Memo # 3: Negative Message
Assignment: You are the President/CEO of ABC Industries, Inc.. Due to your company’s declining performance, you are forced into a merger with your largest competitor, XYZ Industries, Inc. Your competitor has agreed to allow 80% of the workforce to stay, however, performance reviews will be mandated to assess employee value. Draft a memo explaining this scenario to your 150+ employees.
Preparation: Review Chapter 11: Writing Negative Messages (Especially pgs.294-299).
Format: Memo formatting can be found on pages 167-168, 590 in your book.
The format of your memo tells your employees a lot about your sensitivity and professionalism. Since you know that 20% of your workforce will be laid off, it is important that the empathy feels genuine and heartfelt. Pay particular attention to your memo’s margins, line spacing, font type and size, and placement of memo parts such as the addressees, subject line, and body.
Address the memo to all home office employees at your company.
Header: Begin your memo with the four standard memo heads (Date, To, From, Subject).
Body/Discussion: In the first paragraph of the body include your reasons for the decision. Memos do not begin with greetings or salutations. Fully explain why the change is occurring and what the current situation is.
The second paragraph is where you add a positive spin to the situation. This is where you should outline the proposed merger and the process by which employees will be evaluated. Think of other important elements employees may want to know such as timeline, severance packages, etc.
In the third paragraph, be sure to validate any anticipated concerns employees may have about this adjustment. Explain the greater benefit in the long-term this decision provides and conclude your memo by indicating how the reader may contact you if he/she has any questions.