Do Employee Write Ups Work in Business

Do Employee Write Ups Work in Business?


A workplace write-up, also known as an employee write-up, is basically a formal, standardized statement that must be debated with and endorsed by an employee following their violation of essential company regulations. A work evaluation, favorable or unfavorable, will be kept in the personnel file. If the write-up is poor, one may term it a warning letter or written warning. Most employers have guidelines for maximum written warnings you can receive before being fired.

Write Up Reasons

You will rarely create a write up in response to a single occurrence. Rather, if an employee has multiple recurring incidents, they will be given this document. In some instances, you may issue a verbal warning. However, a signed note by the employer and employee is necessary to prove the issuance of the same. Termination is determined by the misconduct and may occur after a single warning or no warning at all.

Some of the common reasons employees receive write ups include:

  • Poor performance
  • Laxity
  • Regularly leaving work before time without authorization
  • Misbehavior
  • Safety protocol violation
  • Sexual harassment
  • Missing deadlines often
  • Chronic absenteeism
  • Dishonoring the organization’s dress code
  • Insubordination
  • Discrimination
  • Physical violence or threats to colleagues
  • Constant lateness
  • Toxic characteristics
  • Requiring more supervision than colleagues
  • Inappropriate use of company resources
  • Alcoholism
  • Substance abuse

The above is not an exhaustive list, and valid reasons may vary from company to company depending on the organization’s values and employee expectations.

What Purpose Does a Write Up Serve?

For the most part, a write up is feedback from you to an employee after behavior and performance analysis. It is meant to enhance the employee’s performance whether the write up is positive or negative. However, employees sometimes receive write ups negatively as they may feel victimized, especially when they do not agree with the issue at hand.

On the other hand, employee write ups provide the documents required to fire an employee. It demonstrates what occurred and the action taken. In case of a legal dispute pertaining to why termination occurred, this document is necessary to establish a claim.

Upon receiving a write up, this is an employee’s chance to make queries and get information, which is particularly crucial if the warning may have been ambiguous. Employees might even ask you to assist them in developing a list of goals for themselves. This will help manage their expectations better and equip them to demonstrate that they are altering and improving their behavior. In some cases, coaching may be necessary to align the employee with your expectations.

How to Ensure the Write Up Will Be Effective

It is crucial for you to take specific steps before issuing write ups to ensure the effectiveness of this document. For starters, never publish a write up when upset as your judgment may be cloudy, causing you to make poor decisions that you may later regret. Be objective, without emotions, for best results. In the event of an unjust termination lawsuit, you must provide whatever evidence you have concerning an employee’s performance. Therefore, it is in your best interests to keep things business-like rather than get personal.

Additionally, use company policies and procedures to back up your reasons. Once you’ve gone through the issues with an employee’s performance, explain your justification and connect their behavior to corporate expectations and guidelines for their specific role. This will also minimize conflict between you and eliminate the employee’s thought process of victimization as there is proof of their lack of adherence to company protocol.

Always have your facts right, with specifics – timing and behavior noted. For instance, if you are issuing a write up for persistent lateness, indicate the days and times the employee has failed to arrive on time. Keeping these records will better guide you in termination decisions and prove against discrimination in case of a lawsuit or other form of contention. While workers may draw their own inferences from a negative performance assessment, a manager’s aim should be to appear objective.

Final Thoughts

Work write-ups indicate that early disciplinary steps were already implemented, meaning you are likely on the verge of terminating an employee. An employer will usually give an employee three cautions before firing them. However, as previously said, you may terminate after only one warning, and sometimes, without any notice at all.