What is a letter of concern? 

A letter of concern is a type of business letter that a manager or someone from human resources (HR) can use to notify an employee directly or via their supervisor about employee conduct.

It is issued when that employee’s recent performance, behavior, or actions have sparked concerns or deviated from an organization’s policies. 

What is the purpose of a letter of concern?

Writing such a letter has a dual purpose: communicating to a staff member a misstep that requires immediate attention and presenting a pathway toward rectifying it. 

It formally delineates areas of concern regarding an employee’s performance or conduct in the workplace; for example, their inability to meet job duties or behavior misaligned with company policy.

In so doing, a formal letter invites an immediate response from an employee — clarification, if necessary, and steps provided from superiors to fix an issue. 

A letter of concern emerges as an instrument in the professional development toolkit.

It helps HRs, hiring managers, and employees proactively address issues once they arise, and avoid repeating those issues.

What are some common types of concern letters?

These letters can serve as either a formal or informal warning depending on the offense or level of severity with respect to where the employee is failing to meet the organization’s expectations. 

Without terminating an employee’s contract, a letter of concern can help correct several professional missteps. 

Failing to meet performance expectations

The letter is a wake-up call if an employee’s performance benchmarks are not being met.

It signals the need for an immediate response and changes made in order to start hitting the mark.

Breaching the codes of conduct

Some employee’s actions — whether intentional or otherwise — may disrupt workplace harmony or violate the organization’s ethics. 

This is where a letter helps an HR department note behavioral infractions, and what a supervisor can use to take steps toward further disciplinary action if the problem is not resolved or reoccurs.

Ignoring safety protocols

When employees overlook critical safety measures, a letter of concern can emerge as a reminder about the non-negotiable nature of workplace safety and a warning about performance review.

Inability to deliver adequate quality work

When the quality of products or services dips below par, an employee can receive a letter of concern as an alert to take action, adequate to their job title, and bolster their effort and output.

Overstepping agreements

Employees who have strayed from the terms stipulated in their specific company contracts or employment law, in general, can expect a notice to cease such conduct. 

This type of workplace situation requires immediate correction, and the letter of concern will call for action to be taken. 

Mismanaging finances

When an employee responsible for any of the financial operations of a business — or anything to do with company funds — mishandles monetary aspects or commits breaches related to an organization’s policies, they can expect to receive a letter of concern as a reminder of the gravity of such an infraction.

Ethical infractions

If an employee violates the organization’s ethical standards, an HR manager can write and send a letter of concern, or a supervisor can write the letter, present it to the employee as well as file it with human resources to document the infraction. 

The letter will reaffirm the organization’s commitment to its moral principles and that the employee is expected to keep to these principles.

Flouting regulations

In case an employee fails to comply with legal or industry standards in their workplace, the letter can serve as a check to realign with crucial regulations — or risk further disciplinary actions beyond a formal warning.

Ноw can a letter of concern help resolve a case of misconduct?

Let’s see how a letter of concern works to help team supervisors, department managers, and human resources personnel bring an employee back on track.

  • HR managers can write and send a letter of concern to immediately attract an employee’s attention to a particular case of misconduct.
  • A letter of concern typically prompts an employee to quickly make changes to their behavior or performance; failure to do so could result in facing further consequences. 
  • The formal style of written communication, which works for a letter of concern, is clear and unambiguous.
  • Unlike a verbal warning, a letter of concern documents a case of notifying an employee about misconduct.
  • This document might be later used as evidence in case of further actions, such as disciplinary procedures or contract termination.
  • A letter of concern reflects the organization’s professional approach and that it values its employees — the company is giving them a chance to make changes without facing immediate consequences.

A letter of concern can serve as an impetus for the employee’s improvement while helping the organization elevate the work atmosphere and strengthen the company culture.

What is an example of a letter of concern?

A letter of concern, sometimes referred to as a letter of reprimand, is a formal letter.

In order to create, e-sign, and send one, you can use a customizable, free employment template.

The letter usually begins with a formal salutation, and the body of the letter includes a concise concern without omissions or vague statements.

Here’s a go-to example:

Simplify HR communication with PandaDoc

Efficient communication between supervisory and/or HR personnel and company employees is important to resolve workplace concerns smoothly.

PandaDoc helps streamline the communication process by offering simple and customizable templates and a convenient eSignature feature.

By using these templates, team leads and HR managers can quickly draft and send a letter of concern, saving their time and effort.

Sign up for a free PandaDoc trial now and begin transforming your HR communication today!