Right from the start when I started managing staff communication for my division, I made it a point to have all my emails archived. I’ve done this in two of the companies that I work with where I also manage their information portal.
Why should you have an email archival system in your intranet
1. A point of reference
It enables staff to be able to utilize your intranet as a reference point. Archived emails are very useful- often these information is invaluable when they need to search out a communication that you have sent.
2. For the benefit of new joiners
New staff who join the company may not know what is past legacy. For example something that had happened a year ago but still impact services or certain processes today. Or a counter staff who need to handle walk in customers- customers often walk-in or call-in to check on something that has long expired. Let’s say a customer participated in an offer two years ago and is still waiting for his power bank gift which he claimed he is entitled to. Communication and old offers must be always archived to help the staff to address queries from customers.
3. So that they cannot make an excuse to say that they did not receive/ overlook your email due to email burst
The ‘dog ate my homework’ excuse may be commonly used during school when a student could not turn in their homework. But often, staff who did some mistakes because they missed out on an email or not aware of a new process or launch may blame the fact that they did not get the email because their email burst after they went on leave. Or there were some problems with their PC which resulted them losing all their emails, etc, etc.
If there is a specific section in the intranet where the emails are being archived, there is no excuse for missing the emails. If something went wrong with their PC, they could always read the emails from the intranet.
In fact, both the companies that I have worked with in managing their intranets had considered doing away with employee emails for certain staff and to have them to refer to the intranet for updates.
4. As a personal backup and succession plan
The email archival also give me assurance that there are backups of all my emails that would stay safe should one day my outlook decided to go bonkers.
Some of my colleagues whose emails went bonkers appreciated that they were able to refer to the past archived emails.
If you are the boss of a staff who is handling communication, you should arrange for the emails sent by the person to be archived – in case your staff decided to leave one day or disappears. Or due to some circumstances maybe he or she could no longer work for you.
I have known of this guy who worked for our company for more than 10 years. He was the most reliable guy around and was a walking encyclopedia. Everyone looked for him for various answers (as the documented process and company handbook did not cater for unexpected scenarios that often could be answered by someone with experience).
I always felt he was overworked and under appreciated. But just because he did not complaint, his boss never tried hard enough to get someone to really help him to relieve him of his burden.
Then two years ago, the next day after bonus was out, he tendered 24 hours. He was bought over by a competitor who paid for whatever penalties that come from failing to serve notice.
In my case, when I took over the tasks, often there were no proper documented process of why certain things were being done in certain ways. When asked, they would say ‘it was based on an email instruction from a big boss (who had resigned) but in which no one seemed to have kept the mail.
That was why I made it a point to have my emails, as well as important announcements from the management team being archived for the benefit of my staff.
I left the company last year to be a full time caregiver. Having archived all communication to staff- starting from the first email to the last email that I sent in my tenor with the company (the last company was for 6.5 years) allowed me to leave with a relieved heart that everything were documented and accounted for.
In the next post, I would be sharing with you a simple system that I have adopted for my email archival system as well as updating information that had to be made available very quickly (that did not allow me time to update an intranet).