By Kenneth Beare, About.com Guide
This section focuses on other documents that you will probably need to write at some point. The most common of these is email, which, as you will see, is much less formal than written letters. Each of the three document types is introduced by an example document and is followed by a guide to writing that particular type of document.
Reports: Example Report
Terms of Reference
Margaret Anderson, Director of Personnel has requested this report on employee benefits satisfaction. The report was to be submitted to her by 28 June.
A representative selection of 15% of all employees were interviewed in the period between April 1st and April 15th concerning:
- Overall satisfaction with our current benefits package
- Problems encountered when dealing with the personnel department
- Suggestions for the improvement of communication policies
- Problems encountered when dealing with our HMO
- Employees were generally satisfied with the current benefits package.
- Some problems were encountered when requesting vacation due to what is perceived as long approval waiting periods.
- Older employees repeatedly had problems with HMO prescription drugs procedures.
- Employees between the ages of 22 and 30 report few problems with HMO.
- Most employees complain about the lack of dental insurance in our benefits package.
- The most common suggestion for improvement was for the ability to process benefits requests online.
- Older employees, those over 50, are having serious problems with our HMO's ability to provide prescription drugs.
- Our benefits request system needs to be revised as most complaints concerning in-house processing.
- Improvements need to take place in personnel department response time.
- Information technology improvements should be considered as employees become more technologically savvy.
- Meet with HMO representatives to discuss the serious nature of complaints concerning prescription drug benefits for older employees.
- Give priority to vacation request response time as employees need faster approval in order to be able to plan their vacations.
- Take no special actions for the benefits package of younger employees.
- Discuss the possibility of adding an online benefits requests system to our company Intranet.
Important Points to Remember
- A report is divided into four areas:
- Terms of Reference- This section gives background information on the reason for the report. It usually includes the person requesting the report.
- Procedure- The procedure provides the exact steps taken and methods used for the report.
- Findings- The findings point out discoveries made during the course of the report investigation.
- Conclusions- The conclusions provide logical conclusions based on the findings.
- Recommendations- The recommendations state actions that the writer of the report feels need to be taken based on the findings and conclusions.
- Reports should be concise and factual. Opinions are given in the "conclusions" section. However, these opinions should be based on facts presented in the "findings".
- Use simple tenses (usually the present simple) to express facts.
- Use the imperative form (Discuss the possibility ..., Give priority ..., etc.) in the "recommendations" section as these apply to the company as a whole.