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Resource Center for Addressing and Resolving Poor Performance

Sample Documents

Sample Memorandum of Counseling

This sample notice is provided as a guide for supervisors but is not to be considered a model or even a suggested version for final use. The names used in this sample are fictional. Actual notices will include more specific information about the performance deficiencies and must include any additional statements or referrals required by agency policy or collective bargaining agreements that may exist. Supervisors should contact their human resources offices for technical assistance and review of actual notices.


The purpose of this memo is to provide a summary of our August 20th meeting. This meeting was held to informally discuss your performance during the implementation of a new local area network (LAN). As I said last Tuesday, there are three areas of concern with your work. My understanding of the issues addressed are as follows: (1) Missed deadlines, (2) customer complaints, and (3) careless mistakes. During our discussion, it was quite evident that the lack of good communication between the two of us has contributed to deficiencies in your performance. Particularly, you noted that although I gave you overall time frames for the LAN implementation, I never explained the importance of specific deadlines and how that would impact the organization. You also said that my style of supervision was more detailed and closer than that of your previous supervisor. Finally, you seemed genuinely surprised by the number of customer complaints I had received about your work and the number of times I had to follow up and fix problems. To help improve your performance, we agreed on the following:

  1. While I may not change my "hands-on" management style, I agreed to give you more flexibility to work independently. In turn, this will allow you to be able to focus more on your job rather than worry about what my intentions are.

  2. I agreed to inform you of all complaints I receive from customers concerning your work. In turn, you agreed to handle these complaints yourself and correct the problems associated with them.

  3. We both agreed to meeting weekly to discuss our progress.

Based on your experience, I believe you can succeed in this job, but it is essential that you work to reduce the number of errors and focus clearly on completing work within the assigned time frames. If you have any comments to add to these notes, please feel free to inform me orally or in writing.

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