Have you ever opened an email from your favorite retailer and purchased something you didn’t really need? Of course you have! That’s because marketers know how to grab your attention. They pull you in with an intriguing subject line, and seal the deal with a fabulous product photo and vibrant font announcing a discount you just can’t ignore.

So, take a cue from the promo email and apply the same techniques to your emails about performance management to capture employees’ attention. Here are three tips:

Create catchy subject lines

Effective subject lines offer a solution, promise to make your life better or surprise you.

Luckily, performance management information lends itself to this approach because it personally affects employees, and there’s often a “how to” component. Here are some examples:

  • How to create strong performance objectives 
  • What Star Wars and goal setting have in common 
  • 5 things our CEO wants you to know about our new ratings

Show, don’t tell

Instead of making employees read, seek opportunities to communicate visually. Visuals are a fast way to communicate a lot of information—and cut through the clutter. Here are three ways to make performance management emails more visual:

infographic example

Type of visual:

What it communicates:
A complicated process or multiple ideas

icon example (chat bubbles)

Type of visual:

What it communicates:
A simple, single idea

photo example (black woman with laptop)

Type of visual:

What it communicates:
Emotion and tone

Keep it short 

You have a lot of information to convey and you need to keep employees’ attention. How do you do this? Make your email content as brief as possible and don’t include every detail in the email. Some rules of thumb:

  • Limit email message to 50 words or less 
  • Stick to one idea or key message per email 
  • Link out to more information or other resources 
  • Highlight core content with subheads, bullets and callouts