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Managing the Font of Email Signatures - Now That's Value-Added HR Work....

When I got to my current company, there was a sheet in the orientation package that listed the company's protocol regarding email signatures in Outlook.   Mandated size, font, order of content, etc.   Total control - after all, you can't trust EMPLOYEES to make decisions about important details like this, right?

Wrong.  I ripped it up and banned the sheet from orientation and any other type of distribution.  ButEmail before you consider me the people's champion, understand it's for me as much as it is for them.

Allowing employees to do whatever they want with their signatures is not only American, it's natural selection at its best.  Consider the following:

1.  By allowing employees to "let their freak flag fly" when it comes to fonts and colors, you find out who the outliers are.  See an employee break out the Comic Sans in purple with a paisley background?  That's all you need to know.  Make sure the Christmas party is alcohol free for this person.

2.  Title inflation tells you who the Enron guys are - I love seeing who will add that little twist to their title, like the Customer Service Rep who will list their title as "Customer Service Representative - Reporting" because they pull the ACD stats off the printer at the end of their shift.  Just enough of a bump to feel a little bit superior.... and to pump up the resume (PS, with this crowd it's usually on Monster before you notice the title inflation).

3.  I don't need the Book of The Month club when I've got you laying down the quotes as a part of your signature.  Nothing says "Damn, I'm academic and philosophical" more than a good quote at the end of your signature.  What's that?  This week is something from Sun Tzu?   Sweet!  I was just thinking that business is a lot like ancient war, and you broke it down perfectly...

4.  Oops - This person doesn't have a signature.  What's that mean?  Probably a deep thinker who has disconnected themselves from the false status of titles.... Or, they don't know how to program a VCR.  Either way, I want to give them a big hug... They are my heros in world flooded with advertising, positioning and spin...

It's America, so you can do what you want with your email signature!!  Just know all your friends will be psychoanalyzing every letter, color and font from the cheap seats....

Comments

Evil  HR Lady

I used to get e-mails from a fellow HR person whose signature had: Jane Doe, BA

Since it is an absolute requirement in my company for exempt HR people to have a bachelor's degree, she just got snickered at. My evil co-workers and I would joke about putting our degrees and certificates in our sigs. Evil HR Lady, BA, MA, Dropped out of PhD but could have it I wanted to, PHR.

What do you think?

Scott

I think you missed the point of a standardized signature on e-mail. From a support perspective, it is a nightmare helping 200+ employees insert an image of a cute little kitty into their sigs, or install a new font so they can have a unique sig. Even worse, some mail systems can't handle the garbage people but there and when the receiver gets the message, it's a jumble of HTML code. Nothing says "professional" like a garbled mess at the end of your e-mail. Hence the need for at least some standard.

Catbert

OMG this was the funniest thing I've read all year (wait its January, how about IN a year). Organizational diagnosis 101. Thanks for the cultural insight and apologies to your marketing "brand" specialists.

Kris

Evil -

Love the signature and the story. Here's what I would have for you....

, BA, MA, Blog Editor - I write under the moniker of Evil HR Lady, so mess with me in the staff meeting and it's obvious I will carve you up...

Big Company Inc.
456.987.3876

--------------------------------------
Scott -

I hear what you are saying. If you support the network/exchange, that's got to be a drag. For that reason, I think it would be cool to have a policy that mandates no pictures, clunky code and what have you. So we're in agreement there. But Font type, color and size? That's dictating too much in my world.

------------------------------------

Catbert -

With comments like that, I obviously need you commenting often. Please subscribe and comment often? Would a Starbucks card help you get comfortable?

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