An organization or a business expects that the employees hired by them should perform well. After all, a business can only be successful when all its employees are performing to their highest abilities. However, the definition of performance may not be the same in the two organizations.
Employees need to achieve their targets. Their performances are taken into account while doing their appraisal. Each employee’s output is under observation. In case there are repeated incidents of them under-performing, the management can issue a warning letter. It is to ensure that the concerned employee can redeem themselves and improves the performance.
On the other hand, it is the responsibility of employers to keep their employees motivated and engaged. Performance counselling does not essentially result in a warning. A letter of concern tells an employee that his/her performance is not satisfactory. It also tells them that there is a requirement to improve and yet it is not a formal warning. Before learning how to write a letter of concern, let us first understand what the document is and why it is needed.
What is a letter of concern?
It is a kind of informal warning, which issues to an employee if they perform poorly or violates code of conduct at a workplace. A letter of concern can be considered as the first procedural step to initiate disciplinary action. The informal letter is typically used to intimate an employee about his/her performance problem. The intent is the concerned employee should correct it before the matter aggravates.
Typically, employees whose work quality and performance are deteriorating are verbally reprimanded. Once that is done, the supervisor sends them a letter of concern. The concerned employees may be also told to take help from their superior in case they are having some kind of difficulty in the work they have been assigned with.
At times, even the department head can issue this letter to an employee. There are cases when the Human Resource department could also issue this informal letter to employees. It has been found that in some cases; even the organization head observes certain employees’ poor performance. They may instruct the HR department to send these letters to the superior of the poorly performing employees. The superior will then forward those letters to his/her subordinates.
A letter of concern can be also written by one employee for another employee’s unprofessional behavior. It is usually addressed to the company’s senior management. While writing the letter, the sender needs to mention the exact details of the unprofessional behavior.
Unprofessional behavior can be issues related to harassment of other employees, inability to meet deadlines, tardiness, and so on. Such a letter is usually written for discouraging unprofessional behavior at the workplace.
When is it required?
As is evident from the above sections, a letter of concern is issued when a superior observes that his/her subordinate(s) are not performing well. Typically, such employees are allowed to resolve the matter themselves. However, in case the superior notes that the matter is still unresolved, they will step in by issuing the letter of concern. It has to be issued to make sure that the employee is aware of their deteriorating performance.
The letter has to be precise and the words should deliver the exact message to an employee clearly. It should also explain the issue to the employee clearly. For instance, the letter should let them realize that the quality of their work is not up to the company’s standards. Additionally, the letter needs to suggest appropriate techniques to resolve the issue.
For instance, there is deterioration in the work performed as he/she often arrives late at work. The letter should advise the employee either to arrive at the workplace in time or work overtime.
Tips on how to write a letter of concern
One thing needs to be understood clearly by all parties. Poor or unsatisfactory performance does not always lead to a firing action. For instance, the superior is aware that the concerned employee has the ability to perform well. So, it becomes imperative to give a chance to that individual to prove his/her true worth although they might have disillusioned the superior previously.
After completing the performance evaluation, the employee is usually issued a letter of concern where any behavioral concerns or work performance is addressed.
The letter should ensure the following:
· Mention the different concern areas
· State what does the organization expect from him/her in the future
· Explain the improvement required
Tips on how to write a letter of concern for poor performance
1. The letter should be written by the HOD/manager to an employee. It should be written when the employees’ performance is not up to the mark and to motivate him/her.
2. Poor performance can happen for several reasons such as not understanding project goals, general incompetence, or personal problems. Hence, it is extremely crucial to state, as well as, to address the correct issue while writing the letter.
3. The letter can be also regarded as a warning to the employee. If an employee gets this letter, he/she should realize that they have to change their behavior and approach towards their poor performance and work.
4. A letter of concern should state the specific objective for which it has been written. So, it should be like a warning to bring the employee back on the proper track.
5. Special care and extra care are essential while writing this letter to an employee for his/her unacceptable performance. On the other hand, the letter should not have a very harsh tone in the choice of words used. Neither should it be too casual or light.
Tips on how to write a letter of concern for unprofessional behavior
The letter should follow the requisites mentioned below:
1. Note down the unprofessional behavior that you came across and mention the date and time as well in the letter
2. State in the letter why you consider such behavior is not professional and how it can be detrimental for the organization
3. Explain the possible outcomes of such behavior at the workplace if not controlled
4. Write down the regulations and rules of the organization concerning the unprofessional behavior of the employee
5. You may also discuss possible solutions and avenues in the letter as well
Samples of how to write a letter of concern
<Name of Employee>
Dear <Name of Employee>
This letter is to intimate you about my concerns regarding your dip in work performance in recent months. Your contribution in the <Name of Project> was not up to the required standards of our organization. Also, the project missed some crucial information.
The management expects to see improvement in your performance at work. We are also assessing your performance closely. We also hope that your effort in the upcoming project will be higher and up to the mark. You may get in touch with me in case there is any problem with the tasks assigned to you.
<Name of Superior>
Dear <Employee Name>
Re: Letter of Concern
Please refer to our meeting dated <Date of Meeting> at<Time of Meeting>. This letter is being written to let you know about my concerns related to your performance in the following areas of work:
<Reason for the concern i.e. performance, attendance, coming late to office>
As a consequence, we expect your performance improvement to be at par with the <Details of his/her expected improvement>. We expect this improvement from you within one month from the date of receipt of this letter of concern.
Please note that in case you fail to show performance improvement during this period, disciplinary action may be initiated against you according to our organization’s Disciplinary Procedure.
<Name of the Superior>
Re: Concern for unsatisfactory sales performance
Dear <Employee Name>.
I was perusing through the fortnightly sales report back to March 2021. It was alarming and worrying to note that you have not met your sales targets for March and April 2021.
As you would be aware that we are a relatively new organization and our existence highly depends on meeting the sales targets of each sales personnel. Not succeeding to do can lead to poor turnover of the business, as well as, have drastic impacts on the company’s business and profitability.
I interviewed some of your team members before writing this letter to you. I was told that you had disappeared continuously during work hours in those two months. The organization cannot accept such behavior from you.
We are writing this letter of concern to intimate you that there will be a strict scan of your performance in the months to follow. The management will take a final decision after checking your sales performance in these months. The organization expects that you will perform well and contribute to its prosperity.
You are free to discuss any matters with me and can get in touch with me during office hours on any day. Your open-mindedness and co-operation will be highly appreciable so that the matter can be resolved at the earliest. It is high time we prepare ourselves well so that we can meet our targets and take your organization to a different level altogether.
<Name of Sender>
<City, State, Zip Code>
<City, State, Zip Code>
Subject Letter of Concern for Some Team Members’ Unprofessional Behavior
This letter is to bring to your kind notice that I am designated as an IT Professional in your organization. Last month, I was assigned a new project and two other colleagues of mine- <First Colleague Name> and <Second Colleague Name> were also names as my team members. My superior had declared that I would be heading the project and the other two members will be reporting to me.
You would be aware of the fact that it is imperative and essential to work as a team for the successful completion of any IT project. Also, the new project has to be completed by the end of the current month.
Kindly consider this letter as my complaint against these two team members of my project. Both of them are behaving unprofessionally with the tasks assigned to them and do not appear to be interested in discharging their duties properly.
The company’s working policy mentions that all employees have to play their respective roles while they work as team members or in groups. I believe in the spirit of teamwork and feel highly efficient and proactive while working in a group.
I would hereby request you to issue a warning to <First Team Member> and <Second Team Member> for their unprofessional and careless behavior. I would also suggest that they are penalized for their unprofessional approach to work. If you take note of my concern fast, the project can be completed within the desired time frame and in full professional integrity.
I sincerely hope that you will appreciate the importance of the short time span and act accordingly. Additionally, it would be extremely generous of you in case you can investigate this issue and offer a solution as soon as possible.
<Signature of Sender>
<Superior Employee Name>
Re: Letter of Concern
Please treat this letter as a letter of concern for your poor performance on the job. Despite repeated suggestions, encouragement, and regular coaching from us, your performance is not improving.
The company has also offered you on-the-job training from two of the most experienced employees. However, it was found that you did not learn the job. The mentors/trainers assigned to you rated your performance as unsatisfactory.
Your output is much below the average output of your colleagues. We find that your reliability, consistency, and speed are an issue while you are filling customer orders.
We are writing this letter to communicate to you that we will keep a close tab on your performance for the coming three weeks. The management will be compelled to take the final call if your performance does not satisfy the set standards.
You are requested to take this letter seriously as we always expect to see our employees succeed.
<Signature of Supervisor>
<Name of Supervisor> <Date>