Talking to Employees: Face-to-Face vs. Email

Your job isn’t always a pleasant one; sometimes you need to be the bad guy. While you get to be a pillar of support and help, you also have to be the heavy hand from time-to-time. There are many varying situations that will cause you to communicate with employees from day-to-day, but how you go about it is a very important part of building relationships in the office.

The two modes of office communication you will use most are face-to-face confrontations and email. While both are great ways to communicate, they also come with pitfalls if used in the wrong situations. Below are several tips that will help you choose between email and face-to-face confrontations when it comes to office communications:

Email

Email is great because you can communicate with many people at once and save yourself hours and hours of time. They are also great for sending out minor reminders and memos to individual employees, and communicating with people outside of the office. Technology has made things much easier for the professional world to function, but it’s important to not overdo it.

Too much of a good thing is a bad thing so it’s important to not overuse email for office communications. If you need to reprimand anyone or remind someone of something they haven’t finished yet that they still need to, do not use email if you can avoid it. Meet them in person and tell them face-to-face. Email is impersonal and employees don’t like to be told what to do and not to do from a screen. Also do not reprimand anyone in a public email if you have to do it that way. That’s humiliating, not conducive to a positive work environment, and may lead to an unsatisfied employee.

Face-to-Face

But where email fails in office communication, talking to someone face-to-face picks up the slack. When messages are of a more personal nature, go out of your way to talk to someone in-person. This can show the employee that you aren’t just some overseer who sees a name and information and sends out messages accordingly, but that you know them and care enough to go talk to them. It makes you a real person and will strengthen the overall bond between you and your coworkers.

Of course, these talks are much slower than email so if you have to send out a message to many people at once do so through email. There’s no point in sacrificing efficiency to tell the same thing to a hundred people.

What do you find to be the most effective ways to communicate with employees in specific situations? Share in the comments!

IMAGE: Courtesy of Flickr by Micky Aldridge