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Business owners giving job opportunities to a number of employees, often come across several issues. The hired employees may not be equally good at work each day as every day is not the same and they may also have mood swings. That being said, such behavior is acceptable and avoidable to some extent occasionally, but when such behavior is consistent, it counters productivity of the business.

Employers may also suffer losses due to poor job performance of the employees. There can be many reasons for the employee’s poor performance though, which can make the employers draft a formal warning letter which is professionally known as an employee write up form, outlining the expectations and consequences.

In spite of there being several employee management programs and tools that can be used by the HR department of the company, this form is likely to be used when a serious problem arises and an error is constantly being done by an employee. Additionally, managers can also communicate with the employee verbally, but when things are forwarded to the employee in written form, they become more authentic and serious.

Of course, business productivity is of paramount importance to the employers and poor performance of an employee can badly affect the overall efficiency. Unfortunately, after several verbal warnings, some employees are unable to shape up, which forces employers to become formal, while using an employee write up template.

Employee write up forms are warning letters that are referred to as employee disciplinary action forms, warning of employee conduct, and even employee warning notes. The names may vary for companies yet the motive behind all of them remains the same. These forms or letters are technically used and written by the human resource department of the company, highlighting when the job performance or behavior deteriorates steadily, causing problems for the business productivity and efficiency.

Employee write up forms help managers and employers to convey and explain the expectations from the employees with respect to productivity and changes in their behavior. Also, it highlights the consequences if the poor job performance or unacceptable behavior continues in the future. Moreover, employee write ups are not brought forward as the first resort. This warning letter is kept at the back of a company’s arsenal. Employees are first given verbal warnings only.

To save the employer’s time and effort, there are several employee write up templates available for free, like the one on our main website. The standard employee write up form covers a checklist of common job performance problems or disciplinary issues such as misusing company’s internet, taking excessive breaks, daily quota of calls, absenteeism, carelessness, bad performance, tardiness, breach of company policy, poor work quality etc. You can simply download the template from our main website and edit it with the necessary details and forward it to the employee.

Downloadable Templates:

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Why Should You Use It?

As mentioned above, these warning letters are kept at the back of the arsenal. This means that employers may have given multiple verbal warnings to the employee first. If employers have a very careless and irresponsible employee in their firm who does not shape up even after getting multiple verbal warnings, then employers should use these written warning letters as a means to make them change their behavior.

When writing these letters, employers should make the employees recall the number of times they have been given warnings previously and the results of previous warnings (if any). Normally, you can use these employee write ups due to an employee’s lacking job performance, but if there are other reasons, there is a space for notes too.

When to Use It?

Employee write up forms cannot be used at all times. They are only presented to the employees, when things get serious. Before this, managers and employers should speak to the employees in person and communicate with them, letting them know about their poor performance or bad behavior.

It is necessary to communicate beforehand, as to what you think about it, as there is a possibility that employees may not really know what their managers think about their performance or behavior. Therefore, it is better to communicate and coordinate between one another to avoid discrepancy. At times, things can be resolved simply by talking to each other, instead of firing an employee who could do better in future.

Technically, there are many reasons to write an employee write up as every employee has different types of behavioral and performance problems. This is why an employee write up may have multiple written warnings for the problem. Some companies consider writing multiple warnings while some employers try to use only one written warning in the form. It depends upon you and your organization to choose any of the methods.

According to a research, most of the employers choose to write this warning letter to employees due to absenteeism. Though there are many other causes to write it, absenteeism is the most common one. There are some other common issues mentioned below which can make you write it in case these issues are consistently experienced.

  • Attendance
  • Excessive use of Electronic communication
  • Carelessness
  • Inappropriate dressing
  • Not giving quality or quantity in work
  • Not giving accuracy in work
  • Not being productive at work
  • Breach of company’s policies
  • Misconduct
  • Creating disturbance
  • Insubordination
  • Failure to follow instructions
  • Personal work during work hours
  • Poor performance
  • Tardiness
  • Failure to follow safety procedures
  • Causing damage to company’s property

We have listed some possible reasons, but there are many more. There can be multiple reasons for writing a warning letter to the employee and there can be a single one too. Depending upon the reasons, you should check the box in the employee write up template and also give some explanation regarding it in the comments or notes section. Ensure that you have given verbal warnings to the employee as you can only forward a warning letter to the employee if you have given multiple verbal warnings and are facing serious problems.

How to Write Up an Employee?

In order to deliver a write up form to an employee, there are six important elements that need to be included in the employee disciplinary action form. Let’s explore each one of those sections in detail below.

Section No. 1: Mention the Employee’s Name and Today’s Date

This section is necessary and must be there in the employee write up. You should not forget to put the employee’s name and the date of issuance, on the top of your form. This is an important section as it determines the name of the employee you are writing the form for. Make sure that the name is legible and the date as well. This section will clearly highlight for whom the write up is written and when will they receive it.

Section # 2: Highlight the Purpose of Discipline

A write up form will be incomplete without clarification. Employees may already know the reason as the company will have given several verbal warnings against it, but the writer has to explain it in detail in the comments or notes section. Possibly, employees may have gotten at least two or three verbal warnings before presenting this write up. The core aim of mentioning the purpose of the form is to highlight the seriousness of the employee’s issue and begin the documentation process. A written warning is often the last step taken before firing an employee.

Section # 3: Number of Warnings Employee Has Been Given 

Generally, three warnings are given to the employees in every company. After that, strict actions are taken and a written warning letter is given to the employee prior to termination for issues. This is the last way to correct the employee. After that, employees are fired from the company if they do not consider the issues and shape up accordingly.

Section # 4: Elaborate About the Problem

In this section, you should be crystal clear about the problem. You should mention the employee’s behavior or poor job performance or anything that is wrong with the employee. For this, you should also come up with rationale and proof at times. You should be specific using the quotes, dates, and other necessary details that can prove their bad behavior or performance.

Your employee will able to understand it better if you are more specific and will be able to correct themselves accordingly if they are guilty. For instance, if an employee is disobedient to their boss, writing a simple sentence about their disobedience may not more effective. But writing it with a reason can make it look stronger. In case, they are not guilty over their acts, these specifications will provide more support for you if the employee files a legal action towards you.

Section # 5: Fixing the Problem with a Deadline

Writing down the issue of the employee is not the only motive of an employee write up. You also need to make sure that you provide a date till  when the problem can be solved and till when do you expect the employee to take corrective actions. This also means what the organization expects from them.

For instance, if an employee is found tardy more often and comes late to work despite the verbal warnings, you can specify their time limit and beginning of the shift. Also, you should give them a few days to start showing up on time, and implement the consequences if they do not do so within that duration.

Section # 6: Provide a Date and Signature Section

Employee write ups are not really official contracts, but having them signed by the employee can provide authentication. Keeping a paper trail can be a good option in case you have to fire someone or terminate them later due to not following what they were told to do. Ideally, the letter itself conveys the seriousness and severity of the situation, but it is better to be signed with a date to avoid future issues.

Tips to Document Employee’s Discipline

You need to be very careful when writing up about employees for disciplinary reasons. This is necessary to keep in consideration as it can cause problems in case an employee files a lawsuit against you. To protect yourself and your company, you should ensure to follow the tips below in order to efficiently write up an employee.

Tip # 1: Be Specific

You should make sure that you are specific and use proper justifications and examples to prove their issue. For instance, if you simply say that an employee was late thrice in the past month; it may not create an impact. Instead, you should mention the dates and time, when the employee came late to work. You can also mention the reasons they gave about being late, when asked to be more specific.

Tip # 2: Show Consistency

You should not write up an employee when you have previously ignored that issue for other employees. Ensure consistency about the problems. When you are in doubt, you should always look it up if similar problems that have been documented in the past.

Tip # 3: Support it With Facts

You should also note the procedure or policies the employee has violated and ensure that you document the date, time and year in the letter. General facts may not support it properly.

Tip # 4: Explain the Consequences

As these letters show strictness and severity, you should also elaborate the consequences if the behavior continues. For instance, if you are writing to a tardy employee, you should give them an ultimatum. If they are late to work again, they will be fired from work.

Tip # 5: Response from Employees

The write up should give the opportunity of replying to the employee as well. You should make sure to include a section for employees where they can write their point of view over the problem.

Final Thought

Employee discipline and productivity is of paramount importance to companies. If they are not entertained, employers may write such warning letters to the employees after giving some verbal warnings. In order to save your time and effort, simply download write up forms from our main website and use them.


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