Employees will always have a company email so that they can receive updates or send important information to anyone who’s involved with the company that they work for. However, business owners have to make sure that their employees know that there are certain things that employees can and cannot do when it comes to company emails.
So, they have to set up rules and regulations in regarding how employees are allowed to use their company emails. This article is going to focus on how you are going to come up with a company policy specifically aimed at the usage of company emails.
Steps for creating your employee email policy
If you want to make sure that your employees completely understand how they should use their company emails, then you have to be very specific and detailed. So, here are the steps that should help you create your company’s email policy:
1. Point out its permitted uses
Although you want to make sure that this type of general email is used only for business-related purposes, you can’t help it if employees receive a couple of personal emails from time to time. So, here are the things employee are allowed to do with company emails:
- Allow employees some personal use of the company email, especially if you have employees who use their email for business purposes outside of normal working hours
- Encouraging employees to separate their formal email folders into one that’s strictly for business and another that’s only for personal matters
2. Point out the limits of their personal use
While your company will allow your employees to use emails for personal use, you don’t want them to take advantage of this type of freedom. You may also see policy templates
- Make it clear that you will not tolerate employees who excessive use company emails for personal matters
- Anything sent with the company emails must not contain any foul language or images
- Professional employees must not use company emails to engage in any illegal activities
- Employees must not allow anyone (even if it’s another employee) to access their own company emails
3. Set out the devices they may use to access their company emails
If you think that employees must only use company-owned items such as company phones or computers to access their company emails, then you may state so in the sample policy. However, if you would allow them to access it from their personal devices, then you have to take some extra precautions to ensure that they will not be sharing company information with outsiders (whether it’s intentional or not).
- You can have employees create passcodes on their mobile devices to prevent others from accessing important information
- Set up a ‘remote wipe’ function, so email data can be deleted remotely in the event the device is either hacked or stolen
- Use an email service that syncs emails across all devices; this ensures that both you and the employees will be able to access all of the professional emails in the event that they lose or break their devices
4. Permissible content
You should state how you want your employees to create every email when it comes to business-related matters. You want them to make it feel as if they’re creating a business letter wherein there’s a proper format that they have to follow. An overly formal style may seem tedious to people used to quick, friendly emails, so you can point out that not all mails have to be formal. There are also some rules that you would want your employees to follow when creating their content, so here are some examples:
Be sure that your employee do not use all capital letters when sending out emails. This can be considered as rude and you don’t want your company to gain a bad reputation.
- If the employee is sending an email to someone for the first time, especially if it’s a client or someone who wishes to be associated with the awesome business, then point out that he or she needs to use a formal style of writing
- If the general employee has to send important company information, then point out that it has be as detailed as possible and must not be shortened whatsoever.
5. Specify the prohibited content
You’ve already talked about what you want your employees to place in the simple emails they’re going to send. The next thing that you have to do is to point out what you prohibit them from sending. You do not want your employees to send any content that could potentially ruin the image of your company or, even worse, compel someone to file a lawsuit against you. So, here are examples of what you should prevent your employee from sharing when using company email:
- Any discriminatory content. This is everything from one’s sex, religion, race, nationality, age, etc. Point out that you have a nondiscrimination policy and that any employee who’s caught sending email with this kind of content will be subjected to the right disciplinary action.
- Any content that is protected by copyright. If an employee were to share this, then it could lead to some serious charges form the original owner of the content, so make it clear that the employee may not use any copyrighted material unless given permission to do so. You may also like Policy Word Templates
- Links to any inappropriate material. An employee must never share anything that will be flagged as inappropriate content. While it’s up to you to determine what’s considered as “inappropriate”, this would usually mean porn sites or any site which contains images that may make viewers feel uncomfortable. You may also see Policy Templates in Word and PDF
6. Consequences for misuse of email
It should be pretty obvious that whenever rules are violated, you can’t just let things go unpunished. So, here are some disciplinary actions you can take against an employee for violating your email policy:
- Verbal warning. This is for the less severe violations. For example, if an employee were to accidentally share a link to a couple of personal images without permission, then the employee can just be given a verbal warning where he or she is told that it shouldn’t happen again.
- Written warning. A warning letter must be handed out to an employee whenever he or she fails to heed the previous verbal warnings or has committed an act wherein employers feel the need to provide the letter. For example, if the employee were to send pornographic images to another employee, then those in Human Resources may create and send a warning letter to the offender regarding the violation.
- Employee termination. This is when an employee has used company email in a way that has placed the company in danger. For example, if the employee were to share vital company information with someone who is not involved with the company, then you will have every right to terminate the employee (especially if you have made him or her sign a nondisclosure agreement). Just make sure that you follow your company’s policy and procedures with regard to firing an employee once it’s all said and done.
7. Implementation of the policy
Once you have everything set up for your simple email policy, the next step is for you to implement the policy. So, what you’re going to do is to make sure that you have a meeting wherein you discuss the email policy. It’s even better when you do it during employee training as you can discuss all the other important policies of your company at the same time. Once you’re done discussing the policy with your employees, the next step is to have them sign an acknowledgement letter to ensure that they have understood and agreed to the policy.
If you want to make sure that your employees are able to have access to the rules of your company at all times, then it’s best that you have these general policies in a medium that they can carry around at all times. That would be something like an employee handbook. Just make sure that your employees provide their signatures to ensure that they have no excuse if they fail to follow these rules and procedures.
Remember that company sample emails might have information that you wouldn’t want anyone to know about, especially if the information has something to do with important company secrets. So, be sure to follow the steps above to help you create rules that will protect you and your company from anyone that may just try to jeopardize your business.