Reprimand an Employee For Poor Performance • Letter Templates and Guidelines

How to write this letter:

1Compliment the employee on past performance or any special accomplishments.
2Give the details about the incident or practice in question. Be careful not to insult the employee or employees involved. Communicate facts, not suspicions. If you have addressed this issue with this particular employee or group of employees before, mention it.
3Include specific suggestions on how the employee can improve the situation. Include any goals you would like the employee to work toward. Let him or her know that you are willing to listen to another viewpoint.
4Close the letter on a positive note, assuring the reader that you believe he or she will take all necessary steps to rectify the problem.

Guidelines

Begin positively and then proceed directly to the issue. Focus on the incident or practice in question. Offer constructive criticism, but do not make generalizations about the character of the person receiving the reprimand. Also see "Document employee reprimands."

Example Letter #1

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I want to compliment you on your sales performance last month. You exceeded your goals in every category but one.

There is some bad news with this good news, however. At least two of your colleagues have complained that you regularly berate them. One said that you even called him an idiot in front of a customer. In this business there are few things more important than satisfied customers and happy employees, so I must ask you to seriously examine your behavior. At this point, I am asking only that you do some self-evaluation. Next week we can get together and discuss what else, if anything, needs to be done. I am sure you realize that there is no need to be abusive or rude to fellow employees, especially in front of customers.

I look forward to meeting with you next week. If you need to talk to me about this before then, feel free to drop by my office.

Example Letter #2

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I have always appreciated your promptly arriving to work. However, after reviewing the monthly performance record, it is clear that you have once again failed to meet the minimum 75% production goal. I thought after our discussion last month that you were committed to raising your production goals.

I feel we must set some clear hourly production goals in order to increase your daily production. You will need to sew 25 sweatshirts each morning between 10-12 a.m. You will need to sew an additional 30 between 1:00 p.m. and 3:30 p.m. in order to meet a daily 75% production goal.

If you have any comments or questions about these goals, please feel free to call. I would be pleased to receive your input on how you can improve your production rate. I feel you are capable of much greater production goals and eventually a promotion to supervisor, but you must first overcome this problem.

Example Letter #3

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In the time you have worked here you have grown professionally in many ways. Your successes in your first year were truly outstanding. This company is no place for resting on one's laurels, however. Your productivity in the last two months has fallen rather dramatically. I cannot sit by and let management talent such as yours go to waste. While I understand the need for up-to-date machinery, the night shift in your own shop is besting your output by nearly 30%. This is unacceptable. Please meet with me this Wednesday to discuss your plan to bring your productivity back up to its excellent former levels. I would also like to see some ideas on creating a more efficient work environment in your shop. Let's work together and get out of this slump.

Write Your Letter Step-by-Step

1

Compliment the employee on past performance or any special accomplishments.

Example Sentences for Step 1

Example Phrases for Step 1

2

Give the details about the incident or practice in question. Be careful not to insult the employee or employees involved. Communicate facts, not suspicions. If you have addressed this issue with this particular employee or group of employees before, mention it.

Example Sentences for Step 2

One of our most valued clients has recently informed us that you have been verbally abusive on at least two separate occasions. The secretaries at the front desk have complained about your behavior with clients in the front lobby when you greet them. They specifically complained that you use crude language. This practice reflects poorly on the company. As a sales representative, I am sure you appreciate the value of a good corporate image. With that in mind, I regretfully must inform you of several complaints I have received about your attire while meeting with clients and perspective clients. On several occasions you have shown up for appointments inappropriately dressed. This is the second time I have had to bring this to your attention. We are frankly concerned about the poor production your team has achieved over the last three months. Our records show that you have not met any of your production goals over that time, and that the situation is getting steadily worse. The Customer Service Department has complained to me several times in the last three weeks about what they consider to be your "overbearingness" and unwillingness to communicate with them. One specific example they cited was that you derided one of their staff members in front of a client, calling him slow and incompetent. On May 13, I sent you a memo asking you to submit any new project proposals at the beginning of the work week unless circumstances demanded otherwise. It has recently come to my attention that you have turned in all your proposals on Thursdays and Fridays, and that you have never explained why you violated the established policy. We are very concerned that you may be developing a drinking problem. I don't think you have come to work drunk, but you have often complained about having a hangover. We fear your off-hours behavior is beginning to affect your performance.

Example Phrases for Step 2

3

Include specific suggestions on how the employee can improve the situation. Include any goals you would like the employee to work toward. Let him or her know that you are willing to listen to another viewpoint.

Example Sentences for Step 3

Example Phrases for Step 3