What do I do about an employee’s snippy emails? She sends me a cc of her email to all clients. She is doing an excellent job otherwise, but the tone of her emails is off-putting and rude. Her probation time is coming up and it’s time to hire her permanently or let her go. What’s your advice?
You cannot have an employee’s snippy emails affecting business relationships with clients.
Talk to her. Sit her down and discuss the problem with the tone of her emails.
Say, “I can’t hire you permanently, if you don’t change the tone of your emails to our clients. Too often your emails sound snippy and rude. Nobody needs to know that you are in a bad mood, because bad moods are contagious. Like a bad cold.”
End with, “Aside from your tone, your job performance is excellent. How are we going to solve this problem?”
Then make a couple of suggestions. Ask her to take more time with her emails. Tell her to hold back on firing off a response before she’s gone over the email at least twice.
Suggest that she edits her emails not only for spelling, content and grammar, but a second time for tone; asking herself how she would feel receiving an email in that tone of voice?
Give her an example of her snippiness. Print it out and show it to her. Ask her what she thinks about the tone. How does it make her feel?
How can she say the same thing in a friendlier tone with an equally strong voice?
Lastly, tell her that you cannot hire her permanently until she can demonstrate that she can control her emotions when communicating with clients.
Offer her a trial period in which you give her feedback on how she is doing. But don’t make it longer than a week. It may be too difficult emotionally to break the snippiness.
If she continues to emote her personal feelings in company emails, she is not a good fit for your company’s business relationships.
It is truly possible that by pointing out the problem to her, she can learn to monitor when she is wearing her heart on her sleeve and appropriately self-correct.
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