Guidelines and Alternate Phrases
Overview the performance or attitude problem. Don’t hide a reprimand behind a trapping question. If the reader has committed an offense, say so. If you mean only to verify what you have been told or have assumed, ask for verification outright.
Review favorable traits and contributions to the company if the employee has performed well in the past and if you want to continue the positive association.
While we appreciate your thoroughness in your administrative tasks, your attendance record has been unacceptable.
Jean, over the years we have counted on you as the backbone of our department—your expertise in the audit responsibilities has been invaluable—but we’ve noticed in the last year your performance in other areas has slipped. In fact, your attitude about assigned duties to be coordinated with other teams has been almost adversarial.
We have appreciated your willingness to adapt to changes in the environment as Hyatt-Bleyl has expanded to new quarters. However, since the last move, we have noted....
Try to minimize resentment by focusing on behavior and results or consequences rather than motives or intentions.
Document specific details of the performance problem or serious event or circumstance that warrants the reprimand. Communicate exactly what performance, attitude, or decision you want corrected.
Explain the seriousness of the poor performance. When possible and not already obvious, explain why the behavior, situation, or decision needs correction or why the policy or rule has been established. A “why” generally improves cooperation.
This habit of leaving equipment unattended in the hallways has become a safety hazard.
Your attitude has become a barrier to others of our staff when they must call on other departments for cooperation in meeting tight deadlines. In other words, our staffers get a lot of comments beginning with, “Well, Jack told us....”
Even customers have commented on this situation when they have arrived in the lobby and found you absent from your desk.
This failure in planning results in delays of up to three or four days when orders come in.
Show confidence, if you can, that the situation will improve.
You have always given your cooperation in similar situations, and we know we can count on you again to solve this problem.
We appreciate your willingness to work toward a remedy of this situation.
You have performed in a completely satisfactory way up to this point; we hope you will have no difficulty with this recent assignment.
May we count on your support in correcting the problem?
You have been conscientious about your jobs on other occasions, and we want to assume you have that same attitude about improving this situation.
We hope you will decide to improve the situation.
We hope you will decide to give us your cooperation in this matter.
I, of course, expect the next audit of the manuals will show significant improvement.
With the personal problems you mentioned to me earlier now behind you, I assume you’ll have no further cause for such lengthy absences.
We feel we can count on your cooperation in correcting this problem.
If you think there is need for further discussion on the details of this problem, please let me know immediately. We will be eager to help you remedy the situation.
Thank you for your cooperation. We don’t expect any further difficulty on this issue.
Thank you for your willingness to make these improvements. We look forward to a new attitude and a growing success rate.
Document your complaints and past reprimands. On a second or third warning, recall past warnings and give notice of the next action if performance or attitude is not improved.
Your immediate supervisor has counseled you previously about this problem, and we want to point out, therefore, that any recurrence will be cause for immediate dismissal.
This is the second warning, John. If we do not see immediate improvement, we will be forced to terminate your employment with us.
Any recurrence, Amy, will mean we must ask for your immediate resignation.
We hope you agree these warnings should be sufficient: Any failure to attend classes regularly and upgrade your training in the future will be grounds for dismissal.
The future is in your hands. You must bring your performance up to the acceptable level or you will be subject to discharge at the end of your probationary period.
If we must bring this behavior to your attention again, you will be dismissed immediately.
Your attitude problem must be corrected immediately and must remain acceptable over an extended period or your employment will be terminated.
This is our second notice, and we hope our last before the situation turns around. A third warning will be immediate cause for dismissal.
If I discover this situation again, we will be forced to terminate your employment.
Should this problem recur, we will have to ask for your resignation.
The decision is yours. We need to see a 20 percent increase in your output, or we will have to let you go.
You will receive no further warnings about this performance. Our next action will be to terminate your employment here.
Match your tone to the seriousness and frequency of the offense, getting firmer after a first warning: “I noted there’s a problem in that you…” to “This is the second warning about…” to “I must warn you any repetition of this situation will be cause for immediate dismissal.”