of their office life and one thing sets them over. Then they erupt in a passive aggressive email to shame the whole staff. See how this volcano erupted with vicious lava words:

I rarely if ever abuse the email system, but there have been multiple times lately when I’ve experienced a problem with the coffee. So, if you pour the decaf and it gets down to this level (or maybe even less than 1 cup remaining). Please brew another before you depart. This can potentially save a lot of time for the next person coming for coffee.

First of all, why would someone get so flustered over “decaf”…maybe it’s time to simmer down and switch over to “THE caff”. I also love that someone responded to this email with a loving reminder not to be a douche:

It wasn’t me :), but please come to my desk for free Starbucks Holiday Blend K-CUP for Christmas! Remember what Coffee stands for:

Oh bless your heart responder. You are just trying to a “blessenger” (a messenger of blessings). If you must respond to an email like this, remember, “You catch more flies with honey than you do with vinegar”. It also makes the sender realize to take a chill pill and think twice before sending an email like this again.

On the bright side, this type of email abuse can provide windows of opportunity for your fellow colleagues to let their senses of humors shine. I always welcome these silent treasures.

The Mothering Reminder-er

Thanks, mom! You know, I was wondering where I put my lunch, but I guess everyone else does too now (insert Deadpan). I suppose it is kind that someone took a moment to let us know “little Billy” misplaced his lunch today. However, I would have thrown it away to keep the office tidy and avoid any OSHA complaints. If the person who lost their lunch remembered it, went back for it, and then noticed it in the trash, they wouldn’t forget it the next time now would they. Sometimes learning from our mistakes can be the greatest lessons.

When is it Appropriate?

You are probably asking, “Who made you the Email Police?”. I did…your welcome. This is a territory that can run wild if it is not cared for properly. Like me, you may have experienced a variety of all employee emails, or if you’re lucky, maybe your office does have some guardrails to keep things in line. On the other hand, if you do not and are contemplating sending one, please don’t. Unless you are from HR or have an authority by executive leadership, I would ask myself these questions before authoring and sending:

  • Does this email work to enhance the organizations work efforts for all employees?
  • Does this email contain information that will unify all employees to do their job more successfully?
  • Does this email provide an opportunity for all employees to learn something new and grow skillfully in their job?

Here is a nice example of an informative all employee email:

A small error that has been owned and corrected in this email, keeps everyone on the same page while communicating the correct message companywide. Bravo, Taylor.

I know it is hard, but no matter how much you want to send an all employee email about the delicious beets you have grown in your beautifully fruitful garden, it would be better to see your cute handmade note, in the lunchroom, that you learned how to create on Pinterest,

“Delicious beets from my beautifully fruitful garden. First come, first serve ;)”.

Then when I walk into the lunchroom, to fill up my water bottle, I will be delighted to see your kind and generous heart for sharing homegrown delights. Trust me, we will figure it out and realize the hard work your little green thumb did to create these delicious beets…which are quite good I have to say.

I am sure there are other exceptions to the limits of crafting and sending an all employee email. I would love to see what different types of unnecessary ones you have received too, so please share them with me here.

Remember, when in doubt, don’t send it out.