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How to write a warning letter?

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There are times, wherein, some employee’s behavior or performance drops to such an extent that you are required to draft a formal warning letter explaining the set expectations and outlining the consequences.

The Human Resource executive of a company has a lot of tasks on his/ her plate as well as numerous powers at his/ her disposal. One of the major responsibilities is keeping an eye for misconduct and taking the required steps towards correcting the ill- behavior.

Use tact

Conventionally, before handing a warning letter over to the employee, there should be verbal communication prior to the onset of a warning letter. You should communicate in fluent spoken English and in a subtle manner, since it is the first warning. Use of harsh tone does not go down with most employees. Nevertheless, a written letter will imply the seriousness of the problem.


Some guidelines that you can make use of while drafting a warning letter:


1. State the reasons: While writing a professional letter, make sure to include the reasons of unsatisfactory performance or failure, inappropriate conduct, etc. Be sure to use fluent English throughout the conversation to avoid any confusion while stating the point.

Example: “You are being issued this warning letter on the basis of the ill – conduct rendered due to not reporting to work on time. All the employees are expected to be punctual and functioning in their positions within the scheduled time, which you have failed to meet.”

2. Spell out the facts: Provide the addressed employee with recorded facts that clearly spell out the reason behind the warning letter being issued. As far as possible, keep the dates handy to verify the substandard behavior.

Example: “This letter has been issued to you because you have failed to follow the company’s policy on two occasions in the last month on the 3rd and 18th of October. You’ve also had unexcused absences on the 15th and 19th as well.”

Follow guidelines

3. Describe any prior discussions: Mention in the letter any prior verbal notifications of the same that are relevant to the current problem or in similar nature.

Example: “You were also intimated about the issue being faced by our organization on account of your misconduct on the 28th of October.”

4. Future Consequences: The future consequences should be mentioned, if this behavior continues.

Example: “Further instances of the same issues will result in severe disciplinary action being taken against you including a recommendation of termination of your services and employment.

5. Include a line of signature: This line of signature implies that the employee has received the letter and nothing beyond.

While indulging in verbal conversations with the employee, make sure to conduct dialogue in fluent English . If you are not too convinced and confident about your English speaking fluency, you can sign up for ‘professional English courses online’ to polish your otherwise great hold over English language. Doing so adds professionalism and protrudes your enhanced English communication skills to the optimum

Address properly

Handling negative situations like these is an art that needs to be mastered. Make sure to be professional while speaking to employees .


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- By Monika Agarwal

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