Coronavirus Q&A email inbox soars in popularity among employees

A look at how real-time analytics from a dedicated email inbox about coronavirus helps guide communications outreach at Cognizant.

Email inbox

There are many channels communicators are using to reach employees—virtual town halls, CEO videos and the intranet to name a few.

Is an email Q&A inbox on your list? You might want to consider adding it to the mix.

Launched by the internal communications team at Cognizant, a dedicated email inbox for questions about COVID-19 has been extremely popular among the technology firm’s 300,000 employees—200k of which are in India. Analyzing the inbox questions has become essential to its communication strategy.

“This has been really useful,” says Stephanie Dorn, director of global internal communications. “This has really helped drive the next phase of communication that our leadership team needs to focus on.”

For example, after analytics indicated 20% of questions centered around work from home policies, a temporary work from home policy was put in place within a few days.

Analyzing the email inbox

Managed 24/7 by a 12-person team, questions are answered within one business day. The team currently receives more than 100 questions daily.

Analytics of the more than 1,600 questions received since the email box launched on March 10 reveal what’s top of mind to employees.

Every three days, the team updates its CEO and CMO with analytics slides, which includes the top concerns, inquiry topics by geography (North America, India, Europe, Asia and South America), the list of the top questions, and a breakdown of a vital topic into sub-categories.

It also includes a demographics breakdown: total emails, daily average, unique users, and geography.

“I highly recommend any type of analysis you can do,” she says. “It’s been very helpful with management to address the concerns we’re seeing come in through the email box.”

In addition to email, the internal communication team is also heavily focused on the intranet.

“Our intranet has been a core source of information for us,” Dorn says. The intranet has three microsite pages—the COVID-19 hub, client messaging center, and account managers page.

Per analytics, popular topics globally are work from home guidelines, CEO communication, policies around health and well-being, and travel restrictions. Topics will change week to week depending on the evolving situation.

Communicator coping skills

Here are three ways the internal communications team at Cognizant are managing:

  1. Take scheduled breaks. Although the frequency of communications is fast and furious, take scheduled breaks.
  2. Daily communications team call. This 30-minute call every morning updates the team on what’s happened overnight.
  3. Collaborate on Microsoft Teams or SharePoint. These platforms keep everyone in the know, particularly around approved policies and legal language to use.

“What we’ve created for a U.S. office closure, someone in Singapore can use that as a starting point so they don’t have to recreate the wheel,” Dorn says.

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