Last updated on April 20, 2022
For companies, email is a very important tool because it makes employees more efficient, productive, and it helps them remain informed. As such, setting up email policy guidelines is a must because it guarantees that employees will use this tool adequately.
What Are Email Policy Guidelines and Why They Are Important
Email policy guidelines essentially provide rules to encourage employees to engage in productive and positive communications and keep the company network protected from security breaches, confidentiality breaches, legal liability, and reputation damage.
To be effective, they need to set clear rules and expectations based on the needs of the company and its industry. That means that you must determine what’s most relevant to the organization and use that to determine what’s appropriate.
This company policy is important because it protects the company’s email system, so they discourage personal use of company email, insulting or discriminatory messages, accessing personal email, sharing confidential information, and other actions that are strictly prohibited.
Overall, these guidelines identify appropriate use and dictate how to conduct business, how to craft business-related email messages, and more, while protecting from threats like phishing emails.
What Should be Included in Email Policy Guidelines?
Email policy guidelines should be tailored to your company’s specific needs, but there are some common elements that should be included. These elements include:
- A prohibition on the use of company email for personal use.
- A ban on the sending of confidential or proprietary information via email.
- Guidelines for the use of attachments.
- A requirement that employees use only approved email providers.
- A policy on archiving email.
- A policy on the use of auto-responders.
How to Implement Email Policy Guidelines for Company Email
Once your company has crafted a set of guidelines, they must be implemented effectively. Otherwise, they won’t have the desired effect. Here are the three most important aspects of proper implementation:
1. Communicate Your Email Policy Guidelines
How you communicate these guidelines makes a huge difference in whether or not they will be properly adopted. You need to express the guidelines in writing and distribute them to all employees, including new hires, via company email addresses.
They must be easy to read and access, so they should be available on the company’s intranet as well. These policies should also be integrated into employee training and included in handbooks, manuals, etc. Additionally, email policy guidelines must be reviewed and updated if any omissions or errors are detected.
2. Provide Consistency
Consistency is key when it comes to establishing and implementing email policy guidelines. That’s why these policies need to be crafted based on the needs of the company and its industry. In other words, they need to make sense.
Additionally, they must comply with any applicable local, state, or federal laws related to electronic monitoring. Not to mention, you must be consistent with all procedures and disciplinary consequences as well.
3. Get Your Employee’s Consent to Company Email Monitoring
According to the Electronic Communications Privacy Act, employees shouldn’t have any expectation or right to privacy while they’re at work because the equipment and systems they use belong to their employer.
However, employees must sign an email policy that makes it clear they’re being monitored in their employment and why. As long as they follow email usage guidelines, there shouldn’t be an issue.
Email policy guidelines exist to protect the organization and they are a part of the company’s overall security. At the end of the day, these guidelines allow employees to make better use of email so they can be more productive and respond a lot more effectively to the needs of the business.