Your Employees Don’t Read Your Emails - Here’s Why

We live and work in an interconnected world. News from across the globe and across the street hits our screens in seconds with a big impact on our day and perspective. In such a globalized community, it’s more important than ever for comms professionals to be prepared to respond to a crisis — and more challenging.

March 14, 2023


It’s a ubiquitous problem in modern business (and modern life) - you send an email, but the person on the other end doesn’t read it.

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Whether you’re a member of a communications team or a senior executive, you have important information that you need to share across your organization. And you don’t just need people to read your emails - you need them to internalize the information within. Let’s be honest, though. Employee inboxes are swamped, and they often miss important messages from comms and leadership. An Adobe Workfront survey found that the average worker has 199 unopened emails at any given time.

If you want your employees to open and absorb your emails, the first thing to do is understand why they aren’t doing so already. Then you can optimize your communications. At DoZen, we help enterprise organizations deliver the most effective communications possible at scale. In doing so, we see three problems occurring over and over again. Here’s what they are—and what you can do about them.

The 3 Reasons Employees Don’t Read Your Emails

1- Your emails are buried.

Every one of your employees receives a deluge of emails, professional and personal, every day. Just because they receive the email doesn’t mean they even know it’s there. It doesn’t feel good to admit it, but your email might not be the most important thing on your employees’ docket. Internal communications professionals are competing against the daily demands facing employees.

Communications teams need a way to prioritize their content in the eyes of employees. Otherwise, their emails may end up buried among the other 198 unopened messages.

2- Your emails are overlooked (or worse, ignored).

Enterprise-scale organizations usually have a number of different hubs, channels, and applications that they use to reach their employees. As a result, your employees might not even understand that they need to check their email for certain types of updates. Or worse yet, they might see an email and not even bother to open it.

Typically, employees communicate most frequently on a messaging channel like Slack. It’s important to remember that you can use these channels for smaller updates rather than adding another email to your employees’ inbox.For example, a reminder of a day off may be better received as a Slack message.

3- Your emails are boring.

Here is the most unpleasant truth of all - your emails may bore your employees. As a result, even if your employees open your emails, they may not read them in their entirety or absorb the information therein.

That’s not necessarily your fault. Not every communications update is exciting. But the format of your emails can make or break them. No one likes a long, disorganized email. A concise, engaging format can elevate the email medium to its maximum potential.

What Can You Do?

Fortunately, there are ways to address all these common challenges.

Unbury your emails by surfacing them above other messages in your employees’ inbox. Leading digital experience platforms can help you break through email clutter with tags and priority messaging capabilities. You can also break your email out of the inbox altogether by sending it directly to your employees mobile devices with push notifications.

A clear communications protocol can’t be ignored. Build a strategy around your platform capabilities and communication channels that teaches your employees where to find the most important information and what to look for. There are a number of ways to guide employee experience in the modern digital workplace. Utilizing your organization’s various communications channels to create a hierarchy of messaging importance clarifies for leaders and employees what type of messaging they should expect where. (More to come on how to create a hierarchy of communications channels in an upcoming blog post!) Whichever tools you use, be clear and consistent. Use an intuitive, central employee hub where emails and other communications can live on. That way employees know where to get a single source of truth. With a consistent communications strategy and cadence, your employees will be primed to receive, read, and absorb important information.

Prevent boredom with better content. Long emails don’t work. Consider ways to make your content more compelling. Make your emails short, keep the format consistent, and always lead with your key takeaways. To go the extra mile, consider including short video messages. You can also connect priority emails to senior leadership. Your CEO or CCO doesn’t need to write an email for it to come from their inbox.

Some of these tips are simple, but others require a modern digital employee experience platform to reach their full potential. DoZen can equip your enterprise organization with the tools to communicate and connect with your employees at scale by drawing them to a centralized intranet platform. Your employees may not read your emails now, but with a few smart changes, they will.