If you’re an employee, then the last thing that you’ll want to receive is a warning letter from your employer. A warning letter is what one issues in the event that someone has either showed inappropriate behavior or has underperformed to the point where it should be addressed.
Those that do receive these letters should think of them as a wake-up call that tells them about the severity of their situation. Those in charge of making these letters must know what to place in as well as using the proper tone in order to be able to properly convey to the employee as to why he or she is receiving the warning. Which is why the following information should help you create a proper sample warning letter to those who both need and deserve it.
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What Is a Formal Business Warning Letter?
Sometimes employers are faced with situations wherein they’re required to tell their employees that aren’t exactly meeting up with the expectations of the company. If these employees continue to fail in meeting their legal obligations, then the employer will be forced to create a business warning letter. This kind of letter is what employers use after they have done an employee assessment and have seen that a particular employee’s performance hasn’t exactly been satisfactory or has gone well below what the employer expects. The letter must then explain why it is being issued and specify as much detail as to why the employee’s performance is deemed unsatisfactory.
Reasons for Giving Business Warning Letters
When an employer sees that an employee is providing unsatisfactory work, then he or she has the right to create and issue this letter to the said employee. The letter may also be provided in the event that the employee has shown behavior that is unacceptable within the workplace. If the employer has done a proper employee assessment and has seen that a couple of employees have failed to carry out their work satisfactorily, then that would mean that these people have failed to meet the company’s standards. An employee’s behavior is considered unacceptable if he or she:
- Has failed or continued to fail the work rules and regulations, as well as the procedures and policies.
- Has caused any kind of disruption in the workplace. A good example would be the employee constantly harassing other coworkers that would lead to low productivity.
- Has acted inappropriately such as by making rude comments or gestures during very important meetings.
However, one must remember that unacceptable behavior done by an employee is not the same as the employee committing a serious offense. A serious offense is considered as something that could inflict physical harm or injury to company employees or property and/or something that could have serious negative effects on a business. If an employee has conducted a minor offense, then it’s best to give a verbal warning. If the problem continues to persist, then you may send a written warning. If the employee has done anything that is considered a serious offense, then you may decide to give a final written warning or terminate the employee on the spot.
Steps for Preparing the Warning Letter
Although it’s something that a lot of employers would rather not do, eventually they will be required to make a warning letter to employees who both need and deserve it. Which is why it’s very important to learn how to make a proper business warning letter that will allow these employees to understand the problem at hand. So here are the steps that should help you make a professional business warning letter:
- You’ll need to identify the problem. If you’ve been doing proper behavior and performance analysis on all of your employees, then you’ll easily be able to figure out the different issues that are going on in your business. Once you have found the problem, you’ll need to consider how serious it is, how long the problem has existed, and the actions that you are going to have to take to resolve the situation.
- Next would be for you to meet with the employee. It’s best that you hold the meeting in a private location so that the employee will feel more comfortable in receiving the news as well as being able to properly respond to whatever comment you have to make. What this meeting will do is allow you to understand more about the situation as well as possibly gaining new information. You may even come to a point where you could learn that it was all a misunderstanding. Or it could give you information that tells you that the situation is more severe than you initially thought. By meeting and conversing with the employee about the problem, then you’ll be able to decide as to whether or not you should prepare a warning letter that you’ll eventually have to give.
- Once everything is done, you are then going to have to make the warning letter. You should start off by making a brief explanation regarding the specific behavior or action that you and your business’s policies consider to be unacceptable. You will then need to explain that you have repeatedly given the employee verbal warnings, but the employee has failed to heed these warnings thus resulting in him or her receiving the letter.
- State in the letter that the employee must treat this a formal warning regarding his or her behavior and actions. You must also state that should the employee continue, then you and other higher-ups will be forced to take serious action. Place in the letter that these actions involve with the employee being suspended from work, or the employee may be fired on the spot.
- Next would be to place in the suggested solution as to how the employee should handle the problem. You must then create a proper outline that shows what you expect out of the employee and that the employee must observe good conduct after receiving the letter.
- Finally, you’ll want to place a blank where the employee can place his or her signature and a brief sentence that states that the employee has fully read, understood, and agreed to the terms of the letter. This is useful for when an employee lays claim to unfair termination.
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The Process of Giving a Business Warning Letter
When you’re required to hand this kind of letter out, you’re going to have to follow a process. It’s very important that you, the employer, follow this process because it reflects good practice on your end. So here are the steps that should help you give an employee a much deserved and needed warning letter:
- The first thing that you’re going to have to do is to arrange a private meeting. Check your schedule planner to check the earliest time that you’re available and you should also choose a time that’s best for the employee. You’ll have to make sure that the employee understands what the meeting is going to be about and you may also ask if that employee would like to bring a support person.
- During the meeting, you’ll have to clear regarding your concerns about the employee’s performance issues or behavioral problem. If it’s about an unacceptable action that the employee did, then you’ll need to be very specific such as the time and date that the action took place, where it took place, the people that were involved, and how things transpired. You will then have to hear the employee’s official statement regarding your comments and listen to any additional information that he or she has to say. The employee may just provide you with enough information that will make you decide as to whether or not you should actually provide the letter.
- After you have finished meeting with the employee, you must then follow up regularly with the employee. This will help you keep track of the employee’s progress and allow you to discuss with the employee if he or she requires any necessary support. If the employee has been steadily improving and you see that there are almost no problems at all, then you’ll want to provide proper feedback wherein you praise the employee for doing a good job. However, if you see that the employee has yet to improve, then you may hold another meeting where you may then hand the employee a formal business warning letter.
- If the employee has not been improving and you see that he or she has actually been getting worse, then you may decide to terminate the employee. However, you must remember that this option should be reserved as a last resort. Because if the employee was terminated and makes an unfair dismissal claim, then the Fair Work Commission will do an evaluation report based on the context of the termination as seeing if the appropriate measures have been taken. This is why it’s best that you create a final written warning if you think that the problem the employee is facing is still salvageable. So only terminate the employee if you think that there is no longer any kind of compromise to make.