Counselling Letter for Poor Work Performance

There are certain standards and targets of work performance expected from an employee. The poor work performance may entail a failure to meet targets, unable to meet deadlines, execution of a rude or irresponsible behavior, absenteeism, etc.

If the employee is underperforming or giving a poor performance over a period, a company must take some action. However, companies usually avoid taking serious punitive actions and choose to counsel first to rectify the situation.

Initially, the verbal counseling or counseling sessions are arranged by supervisors but if that does not produce fruitful results, a formal counseling letter for poor work performance is issued. The reasons behind the issuance of this letter could be:

  • The counseling sessions did not improve the employee performance.
  • The employee is not implementing the provided suggestions/ advice or the improvement plans.
  • The underperformance of one employee is affecting the whole company.
  • The documentation of counseling is required due to company policies.

This counseling letter is addressed to the underperforming employee and is written by the manager/supervisor of that employee. Generally, the format of counseling letter for poor work performance includes the following details:

  • Date
  • Details of employee
  • Details of supervisor
  • Reason for counseling
  • Expectations and improvements required from the employee
  • A statement to show confidence in the employee

Through the counseling letter, an employer tries to rectify the situation and improve the performance of the employee. In addition, a supervisor wants to use all available options before taking a serious action against the employee in terms of termination. However, this letter is kept in the employee file and may be considered at the time of employee evaluation.

Sample Counseling Letter for Poor Work Performance



Dear Ms. Emily,

This letter serves as a letter of counseling for your underperformance over the last two years. You joined us in 2015 and showed good performance and even earned a raise. However, after that, you have shown a declining work performance.

In 2016, after the evaluation, your supervisor tried to sort things out informally and offered you help and advice. However, your underperformance continued in 2017 as well. You lagged your target by 40% which is not at all acceptable.

We have provided you with many counseling sessions and tried to inquire your issues. I personally worked with you to make a performance improvement plan. That was designed for you based on your comfortability and needs. However, nothing has given any improved results. Rather, recently, we have even received complaints of verbal abuse against you from your co-workers.

If there is something that is hindering your work performance, or you are being unable to balance your work and life issues, kindly, let us know so we may provide the required help. Your evaluation of 2018 will decide the fate of your employment contract with us.

We consider our employees our assets. You are our asset and we do not want to lose you. We hope to see improved work performance in terms of target achievement as well as your behavior.


Smith John.


Counselling Letter for Poor Work Performance

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