Example Letter #1
Your writing skills are an asset to Doe Corporation; however, your inability to work five days a week and complete projects on time is slowing our production schedule and may jeopardize your employment. During the past two weeks you have called in sick three times, bringing your total sick days for the year to 15. If this pattern continues, we will no longer be able to employ you.
As you know, we discussed these problems in detail on Thursday, May 6, in your quarterly review. I told you then that you had no more sick days. I also reviewed with you the various ailments that you claimed to be suffering from when you called in sick the thirteen times prior to our meeting. After our discussion, you said you were feeling much better. I also informed you that if you were to call in sick once more without medical verification, we would terminate your employment.
We feel you can make a good contribution to our corporate effort, and hope that you will overcome this recurring problem. You have significant potential.
Example Letter #2
You are a congenial person to work with and you always seem to be available when new jobs start. However, I have received numerous complaints from customers about your apparent lack of follow-through. Most recently, the Does phoned to say that you had promised to finish their concrete work two weeks ago. You still have not done the work and have not contacted them. I have other complaints of a similar nature on file.
You and I discussed some of these problems last month at your quarterly review. I have enclosed a copy of that review for your benefit. You will remember that I expressed my hope that your performance would improve. You promised then that you would schedule your time better and finish all work as promised. These new complaints indicate that you have not been successful.
I will give you one more chance. Service is central to our business and timely service is paramount. You can expect a review at the end of this month. If there is one new customer complaint, I will terminate your employment. So that you understand, I want to stress that the average number of complaints in our employee files is one per employee per year. You have four already this month.
Example Letter #3
You have truly been an energetic, fun-loving employee in our organization. Nevertheless, I must inform you that your continued careless use of your expense account puts your future with Doe Corporation in jeopardy. I have highlighted the more egregious excesses on the enclosed copy of your last expense report. The highlighted examples alone represent over $2,500. There are also other parts of the report that I question.
As you are aware, this is the second time in the past 12 months that I have contacted you about your expense account. The last time you passed it off as mere sloppiness on your part and promised to improve. This most recent report does not look like "mere sloppiness" to me. I expect a full explanation in writing no later than noon, Friday, November 22, 2019. You must justify every highlighted item on the report. If you are unable to do this to my satisfaction, I will have to terminate your employment with Doe Corporation.
I trust you will be able to satisfy my concerns. You have tremendous potential. Still, I must have full confidence in my employees.
Example Letter #4
During the past three years of your employment, you have demonstrated a terrific work ethic. Doe Motors appreciates your industry. It has, however, come to my attention that you again have taken cars up for sale for your personal use after business hours. From our prior discussion, I know you are aware that Doe is opposed to this practice. Furthermore, it is obvious the car keys are locked in the control box at night to prevent unauthorized use. You have apparently skirted that preventive measure by picking the lock.
You are on probation for three months as of the date of this letter. Your authorization to remove any car from the lot during the day or night is revoked. If you do drive any car alone within the next three months, you will be terminated. Doe cannot afford the legal liability this practice carries.
If, after three months, you have demonstrated that you are trustworthy, I will restore your prior work status. I hope you can put this practice behind you. I need your help during these busy months and value your work ethic.
Write Your Letter Step-by-Step
Begin with a recognition of some of the employee's positive traits.
Discuss the employee's weakness frankly, calling attention to the most recent incident that makes this letter necessary. Keep the focus on the employee's behavior.
Review the last discussion that you had with the employee about the problem (This review is your documentation that the employee was given adequate warning).
Explain clearly what corrective action the employee must take, and what the consequences will be if his or her performance does not meet this expectation.
Close with an expression of encouragement.