When implementing a GRC technology it is only a matter of minutes before someone says, “Can you send X an email when Y is updated?”. The answer is, of course, yes but why do they need an email. During a recent deployment, I have configured over 100 notifications. With a few clicks a single user can generate 10 or more emails.
Emails are a major source of inefficiency and stress in the workplace. Many of us have emails arriving on our phone into the evening. Acas makes a recommendation that we should be doing less emailing and more face-to-face discussion.
Automated emails are often ignored and users often set up Outlook rules to move and even delete these notifications. Once this happens you have lost their attention and undermined the purpose of the notification. Also you have damaged your reach for other more important messages.
Cutting down on your notifications
Ask yourself the following question. “Is the person being notified expected to do something immediately?”
Consider whether they need to be notified at all. Much of the business noise is in keeping people aware of relatively trivial things. Cut this out, the individual can look up the information at a later date.
If you do need to keep someone aware of a developing situation, a regular user of the system could be given a view of recently updated items. Allowing them a passive view of updates. Using this channel keeps the inbox clear for more urgent items.
When you require a person to take a specific action, a queue of items be better. This can be emailed weekly or monthly rather than bombarding them with each change as it happens. Digests like this reduce the volume of individual emails.
Finally, if you need someone’s attention urgently, ask yourself whether an automated email is the most appropriate channel. Most systems will allow you to email a link and some human written summary text, or would you pick up the phone, or go and speak to them.
Let’s keep the automated notifications to a minimum.