Guidelines : Directives
- State the clear, firm directive up front. Don’t bury your directive in implications. Remember even though your intention may be to soften the directive, your reader may not infer what you intend. If necessary, ask the employee to verify compliance.
- Include courtesy words even when you have authority to command. Don’t use “fight” words such as “ignored,” “failed to,” “refused,” and even “must” at times. Such words emphasize a negative and hostile attitude.
- Don’t resort to sarcasm.
- Give reasons for your directives when you can. Giving reasons does not suggest weakness or the need for justification of your decisions. Instead, reasons help the reader to determine whether to approach you again if the situation or circumstances change, thus allowing correction. People cooperate better with a “why,” even when they don’t agree.
- Give all details and guidelines to accomplish the directive. Include names, dates, costs, preparation, procedures, and follow-up expected. Missing details provide an escape hatch for reluctant followers.
- Acknowledge that the reader may not agree with your evaluation of the situation but be firm about your directive nonetheless.
Example 1: Directives
SUBJECT: Air-Conditioning Filter Screens
Since our discussion three weeks ago, nothing has been done to correct the problem about the air-conditioning filter screens. Please install them immediately and confirm to me in writing when they are in place.
Apparently you disagree with my opinion that the cost of the manpower involved in testing for the exact problem is prohibitive. Nevertheless, whether the screens do or do not solve our problem, this ounce of prevention should be our first step.
If you have any problems in the installation process, please let me know so we can work them out immediately.
Example 2: Directives
SUBJECT: Audiometric Examinations
You have been scheduled for an audiometric exam at the Clareton Office on May 5 at 8:00 a.m. Please complete the attached Hearing Conservation Record before reporting for the exam. Answer all questions to the best of your ability and have your employee identification number and social security number ready for the examiner.
The test is required as a “base line” audiogram with which subsequent audiograms will be compared to measure any hearing loss.
For us to have the most accurate test possible, your cooperation is essential. Please observe the following:
1. Avoid workplace noise for at least 14 hours prior to the exam. If this is impossible, use disposable earplugs while working.
2. Avoid exposure to loud noise (loud music, gunfire, motorcycles, auto races, and so forth) during off-duty time for at least 14 hours prior to the exam.
If you have any questions about the exam or your preparation, contact me at extension 5729.
Example 3: Directives
SUBJECT: Employee Parking
Effective July 1, 19–, our new employee parking plan will be enforced. We ask that all employees please do the following:
• Pick up your hang tag at the Personnel department. The number on each tag corresponds with the numbered parking slot. For example, if you are assigned Tag No. 15, your parking place will be in Slot No. 15.
All parking slots will have reflecting numbers painted on the wall above each space. We have attempted to assign everyone as close to their office floors as possible. However, it is impossible to assign everyone one of the “best” slots. Therefore, parking slots were assigned randomly.
Please do not park in spaces marked with blue signs unless you have been assigned a special hang tag. These slots have been assigned to individuals with disabilities.
Example 4: Directives
SUBJECT: Employee Dress Code
This is a reminder to all employees with regard to our dress code policies.
As our firm handles so many client appointments in our office area, it is important that we maintain a professional appearance. Ketchum & Brinks considers the following to be appropriate work attire:
• For men:
Three piece suit or dress pants with tie and jacket. Dress pants with suspenders and tie are also acceptable. No short sleeve dress shirts please.
• For women:
Business/formal dresses, skirt and jacket combinations, dress pants with either shirt and jacket or shirt and cardigan combinations. Appropriate jewelry (i.e. nothing overly large or for shock effect). No mini skirts please.
On Fridays, this dress code is relaxed due to the fact that we schedule no appointments at that time. However, we do ask that you refrain from wearing jeans with holes or rips in them, t-shirts with sayings or graphics on them, and shorts or mini skirts.
Thank you for your compliance with this dress code. Please contact Debbie in Personnel if you have any further questions concerning what is appropriate.
Example 5: Directives
SUBJECT: New Client Claims Form
On August 5, all employees will find a copy of Standard Report Form for Client Claims II in their e-mail accounts. Download this form and delete Standard Report Form for Client Claims I. Please take the time to read through the new form before you begin taking client calls—there are several new questions on the form.
Any claims filed on Standard Report Forms I after August 5 will be rejected by the claims department. It will then be your responsibility to call the client up and resubmit their claim for them using the proper form. Please avoid unnecessary work for yourself as well as inconveniencing your client by checking to make sure you are using the appropriate form!
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