Some workplaces have an open-door policy that allows employees to sound off about their concerns whenever the boss is available. In some businesses, however, the only way to get your voice heard is to craft a letter or email. If you work in the second type of place, take some time to ensure your letter is well-written, grammatically correct and strikes a professional, non-whiny, educated tone.
Will This Go Anywhere?
Before you sit down to craft that letter, ask yourself whether it's going to be worth the trouble, advises career coach Dr. Marie G. McIntyre on her Your Office Coach website. Think about whether your boss is going to be able to do anything about the problem you're facing. If your concerns about the job involve an annoying co-worker, for example, it may not be worth it and you're better off reserving your complaints for something more worthwhile in the future.
Decide What You Want
Now that you've determined there is something your boss can do about your concerns, define that "something" as clearly as possible. This is going to be the crux of your letter. Without a request for action, your letter is going to seem like whining. The solution may be obvious to you, but your boss doesn't live in your shoes and won't necessarily come up with the same solutions as you do. Before you write that letter, practice writing a simple request you'd like to see, or one that is clearly defined. For example, you might say "I am requesting a change to the arrangement of desks." If you have multiple requests, prioritize them in a short bullet-point list, with the most important request first.
State the Problem
Now it's time to start crafting the letter. Address it cordially and then introduce yourself, if need be. In a larger company your boss may need reminding of your position or department. Then make a direct statement about the problem, such as "I am writing to inform you of a situation happening in X department." Following that, state the facts as you have observed them. State these facts without blaming or getting emotional. They'll carry more weight that way.
Why Your Boss Cares
In the second paragraph, state clearly how this problem is affecting productivity, office morale, the company's bottom line or any other factor about which the boss may be concerned. Say you're concerned about the air quality in the office, for example. Your boss may not be the guy who's automatically worried with your personal comfort -- even if he should -- but when you provide him with clear figures that show how the problem is affecting your workplace productivity, he may pay attention.
Wrap It All Up
Use the final paragraph to state the solutions to the problem that you came up with before you started crafting the letter. If your solution involves more effort on your part, it doesn't hurt to grease the wheels a little bit and let him know what your personal investment might be. If there are any other follow-up matters to discuss, let your boss know when you could be available. At the end of the letter, thank your boss for the opportunity to work with the company, and sign it. Leave your phone number and email address at the bottom of the letter, if you're not sure whether your boss has it.
- Keith Brofsky/Photodisc/Getty Images