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sample_papers_394/sample_paper_WA4_EveningShades.pdf

November 29, 20XX

Mr. Reginald Carridge
Regional Manager, Region 620
Evening Shades, Inc.
14 Harbortown Court
Pittsfield, MD 21782

Dear Mr. Carridge:

Enclosed is the report “Improving Employee Performance through Training and Clear Memos,”
per your request following my proposal memo of earlier this month.

This report analyzes the in-office correspondence of Store #5820 and seeks to improve the
format. Additionally, training procedures are analyzed and suggestions are made to improve
the training process.

Thank you for your time in reading this report, and I hope the findings prove useful for your
decisions with regard to these matters in the future.

Sincerely,

Jonas Dawson
Assistant Manager, Store #5820

Improving Employee Performance through Training and Clear Memos

Submitted to Reginald Carridge
Regional Manager, Region 620

Evening Shades, Inc.

By

Jonas Dawson
Assistant Manager, Store #4719

November 29, 20XX

ii

TABLE OF CONTENTS

Table of Tables . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Executive Summary . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Introduction
Background . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Purpose . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Overview of Methodology . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Methods
Primary Research . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Secondary Research . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Results
Importance of Consistent Training .. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Survey of Current Employees . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Memo Analysis . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Creating a Memo Template . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Recommendations . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
References . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Appendix A: Training Survey . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Appendix B: Work Template . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

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iii

TABLE OF TABLES

Figure One: Responses to training survey. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 4
Figure Two: Example memo . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 5

iv

EXECUTIVE SUMMARY

Recently at the Pittsfield Mall Outlets location of Evening Shades, the management has become
increasingly frustrated at its inability to motivate associates to perform the duties assigned to
them. After cycling through numerous associates, it is clear that some problem must exist that
is preventing new hires from understanding their duties enough to accomplish them.

A survey for our associates was designed and administered to determine what the causes of the
confusion could be. The results of this survey confirmed that a lack of consistent training was
one contributing cause. Currently, corporate permits twenty-four hours of training. However,
this region permits only nine of those twenty four hours because of payroll constraints.

Additionally, associates appeared frustrated and confused about tasks assigned to them. One
reason was found to be the lack of a common template available for managers to use when
assigning store tasks. As a result, managers are left to their own devices to compose documents
for assigning tasks and monitoring employee completion. The great variation in the documents
used by managers was found to cause confusion among employees. To rectify these issues, two
solutions are recommended:

 First, a consistent training regimen totaling the corporate-allotted twenty-four hours
should be implemented.

 Second, standard templates for in-store memoranda should implemented to improve
associate performance and reduce employee turnover.

1

Introduction

Background

Within the past year, Store #5810 of Region 620 of Evening Shades has hired and lost one
associate every three months. The allotted staffing for the store is only four associates, so the
processing of one associate every three months is significant in terms of lost sales and resources
spent on recruiting, onboarding and training. Additionally, because of the low number of
associates, losing one can cause large schedule gaps, often resulting in unplanned store closings
because of a lack of employee coverage. The lack of trained employees can also result in
unplanned overtime on the part of our management, which not only costs the company additional
payroll but is a considerable inconvenience to our full-time staff.

Additionally, new and under-trained employees often do not complete their assigned tasks
adequately or at all. Because we often work in a single coverage environment, when associates do
not complete their tasks, the next associate must complete the missed tasks on top of their own.
Depending on the tasks that need to be made up, this can be very frustrating for the next
associate or may even be beyond their abilities, leaving more responsibility for the manager.

Purpose

The purpose of this study was to determine the causes employee turnover. Analysis of associate
training and of communications between the management and associates led to the identification
of ways to improve training and communication, thus possbily improving associate performance,
reducing employee turnover, and increasing store profits.

Overview of Methodology
The following methods were used to analyze manager-to-associate communication.

 Conducted secondary research to determine the role and importance of standardized store
training in similar companies

 Surveyed current associates regarding their initial training and their knowledge of store
operations

 Collected and analyzed sample memorandums from managers

 Analyzed primary research data to determine ways to improve training of associates and
communication from managers

2

Methods

Primary Research

Primary research was performed at the Pittsfield Mall Outlets location of Region 620. Four of the
current associates were administered a uniform survey with 10 questions pertaining to training
and store operations. The results of these surveys were used to determine the uniformity of
training at this particular Evening Shades location.

Additional primary research was collected in the form of internal correspondence at Evening
Shades. This correspondence was analyzed to determine possible causes of miscommunication
and provide a springboard for a duty assignment template.

Secondary Research
Secondary research was collected from a variety of peer-reviewed and open source articles to
gauge the importance of uniform in-store training. Also, online publications as well as a
management communications textbook were used to analyze the current memo style and suggest
a template for the new style.

3

Results

Importance of Consistent Training

According to Owens (2006), training has always been a source of wide contention in business:
“Training . . . is laden with issues regarding its contribution to organizational value and employee
effectiveness” (p. 163). The less training provided translates directly to a lesser amount spent on
training payroll, meaning lower upfront costs. However, future costs of undertrained employees
can far outweigh the initial gains.

Owens (2006) sought to find what benefits training can have for employees in an organization
beside the tangible learning benefits. Owens discovered that “employees who receive training will
report higher levels of job satisfaction than those employees who do not receive training (p. 164).
Employees who are satisfied with their jobs are more likely to perform better than dissatisfied
employees. In tandem with job satisfaction, “Past research has alluded to the possibility that
training may affect quit rates” (Owens, p. 164). Employee turnover can become a significant cost
to the company, as not only must resources be devoted to finding an adequate replacement, but
additional resources must be applied to train the new hire and sales are potentially lost due to
inexperience. According to Sullivan (2007), “Studies indicate that the cumulative cost of losing a
current employee and then hiring and training a new team member to replace them is
approximately $6000 per employee” (p. 56).

In addition to perceivable costs, additional pressure is put on other employees and management
when turnover occurs (Cação, 2007, p. 24). If employees are not given enough training, managers’
ability to handle their own position in addition to the shortcomings of the staff can become
insurmountable: “Results cannot usually be achieved by any single manager just ‘doing it all
themselves’. Everyone needs to be good at his or her own job and preferably with a high degree of
self-sufficiency too” (Forsyth, 2006, p, 34).

Because at Evening Shades we often work single coverage in our locations, training becomes even
more important because we cannot always predict when we will need more coverage to meet
demand. Under-trained employees will not be ready for surprises like this. However, trained
employees will be “better prepared when [a surprise] comes, even if [they] don’t know exactly
what it will be” (Bayless, 2007, p. 214). Employees that work alone often feel insecure, as they are
in effect the manager on duty. This great responsibility can detrimentally affect sales if the
employee is not confident in his or her abilities. However, as Sullivan (2007) found, “. . . training
builds confidence. Confidence builds sales” (p. 18).

Survey of Current Employees
To illustrate the importance of uniform training, I composed a short test that was completed by
four associates in store #5820. The questions tested for product knowledge as well as store
operations. A copy of this survey is included at the end of this document in Appendix A. The figure
below shows each question and whether the answer was correct or incorrect for each associate.

4

Figure One: Responses to training survey

The results of this survey illustrate how varied knowledge of products and store operations can be.
These discrepancies also suggest lapses in training and how these lapses occur in different areas
for different associates. Based on this survey, nine hours does not seem enough to adequately
train an associate in the necessary details of store operations.

Memo Analysis

Frequently, tasks assigned to associates are not completed or are completed inadequately. As
stated earlier, these failures can become frustrating to the person running the next shift, who
must now complete the missed duties before completing his/her own. Figure 2 provides an
example note left by a manager to one of the associates. It illustrates how problematic written
communication can become.

Figure Two: Example manager note

5

Reviewing this note, numerous potential problems can be identified. Bell and Smith (1999)
address some common problems which this note seems to exemplify:

1. Not addressed to anybody for any particular time.
It is of no surprise that an Evening Shades associate may overlook this note. Not
only is the note not specified to a particular recipient; there is no indication of
when this note was written. Most people would assume this note was for someone
else and quickly forget they even it.

2. The Telegram Writer.
Note the incomplete nature of the bottom part of the note. Readers are left to
wonder what “it” is and what exactly should be processed.

3. The Scrawler.
Vacuum is misspelled. Thus, the credibility of the document is diminished, and
associates may be more inclined to skip the note and question whether the
manager really cared if the tasks needed to be accomplished in the first place.

Bell and Smith also suggest four questions to identify the completeness of a message:

1. What can be misinterpreted?
Unfortunately, virtually every part of this memo can be misinterpreted. Within the
store, there are multiple rooms that can be mopped, as well as multiple sets of
carpets. Additionally, there often can be multiple boxes waiting to be verified, and
there is no identification of a specific box within this memo.

2. What options does the message allow me?
The note forces the reader to choose which shipment is meant, thus opening up the
possibility of an incorrect shipment.

3. What response does the message seem to ask for?
This memo is simply a list of tasks. The writer makes a dramatic assumption that
the reader intuitively knows exactly what the writer is thinking, which is always
problematic in the work environment.

4. Does the message ask for that response in a specific way?
The memo does not ask for anything, although it should be asking the associate to
perform certain duties and to verify their completion.

By most standards, this memo fails communicate adequately to support business operations at
this Evening Shades location.

6

Creating a Memo Template

Since the current duty assignment memo is clearly unsatisfactory, a template must be created to
fix the problem. According to Nancy Mercurio (2005), “More information is always better [and]
when the purpose is clearly communicated in written documentation, the expectation is clear and
the employees will be more attentive” (p. 12). Using the suggestions from the InfoMap website, a
template (Appendix B) has been created for future memos intended to assign duties to associates.

Compared to the previous memo, the new memo format is much clearer in its intentions. The
name and the date appear prominently at the top, reducing confusion of who is supposed to
accomplish which task and when. The task headings are highlighted, guiding the reader’s eye to
the tasks. If the reader requires clarification on a particular task, there is a description area directly
beneath. Guiding the reader’s eye in this manner is the key to effective information mapping. As
readers in a fast-paced business, we are inclined to skim a document and tend to only retain
information that is highlighted or bolded. The above document adheres to these precepts, as
suggested by the principles of info mapping (InfoMapping, 2007).

Using the questions which Bell and Smith present, one can see the distinct difference between the
original memo and the new template:

1. What can be misinterpreted?
The memo is clearly written to a particular person for a particular date, and
descriptions of each task are provided. Thus, the possibility of misinterpretation is
greatly reduced.

2. What options does the message allow me?
Options have been reduced to carrying out the task assigned and described.

3. What response does the message seem to ask for?
This memo is asking for certain tasks to be completed, and it does so in a succinct
and clear manner.

4. Does the message ask for that response in a specific way?
The memo itemizes each task clearly with a description beneath and a checkbox to
be used.

7

Recommendations
From the research performed, it is apparent that the store should strongly consider using the total
twenty-four hours of allotted training payroll instead of nine. The additional training will likely
bolster associate confidence, leading to better sales as well as increasing job satisfaction and
reducing turnover. As the research predicts, the cost of the additional fifteen hours will be
outweighed by benefits to the store’s overall business and profit margin.

With respect to associates not performing their duties, it is clear that a revised assignment memo
is a necessary first step toward resolving this issue. Previous manager memos were ambiguous
and contained little explanation as to who the note was for or when the assignments were
supposed to be completed. The new memo template provides space for each of these important
elements, as well as space for the major tasks and descriptions if the reader requires them.

Training payroll should immediately be increased to a total of twenty-four hours region wide.
Because this amount is allotted by corporate, no special permission will be required from the
Regional Vice President. Also, the template for the assignment memo should be distributed via
email to all Evening Shades locations in Region 620.

8

References

Bayless, M. (2007). Five steps to running a successful shift. Gourmet Retailer, 28(8), 214-215.

Retrieved from http://www.gourmetretailer.com

Bell, A. H. & Smith, D. M. (1999) Management communication (2nd ed.). New York: Wiley.

Cação, R. (2007). Maturity in large scale corporate learning. International Journal of Advanced

Corporate Learning. 7(3), 24-28. doi: 10.3991/ijac.v7i3.4005.

Forsyth, P. (2006). All wings and no feet. Engineering Management, 16(2), 34-35. doi:

11.1835/0265.43.4.500

Information mapping (2007). Retrieved November 9, 2007 from http://www.infomap.com/.

Mercurio, N. (2005). Managing employee expectations: The simple truth. Canadian Manager,

30(2), 12-13. Retrieved from http://cim.ca

Owens Jr., P. (2006). One more reason not to cut your training budget: The relationship between

training and organizational outcomes. Public Personnel Management. 35(2), 163-172. doi:

10. 2772639.ppm

Sullivan, J. (2007). “Penny-wise” strategies for hiring, training and retaining staff lead to same-

store sales gains. Nation’s Restaurant News, 41(36), 18-56. Retrieved from http://nrn.com

9

Appendix A: Training Survey

1) Is Bolle a Luxottica brand?

a. Yes

b. No

2) What is CR39?

a. An alloy in Oakley frames

b. A type of lens similar to polycarbonate

c. Scratch-resistant compound

3) How long do customers have to EXCHANGE glasses?

a. 30 days

b. One Year

c. Indefinitely

4) How long is the in-store warranty for watches?

a. 30 days

b. One Year

c. No in-store warranty

5) Which of these Oakley sunglasses do NOT have interchangeable lenses?

a. Radar Pitch

b. Half Jacket

c. Flak Jacket

d. Straight Jacket

6) Which of these brands are NOT eligible for the $20 discount coupon?

a. Maui Jim

b. Revo

c. Rayban

d. Arnette

7) How many times can a customer use the Evening Shades Replacement Discount?

a. Once

b. Unlimited times within the replacement period

c. As many times as they wish

8) Which of these is NOT a feature of Maui Jim sunglasses?

a. Polarized

b. Photochromatic

c. 100% UV Protectant

d. Bi-Gradient Tinting

9) Which of these is NOT a feature of titanium frames?

a. Flexible and have a memory

b. Hypo-allergenic

c. Lightweight

d. Malleable

10) Which of the following brands receive a full year warranty directly through us?

a. Bolle

b. Rayban

c. Chanel

d. Serengeti

10

ASSIGNMENTS FOR _________________ ON __________________
NAME DATE

 TASK ONE __________________________

Description: _____________________________________________________________________________

___________________________________________________________
___________________________________________________________

 TASK TWO __________________________

Description: _____________________________________________________________________________

___________________________________________________________
___________________________________________________________

 TASK THREE __________________________

Description: _____________________________________________________________________________

___________________________________________________________
___________________________________________________________

 TASK FOUR __________________________

Description: _____________________________________________________________________________

___________________________________________________________
___________________________________________________________

ASSIGNED BY _________________ ON __________________
NAME DATE

Appendix B: Work Template

Table of Contents.html

 
WRTG 394 7367 Advanced Business Writing (2218) – Week 6 — Sample Papers to Read and Videos on Sample Papers to Watch

1. Read: Sample Report for Writing Assignment #4—Evening Shades (APA 6th Edition)


Assignment: Research-Based Report

This assignment will be submitted to Turnitin®.

Instructions

You will begin a 2000-3000 word, research-based business report to a decision-maker. The report will identify a problem in an organization or community and propose a solution to that problem.

Length

2000-3000 words

1600-1999 words

1300-1599 words

1000-1299 words

fewer than 1000 words

Criterion Score

The essay meets the word count requirement given in the instructions

10 points

6 points

4 points

2 points

0 points

Score of The essay meets the word count requirement given in the instructions,/ 10

This table lists criteria and criteria group names in the first column. The first row lists level names and includes scores if the rubric uses a numeric scoring method. You can give feedback on each criterion by tabbing to the add feedback buttons in the table.

Executive Summary

Excellent

Good

Fair

Does not meet expectations

Does not pass

Criterion Score

is thorough — a busy executive understands the problem and the recommended solution from the executive summary

4 points

3.5 points

3 points

2.5 points

1 point

Score of is thorough — a busy executive understands the problem and the recommended solution from the executive summary,/ 4

is organized and uses headings to help the reader navigate the executive summary

4 points

3.5 points

3 points

2.5 points

1 point

Score of is organized and uses headings to help the reader navigate the executive summary,/ 4

This table lists criteria and criteria group names in the first column. The first row lists level names and includes scores if the rubric uses a numeric scoring method. You can give feedback on each criterion by tabbing to the add feedback buttons in the table.

Transmittal Letter or Memo to Decision-Maker

Excellent

Good

Fair

Does not meet expectations

Does not pass

Criterion Score

is written to a specific decision-maker or group or decision-makers

2 points

1.5 points

1 point

0.5 points

0 points

Score of is written to a specific decision-maker or group or decision-makers,/ 2

shows the specific problem and the specific solution

2 points

1.5 points

1 point

0.5 points

0 points

Score of shows the specific problem and the specific solution,/ 2

This table lists criteria and criteria group names in the first column. The first row lists level names and includes scores if the rubric uses a numeric scoring method. You can give feedback on each criterion by tabbing to the add feedback buttons in the table.

Table of Contents

Excellent

Good

Fair

Does not meet expectations

Does not pass

Criterion Score

is formatted correctly with sections and page numbers

1 point

0.8 points

0.6 points

0.4 points

0 points

Score of is formatted correctly with sections and page numbers,/ 1

provides a clear orientation to the report by indicating the sections and sub-sections

2 points

1.5 points

1 point

0.5 points

0 points

Score of provides a clear orientation to the report by indicating the sections and sub-sections,/ 2

This table lists criteria and criteria group names in the first column. The first row lists level names and includes scores if the rubric uses a numeric scoring method. You can give feedback on each criterion by tabbing to the add feedback buttons in the table.

Introduction

Excellent

Good

Fair

Does not meet expectations

Does not pass

Criterion Score

describes the problem being reported on

3 points

2.4 points

2.1 points

1.8 points

1 point

Score of describes the problem being reported on,/ 3

gives the recommended solution to the problem that is identified

3 points

2.4 points

2.1 points

1.8 points

1 point

Score of gives the recommended solution to the problem that is identified,/ 3

This table lists criteria and criteria group names in the first column. The first row lists level names and includes scores if the rubric uses a numeric scoring method. You can give feedback on each criterion by tabbing to the add feedback buttons in the table.

Body of the Report

Excellent

Good

Fair

Does not meet expectations

Does not pass

Criterion Score

Develops the problem that exists within the organization, including incorporating secondary research to provide evidence for the problem

15 points

12 points

9 points

5 points

1 point

Score of Develops the problem that exists within the organization, including incorporating secondary research to provide evidence for the problem,/ 15

Develops the recommended solution to the problem for the organization, including incorporating secondary research to show why it will solve the problem

14 points

11.2 points

9.8 points

8.4 points

1 point

Score of Develops the recommended solution to the problem for the organization, including incorporating secondary research to show why it will solve the problem,/ 14

Uses effective headings and subheadings

3 points

2.5 points

2 points

1.5 points

1 point

Score of Uses effective headings and subheadings,/ 3

Integrates paragraphs that have a logical flow

5 points

4 points

3 points

2 points

1 point

Score of Integrates paragraphs that have a logical flow,/ 5

This table lists criteria and criteria group names in the first column. The first row lists level names and includes scores if the rubric uses a numeric scoring method. You can give feedback on each criterion by tabbing to the add feedback buttons in the table.

Use of Sources

Excellent

Good

Fair

Does not meet expectations

Does not pass

Criterion Score

sources listed in APA format

5 points

4 points

3 points

2 points

1 point

Score of sources listed in APA format,/ 5

sources cited in the paper in APA format

3 points

2.5 points

2 points

1.5 points

1 point

Score of sources cited in the paper in APA format,/ 3

sources are scholarly or appropriate for the report’s message

4 points

3.5 points

3 points

2.5 points

1 point

Score of sources are scholarly or appropriate for the report’s message,/ 4

This table lists criteria and criteria group names in the first column. The first row lists level names and includes scores if the rubric uses a numeric scoring method. You can give feedback on each criterion by tabbing to the add feedback buttons in the table.

Grammar and Mechanics

Excellent

Good

Fair

Does not meet expectations

Does not pass

Criterion Score

the report demonstrates accurate grammar and punctuation

20 points

16 points

14 points

12 points

0 points

Score of the report demonstrates accurate grammar and punctuation,/ 20

Rubric Total Score

Total

Score of WA4_Final_RBR,/ 100Criterion score has been overridden

Overall Score

Overall Score

Excellent

90 points minimum

Good

80 points minimum

Fair

70 points minimum

Needs Improvement

60 points minimum

Does not pass

0 points minimum

1

1

1

Writing Assignment #4

Research-Based Report to a Decision-maker

Summary of assignment

· Task: You write a report that does the following:

· defines a problem persuasively and accurately

· proposes a solution or solutions to the problem or issue

· presents that solution to a decision-maker or group of decision-makers who can implement the recommendation

· Topic: You will choose the same topic on which you wrote the memo for writing assignment #3.

· Length: 2000-3000 words

· Format: Your sources will be cited and listed in APA format.

· Writing Process: You will submit a first draft of the report to the assignment folder. The first draft will be given comments by the instructor. After receiving comments from the instructor, you will submit a revised draft. The final draft will be graded.

If you do not submit a second draft, the first draft will be graded.

· Components of the report:

· title page

· letter to the decision maker (this can be a business letter OR a memo)

· executive summary

· table of contents

· introduction

· body of the report to include headings and subheadings

· conclusion stated as a recommendation for implementation of the solution

·
References page, with references listed in APA 7th Edition format

· Any appendix (or appendices if there are multiples)

Secondary Sources

ONLY SECONDARY SOURCES are to be used for the WRTG 394 research report.

The complete report should also
cite at least NINE secondary sources. At least FIVE of these secondary sources should come from peer-reviewed, scholarly journals

.

As noted above, your secondary sources will be integrated into the paper to explain the problem, to provide evidence of the problem, and to support the solution.


You might have taken WRTG 393 at UMGC. In WRTG 393, the final paper is a white paper. This assignment is different from the white paper in WRTG 393. In this paper for WRTG 394, you are writing to a specific decision-maker about a specific problem in your workplace or community. The audience is much more focused than that for the white paper in WRTG 393.

Graphics (Photos, Charts, Graphs, or other Visuals)

Your report might benefit from graphics. As mentioned above, pictures of your workplace or community situation might help illustrate the problem you are trying to address. Graphs, tables, or charts might help show trends that will persuade your decision-maker that the problem exists.

Please do not incorporate a graphic for the sake of incorporating a graphic. Include a graphic only if it helps communicate a message in your report.

Due Date

Your instructor will notify you of the due date. You will write a first draft, your instructor will comment on the first draft, and you will submit a second draft using the comments as your guide.

Guides to Help You in Writing this Assignment:

· Victoria University of Wellington

· Colorado State University

Topic Selection:

For this report, you will write on the same topic on which you wrote the memo for writing assignment #3. In addition, it should be related to the topic on which you wrote writing assignment #2. The secondary research you conducted for writing assignment #2 should be usable in some form for this report.


You must contact your instructor for approval before changing your topic from writing assignment #3. In addition, if you do so, you must re-submit a memo for writing assignment #3.

Submitting the assignment:

You will submit a first draft of the essay to the assignment folder. The first draft will not be graded. The instructor will provide comments on it.

After receiving comments from the instructor, you will submit a revised draft. The final draft will be graded.

1

Writing

Assignment

#4

Research

Based

Report

to

a

Decision

maker

Summary

of

assignment

Task:

You write a report that does the following:

o

defines a problem persuasively and accurately

o

proposes a solution or solutions to the problem or issue

o

presents that solution to a decision

maker or group of decision

makers who

can implement the recommendation

Topic:

You will choose the same topic on which you wrote the memo for writing

assignmen

t #3.

Length:

2000

3000 words

Format:

Your sources will be cited and listed in APA format.

Writing Process:

You will submit a first draft of the report to the assignment folder. The

first draft will be given comments by the instructor. After receiving comments from the

instructor, you will submit a revised draft. The final draft will be graded.

If you do

not submit a second draft, the first draft will be graded.

Components of the report:

o

title page

o

letter to the decision maker (this

can

be a

business letter

OR

a memo

)

o

executive summary

o

table of contents

o

introduction

o

body of the report to

include headings and subheadings

o

conclusion stated as a recommendation for implementation of the

solution

o

References

page, with references listed in

APA

7

th

Edition

format

o

Any appendix (or appendices if there are multiples)

1

Writing Assignment #4

Research-Based Report to

a Decision-maker

Summary of assignment

• Task: You write a report that does the following:

o defines a problem persuasively and accurately

o proposes a solution or solutions to the problem or issue

o presents that solution to a decision-maker or group of decision-makers who

can implement the recommendation

• Topic: You will choose the same topic on which you wrote the memo for writing

assignment #3.

• Length: 2000-3000 words

• Format: Your sources will be cited and listed in APA format.

• Writing Process: You will submit a first draft of the report to the assignment folder. The

first draft will be given comments by the instructor. After receiving comments from the

instructor, you will submit a revised draft. The final draft will be graded.

If you do not submit a second draft, the first draft will be graded.

• Components of the report:

o title page

o letter to the decision maker (this can be a business letter OR a memo)

o executive summary

o table of contents

o introduction

o body of the report to include headings and subheadings

o conclusion stated as a recommendation for implementation of the solution

o References page, with references listed in APA 7

th

Edition format

o Any appendix (or appendices if there are multiples)

sample_papers_394/sample_paper_WA4_EveningShades.pdf

November 29, 20XX

Mr. Reginald Carridge
Regional Manager, Region 620
Evening Shades, Inc.
14 Harbortown Court
Pittsfield, MD 21782

Dear Mr. Carridge:

Enclosed is the report “Improving Employee Performance through Training and Clear Memos,”
per your request following my proposal memo of earlier this month.

This report analyzes the in-office correspondence of Store #5820 and seeks to improve the
format. Additionally, training procedures are analyzed and suggestions are made to improve
the training process.

Thank you for your time in reading this report, and I hope the findings prove useful for your
decisions with regard to these matters in the future.

Sincerely,

Jonas Dawson
Assistant Manager, Store #5820

Improving Employee Performance through Training and Clear Memos

Submitted to Reginald Carridge
Regional Manager, Region 620

Evening Shades, Inc.

By

Jonas Dawson
Assistant Manager, Store #4719

November 29, 20XX

ii

TABLE OF CONTENTS

Table of Tables . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Executive Summary . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Introduction
Background . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Purpose . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Overview of Methodology . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Methods
Primary Research . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Secondary Research . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Results
Importance of Consistent Training .. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Survey of Current Employees . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Memo Analysis . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Creating a Memo Template . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Recommendations . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
References . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Appendix A: Training Survey . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Appendix B: Work Template . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

iii
iv

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1

2
2

3
3
4
6
7
8
9
10

iii

TABLE OF TABLES

Figure One: Responses to training survey. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 4
Figure Two: Example memo . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 5

iv

EXECUTIVE SUMMARY

Recently at the Pittsfield Mall Outlets location of Evening Shades, the management has become
increasingly frustrated at its inability to motivate associates to perform the duties assigned to
them. After cycling through numerous associates, it is clear that some problem must exist that
is preventing new hires from understanding their duties enough to accomplish them.

A survey for our associates was designed and administered to determine what the causes of the
confusion could be. The results of this survey confirmed that a lack of consistent training was
one contributing cause. Currently, corporate permits twenty-four hours of training. However,
this region permits only nine of those twenty four hours because of payroll constraints.

Additionally, associates appeared frustrated and confused about tasks assigned to them. One
reason was found to be the lack of a common template available for managers to use when
assigning store tasks. As a result, managers are left to their own devices to compose documents
for assigning tasks and monitoring employee completion. The great variation in the documents
used by managers was found to cause confusion among employees. To rectify these issues, two
solutions are recommended:

 First, a consistent training regimen totaling the corporate-allotted twenty-four hours
should be implemented.

 Second, standard templates for in-store memoranda should implemented to improve
associate performance and reduce employee turnover.

1

Introduction

Background

Within the past year, Store #5810 of Region 620 of Evening Shades has hired and lost one
associate every three months. The allotted staffing for the store is only four associates, so the
processing of one associate every three months is significant in terms of lost sales and resources
spent on recruiting, onboarding and training. Additionally, because of the low number of
associates, losing one can cause large schedule gaps, often resulting in unplanned store closings
because of a lack of employee coverage. The lack of trained employees can also result in
unplanned overtime on the part of our management, which not only costs the company additional
payroll but is a considerable inconvenience to our full-time staff.

Additionally, new and under-trained employees often do not complete their assigned tasks
adequately or at all. Because we often work in a single coverage environment, when associates do
not complete their tasks, the next associate must complete the missed tasks on top of their own.
Depending on the tasks that need to be made up, this can be very frustrating for the next
associate or may even be beyond their abilities, leaving more responsibility for the manager.

Purpose

The purpose of this study was to determine the causes employee turnover. Analysis of associate
training and of communications between the management and associates led to the identification
of ways to improve training and communication, thus possbily improving associate performance,
reducing employee turnover, and increasing store profits.

Overview of Methodology
The following methods were used to analyze manager-to-associate communication.

 Conducted secondary research to determine the role and importance of standardized store
training in similar companies

 Surveyed current associates regarding their initial training and their knowledge of store
operations

 Collected and analyzed sample memorandums from managers

 Analyzed primary research data to determine ways to improve training of associates and
communication from managers

2

Methods

Primary Research

Primary research was performed at the Pittsfield Mall Outlets location of Region 620. Four of the
current associates were administered a uniform survey with 10 questions pertaining to training
and store operations. The results of these surveys were used to determine the uniformity of
training at this particular Evening Shades location.

Additional primary research was collected in the form of internal correspondence at Evening
Shades. This correspondence was analyzed to determine possible causes of miscommunication
and provide a springboard for a duty assignment template.

Secondary Research
Secondary research was collected from a variety of peer-reviewed and open source articles to
gauge the importance of uniform in-store training. Also, online publications as well as a
management communications textbook were used to analyze the current memo style and suggest
a template for the new style.

3

Results

Importance of Consistent Training

According to Owens (2006), training has always been a source of wide contention in business:
“Training . . . is laden with issues regarding its contribution to organizational value and employee
effectiveness” (p. 163). The less training provided translates directly to a lesser amount spent on
training payroll, meaning lower upfront costs. However, future costs of undertrained employees
can far outweigh the initial gains.

Owens (2006) sought to find what benefits training can have for employees in an organization
beside the tangible learning benefits. Owens discovered that “employees who receive training will
report higher levels of job satisfaction than those employees who do not receive training (p. 164).
Employees who are satisfied with their jobs are more likely to perform better than dissatisfied
employees. In tandem with job satisfaction, “Past research has alluded to the possibility that
training may affect quit rates” (Owens, p. 164). Employee turnover can become a significant cost
to the company, as not only must resources be devoted to finding an adequate replacement, but
additional resources must be applied to train the new hire and sales are potentially lost due to
inexperience. According to Sullivan (2007), “Studies indicate that the cumulative cost of losing a
current employee and then hiring and training a new team member to replace them is
approximately $6000 per employee” (p. 56).

In addition to perceivable costs, additional pressure is put on other employees and management
when turnover occurs (Cação, 2007, p. 24). If employees are not given enough training, managers’
ability to handle their own position in addition to the shortcomings of the staff can become
insurmountable: “Results cannot usually be achieved by any single manager just ‘doing it all
themselves’. Everyone needs to be good at his or her own job and preferably with a high degree of
self-sufficiency too” (Forsyth, 2006, p, 34).

Because at Evening Shades we often work single coverage in our locations, training becomes even
more important because we cannot always predict when we will need more coverage to meet
demand. Under-trained employees will not be ready for surprises like this. However, trained
employees will be “better prepared when [a surprise] comes, even if [they] don’t know exactly
what it will be” (Bayless, 2007, p. 214). Employees that work alone often feel insecure, as they are
in effect the manager on duty. This great responsibility can detrimentally affect sales if the
employee is not confident in his or her abilities. However, as Sullivan (2007) found, “. . . training
builds confidence. Confidence builds sales” (p. 18).

Survey of Current Employees
To illustrate the importance of uniform training, I composed a short test that was completed by
four associates in store #5820. The questions tested for product knowledge as well as store
operations. A copy of this survey is included at the end of this document in Appendix A. The figure
below shows each question and whether the answer was correct or incorrect for each associate.

4

Figure One: Responses to training survey

The results of this survey illustrate how varied knowledge of products and store operations can be.
These discrepancies also suggest lapses in training and how these lapses occur in different areas
for different associates. Based on this survey, nine hours does not seem enough to adequately
train an associate in the necessary details of store operations.

Memo Analysis

Frequently, tasks assigned to associates are not completed or are completed inadequately. As
stated earlier, these failures can become frustrating to the person running the next shift, who
must now complete the missed duties before completing his/her own. Figure 2 provides an
example note left by a manager to one of the associates. It illustrates how problematic written
communication can become.

Figure Two: Example manager note

5

Reviewing this note, numerous potential problems can be identified. Bell and Smith (1999)
address some common problems which this note seems to exemplify:

1. Not addressed to anybody for any particular time.
It is of no surprise that an Evening Shades associate may overlook this note. Not
only is the note not specified to a particular recipient; there is no indication of
when this note was written. Most people would assume this note was for someone
else and quickly forget they even it.

2. The Telegram Writer.
Note the incomplete nature of the bottom part of the note. Readers are left to
wonder what “it” is and what exactly should be processed.

3. The Scrawler.
Vacuum is misspelled. Thus, the credibility of the document is diminished, and
associates may be more inclined to skip the note and question whether the
manager really cared if the tasks needed to be accomplished in the first place.

Bell and Smith also suggest four questions to identify the completeness of a message:

1. What can be misinterpreted?
Unfortunately, virtually every part of this memo can be misinterpreted. Within the
store, there are multiple rooms that can be mopped, as well as multiple sets of
carpets. Additionally, there often can be multiple boxes waiting to be verified, and
there is no identification of a specific box within this memo.

2. What options does the message allow me?
The note forces the reader to choose which shipment is meant, thus opening up the
possibility of an incorrect shipment.

3. What response does the message seem to ask for?
This memo is simply a list of tasks. The writer makes a dramatic assumption that
the reader intuitively knows exactly what the writer is thinking, which is always
problematic in the work environment.

4. Does the message ask for that response in a specific way?
The memo does not ask for anything, although it should be asking the associate to
perform certain duties and to verify their completion.

By most standards, this memo fails communicate adequately to support business operations at
this Evening Shades location.

6

Creating a Memo Template

Since the current duty assignment memo is clearly unsatisfactory, a template must be created to
fix the problem. According to Nancy Mercurio (2005), “More information is always better [and]
when the purpose is clearly communicated in written documentation, the expectation is clear and
the employees will be more attentive” (p. 12). Using the suggestions from the InfoMap website, a
template (Appendix B) has been created for future memos intended to assign duties to associates.

Compared to the previous memo, the new memo format is much clearer in its intentions. The
name and the date appear prominently at the top, reducing confusion of who is supposed to
accomplish which task and when. The task headings are highlighted, guiding the reader’s eye to
the tasks. If the reader requires clarification on a particular task, there is a description area directly
beneath. Guiding the reader’s eye in this manner is the key to effective information mapping. As
readers in a fast-paced business, we are inclined to skim a document and tend to only retain
information that is highlighted or bolded. The above document adheres to these precepts, as
suggested by the principles of info mapping (InfoMapping, 2007).

Using the questions which Bell and Smith present, one can see the distinct difference between the
original memo and the new template:

1. What can be misinterpreted?
The memo is clearly written to a particular person for a particular date, and
descriptions of each task are provided. Thus, the possibility of misinterpretation is
greatly reduced.

2. What options does the message allow me?
Options have been reduced to carrying out the task assigned and described.

3. What response does the message seem to ask for?
This memo is asking for certain tasks to be completed, and it does so in a succinct
and clear manner.

4. Does the message ask for that response in a specific way?
The memo itemizes each task clearly with a description beneath and a checkbox to
be used.

7

Recommendations
From the research performed, it is apparent that the store should strongly consider using the total
twenty-four hours of allotted training payroll instead of nine. The additional training will likely
bolster associate confidence, leading to better sales as well as increasing job satisfaction and
reducing turnover. As the research predicts, the cost of the additional fifteen hours will be
outweighed by benefits to the store’s overall business and profit margin.

With respect to associates not performing their duties, it is clear that a revised assignment memo
is a necessary first step toward resolving this issue. Previous manager memos were ambiguous
and contained little explanation as to who the note was for or when the assignments were
supposed to be completed. The new memo template provides space for each of these important
elements, as well as space for the major tasks and descriptions if the reader requires them.

Training payroll should immediately be increased to a total of twenty-four hours region wide.
Because this amount is allotted by corporate, no special permission will be required from the
Regional Vice President. Also, the template for the assignment memo should be distributed via
email to all Evening Shades locations in Region 620.

8

References

Bayless, M. (2007). Five steps to running a successful shift. Gourmet Retailer, 28(8), 214-215.

Retrieved from http://www.gourmetretailer.com

Bell, A. H. & Smith, D. M. (1999) Management communication (2nd ed.). New York: Wiley.

Cação, R. (2007). Maturity in large scale corporate learning. International Journal of Advanced

Corporate Learning. 7(3), 24-28. doi: 10.3991/ijac.v7i3.4005.

Forsyth, P. (2006). All wings and no feet. Engineering Management, 16(2), 34-35. doi:

11.1835/0265.43.4.500

Information mapping (2007). Retrieved November 9, 2007 from http://www.infomap.com/.

Mercurio, N. (2005). Managing employee expectations: The simple truth. Canadian Manager,

30(2), 12-13. Retrieved from http://cim.ca

Owens Jr., P. (2006). One more reason not to cut your training budget: The relationship between

training and organizational outcomes. Public Personnel Management. 35(2), 163-172. doi:

10. 2772639.ppm

Sullivan, J. (2007). “Penny-wise” strategies for hiring, training and retaining staff lead to same-

store sales gains. Nation’s Restaurant News, 41(36), 18-56. Retrieved from http://nrn.com

9

Appendix A: Training Survey

1) Is Bolle a Luxottica brand?

a. Yes

b. No

2) What is CR39?

a. An alloy in Oakley frames

b. A type of lens similar to polycarbonate

c. Scratch-resistant compound

3) How long do customers have to EXCHANGE glasses?

a. 30 days

b. One Year

c. Indefinitely

4) How long is the in-store warranty for watches?

a. 30 days

b. One Year

c. No in-store warranty

5) Which of these Oakley sunglasses do NOT have interchangeable lenses?

a. Radar Pitch

b. Half Jacket

c. Flak Jacket

d. Straight Jacket

6) Which of these brands are NOT eligible for the $20 discount coupon?

a. Maui Jim

b. Revo

c. Rayban

d. Arnette

7) How many times can a customer use the Evening Shades Replacement Discount?

a. Once

b. Unlimited times within the replacement period

c. As many times as they wish

8) Which of these is NOT a feature of Maui Jim sunglasses?

a. Polarized

b. Photochromatic

c. 100% UV Protectant

d. Bi-Gradient Tinting

9) Which of these is NOT a feature of titanium frames?

a. Flexible and have a memory

b. Hypo-allergenic

c. Lightweight

d. Malleable

10) Which of the following brands receive a full year warranty directly through us?

a. Bolle

b. Rayban

c. Chanel

d. Serengeti

10

ASSIGNMENTS FOR _________________ ON __________________
NAME DATE

 TASK ONE __________________________

Description: _____________________________________________________________________________

___________________________________________________________
___________________________________________________________

 TASK TWO __________________________

Description: _____________________________________________________________________________

___________________________________________________________
___________________________________________________________

 TASK THREE __________________________

Description: _____________________________________________________________________________

___________________________________________________________
___________________________________________________________

 TASK FOUR __________________________

Description: _____________________________________________________________________________

___________________________________________________________
___________________________________________________________

ASSIGNED BY _________________ ON __________________
NAME DATE

Appendix B: Work Template

Table of Contents.html

 
WRTG 394 7367 Advanced Business Writing (2218) – Week 6 — Sample Papers to Read and Videos on Sample Papers to Watch

1. Read: Sample Report for Writing Assignment #4—Evening Shades (APA 6th Edition)


Week 6 — Sample Papers to Read and Videos on Sample Papers to Watch

 

Print

Dear Students:

UMGC is in the process of transitioning from the use of 6th edition APA citation guidelines to the updated 7th edition of APA. Some of the sample materials and papers in the course are older and use APA 6th edition citations, so these citation examples are outdated. If necessary, your instructor will help you to identify places where your own APA citations need updating. Please note that your instructor will provide current tutorials on the 7th edition of APA as well. Thank you for your participation.