Dinesh Divekar
Business Mentor, Consultant And Trainer
Strategic Business Management Includes Revenue
Manager Hr
Learning & Teaching Fellow (retired)
Training, Motivational Speaker, Writing,
Epc Based In Noida
+1 Other

Dear Friends,

I need a help...

I am given a task to examine writing skills of 2 employees. I asked them to write a memo to 3 drivers of company who did not maintain the company vehicle properly. Becuase of there negligence the vehicle stopped working. So a penalty equal to the maintenance charges will be inflicted to them.

1st employee wrote as follows:

SUBJECT : Penalty for irresponsibly handling of Company Car.

This is with regards to your irresponsible behavior towards handling the company vehicle. The vehicle number 143146 was given under your possession, is out of order and stopped to work. Your negligence is found during the inspection of car and the operations of PMS department are affected in lack of the vehicle due to your negligence.
This is to remind you that each employee is responsible for proper handling of company assets and any requirement of maintenance should be informed to office time to time to avoid inconvenience of stopping work. In your case, none of you informed the office about the condition of vehicle until it stopped working.

A big cost of maintenance could be avoided if you have informed timely therefore as a penalty, the total cost of maintenance will be deducted from the salary of three of you in an equal proportion.

Let this letter be a warning and repetition of same is subject to more severe disciplinary actions including termination of employment.
For your strict compliance.

The 2nd employee wrote as follows:

Subject: Penalty for not maintaining the company vehicle.

You are being issued a written warning and Penalty for not comply with the usage of company vehicle.

Renewal of Registration of the vehicle plate number No. 143146 has been failed due to Technical Evaluation and Legal Requirements as per the inspection report. According to your department this car has been using by you three employees regularly. The report showing that there is no proper maintenace has not been done on time. This is a clear negligence and irresponsible behavior towards your job and maintaining company vehicle.

As per the policy, each employee is personally responsible for any fines incurred as a result of driving or parking violations, as well as, any damage to the company vehicle resulting from the employee's own negligence. Each employee will also be responsible for reporting any problems that the vehicle may have, mechanical or otherwise, that could create unsafe conditions for themselves or another person.

Mr. A, Mr. B and Mr. C, the use of a company vehicle is solely intended for business perposes. There are many complications that can arise if not maintaining the company vehicle properly. As a penalty for your negligence and irresponsible behavior the management has decided to deduct the damage repairing cost for fixing the vehicle for Registration, the amount will be deduct the damage repairing cost for fixing the vehicle for Registration, the amount will be deduct from your monthly salary. This amount of deduction will be communicated to you all once we get the invoice.

Going forward should you violate this policy or any policy or work rule you will be subject to additional disciplinary action up to and including possible Termination.

Which one do you think possesing better writing skills. Please, give your valuable feedback?



25th September 2011 From Saudi Arabia, Riyadh

In my view the second letter is better drafted (but the language and grammar needs to be corrected). The reasons for my positive evaluation of the second letter are as under

There is clarity in the subject line

The letter begins with a crisp narrative of the contents

The first para outlines the problem that sparked the issuance of the letter

The second para draws attention to the responsibilities of the drivers which they were negligent about

The third para specifies the penalty for the behavior.

The last para alerts them to the consequences of repeating the behavior.

However I particularly appreciate the second last para of the first letter, where the write clarifies how this situation could have been avoided and also clearly outlines how the fine would be imposed.

Would suggest that para be incorporated in the second letter.

Trust my feedback would help you make a sound decision.

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25th September 2011 From India, Mumbai
Dear Mr. Rashid,
Kindly do understand that, DRAFTING/COMPOSING SKILLS is an art, it can only be achieved if one has embraced/mastered/practiced it for longer time. Its a part of BUSINESS COMMUNICATION SKILLS most commonly used in corporate world. We can also use PLAIN ENGLISH to convey the right message without confusing the reader only if our vocabulary is weak.
To me, the second letter had conveyed the message but its bit lengthy and has to be fined tune, grammatically.
1) Language need to be more formal.
2) Repetition should be avoided.
3) PUNCTUATION IS MUST else its sounds like a RAP SONG.
4) We should not write the way we communicate in our local language.
5) Usage of appropriate words is must.
6) follow KISS format.
You can ask your staff the fine tune their letters and resubmit the same. You will find differences.
With profound regards
25th September 2011 From India, Chennai
Dear Rashid,
From my point of view both the candidates do not have good business writing skills. From what they have written, it is apparent that they have not taken formal training on "Business Writing Skills".
For me they are the birds of the feather. Grammar of the draft is one thing and structure of what you write is another. The most glaring anomaly in both the drafts is the lack of proper structure.
All that both the candidates could have done was to follow guidelines of writing essay. We have learnt in the school that format of essay should be ICRC i.e. Introduction, Cause, Results and Conclusion. Was adhering to this format was that difficult?
Now the onus of choice of selection is on you.
Dinesh V Divekar

26th September 2011 From India, Bangalore
Dear Rashid,

By the way Rashid, these are my additional comments.

The question comes to my mind is that was this incident true or was it fictitious only to test the business writing skills of the candidates?

If the incident is true then let me apprise you about the supreme court ruling while imposing the fines and penalties on the staffs. Supreme court has ruled several times that fines and penalties should not be disproportionate to the income of employee. Complete recovery of the amount from the driver could be violation of the principles of natural justice.

The second thing is that before taking this decision of imposing the penalty did you issue the show cause of notice? You should have issued the show cause notice and asked for the drivers' explanation. If the reply was not satisfactory, then only you could have initiated action for the recovery.

Third thing is about how did you communicate to the drivers about their responsibility of the maintenance of the vehicle. Is it part of his job description or was in your plain assumption? If it is part of his job description then have you taken signature from the said drivers?

Fourth thing is that who was responsible to check the logbook of vehicle? That drivers did not maintain their vehicle, why this fact escaped from attention of the senior authorities? Here senior authorities are also blameworthy equally.

Anyway let me assume the case to be fictitious. The model warning letter could be as below:


Date: -


Mr ________
Employee No: -
_________ (name and address of your company)

Poor Maintenance of the Vehicle

1. You have been working as _____ (designation) since _____ (date). As a part of your duties, you are responsible to maintain vehicle bearing BA No _______.

2. On ______ (date) the vehicle stopped functioning. When the vehicle was taken to the service workshop, it was revealed that the cause of this failure was poor maintenance of the vehicle.

3. Vehicles are our company's fixed asset. Their proper maintenance is important in view of keeping them in serviceable condition in order to derive benefits till their assigned useful life. Non-maintenance of the vehicles results in reducing the longevity of the vehicles.

4. Non-maintenance of the vehicle assigned to your job has been viewed seriously. You are hereby warned to be careful of your duties and maintain the vehicles properly. Severe disciplinary would be initiated if the lapse of this kind recurs.

5. As of now as a punitive measure it has been decided to impose penalty on you that is equivalent to the service charges of the vehicle. You are hereby directed to pay Rs _____ by _____ (date) to the accounts department and deposit photocopy of the receipt of payment of penalty to the HR department. If you fail to pay this amount, you would forfeit wages equivalent to this amount from your next month's salary.

_________ (name)
_________ (designation)

for ______________ (company name)


Dinesh V Divekar

26th September 2011 From India, Bangalore
Wonderful explanation by Mr. Dinesh Divekar and its informative as well. Everytime i get a chance to learn from him post. Indeed "Experience" has its own price tag. With profound regards
26th September 2011 From India, Chennai
Dear All,
Normally, I do not read such posts as I concentrate on posts seeking help with students projects. However, I am making comments after being invited. Please do not take this as criticisms of your approach.
To me Rashid's post was clear. Rashid please correct me if I am wrong. He had given a hypothetical scenario to test the writing skills of two employees and wanted to know which of the two scripts was better and why. Jacob as his wont has given a good explanation as to why he thinks the second one was a better one. Dinesh Divekar has rightly stated that both the responses are substandard and gone beyond the brief and given a good example of how to write a formal letter of warning.
Have a nice day.
Learning & Teaching Felow (Retd)
The University of Bolton, UK
26th September 2011 From United Kingdom
Dear Sir(Mr. Dinesh),
I want to learn business writing skills,I donot feel myself comfortable in drafting official letters.
Seldom i frame it appropriately,but i don.t make myself prepare to send it for further communication.
KIndly suggest.
Bcoz earlier i had taken this issue lightly whenever my seniors suggested me to improve,but now i find this as a big hurdle in my performance.
28th September 2011 From India, Delhi
Dear Rashid, I hope, you have already received your reply but I like the 2nd letter. They way he described the situation was brilliant. Have a good day
20th February 2013 From Saudi Arabia, Jeddah
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