Warning Letter to Employee for Poor Performance

A warning letter is issued by either a human resource manager or supervisor to an employee as a consequence of poor performance or misconduct. It serves to emphasize the seriousness of an issue and to address it before taking any formal disciplinary action against the employee.

Poor performance differs from misconduct. The former deals with the quality of effort and desired outcomes, while the latter addresses unethical behavior which may include violation of contract or the company’s policy.

When an employee fails to meet his/her job description or the defined goals as per the contract, the employee’s performance is reviewed. If regular deficiencies and no substantial outcomes are observed, even after the informal verbal warnings have been given, the management issues a warning letter to the employee subject to the poor performance.

Following factors are considered before issuing a warning letter for poor performance:

  • Was the employee newly hired?
  • Was the employee clearly aware of his/her job description and the outcomes expected from him?
  • Were the evaluation criteria shared with the respective employee?
  • Has the employee received the required training?
  • Was the employee recently promoted?
  • Was he/she performing better at the lower position?
  • Was he/she putting quality effort?
  • Was it the incompetency of the employee to achieve the desired results or careless behavior?

The warning letter for poor performance does not imply the termination of the employee. However, it documents and makes the stance of the management clear that if the warning is not considered on a serious note by the employee, the forthcoming consequences would be fatal or dismissal. It also highlights the impacts of the employee’s performance on the organization’s goal based on evidence provided in the letter through investigation.  In addition, the letter provides an insight into the measures which can help the employee improves his/her performance.

Sample Warning Letter for Poor Performance

Name of Employee and designation

Dear Mr. Employee,

This letter is to serve as an official warning by the management of XYZ for your unsatisfactory performance. It has been observed that you have not been achieving targets outlined in your key performance indicators set forth by you and your supervisor.

The management has reviewed your performance of the last two quarters and no significant improvement has been observed despite the regular feedback and consultation.

You have been serving the organization for two years as a Fundraiser and have made a meaningful contribution. The management wants to draw your attention to a few cases in particular, as shared in the report by your supervisor based on performance review:

  • The monthly membership renewal has dropped 44% in the last two quarters, which shows an average of 120 renewals, in comparison to an average of 215 for earlier quarters.
  • The signing up of new members has been recorded to be 75 members monthly for the last two quarters, in comparison to 130 which indicates a drop of 42%.
  • No premium member has signed up in the last quarter, as compared to an average of 10 for each quarter earlier.

We would like to highlight; the performance of your department depends on you and your team. The department was declared Top Performer last year because it over-achieved the targets set for it.  The department closed its last financial year at a figure of $2.1 million, which is 18% less than what is projected for this year.

Your performance will be strictly reviewed for the next quarter. The management reserves the right to terminate your contract if any improvement is not observed. Therefore, you are advised to improve your performance and meet the management’s expectations to the best of your abilities.

If you need any assistance or want to communicate the reasons for underperformance, kindly reach out to me or my supervisor. We would be more than willing to extend support.


HR Manager Name

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