12 Email Template Examples For Managers to Discuss (And Improve) Employee Performance

No one likes uncomfortable conversations such as addressing performance issues. And they are even more difficult when you have to hold them over email — regardless of the topic. After all, once you write something down, it lives forever.

Communication makes or breaks a team. Sometimes, the difference between engagement and absenteeism is a comprehensive and well-written email. But writing the perfect, to-the-point email, especially when the message is hard to swallow, can be a draining process that takes time and energy.

As a manager, you certainly have a demanding schedule and prefer to focus on challenging topics that add value to the overall business. Yet, crafting a message for a difficult conversation is something you will have to face once in a while in your career. And we are here to help!

Next, we have assembled a list of the main situations when you have to approach a sensitive topic and email managers templates to inspire you.

The 12 manager email templates to address when:

  • An employee continuously shows up to work late
  • An employee repeatedly shows up tired
  • An employee has a negative attitude
  • An employee misses deadlines constantly
  • An employee needs more training
  • An employee demands too much time-off
  • An employee can’t take criticism
  • An employee is flirting inadequately
  • An employee takes too much credit for the work of others
  • An employee decides to quit
  • Thanking an employee
  • Thanking your entire team.

Before starting with the first template, reflect on the best way to send this notification. Should it be an email, maybe it’s better to meet in person or have a call if it requires more details. And if you go for the email option as intended, think about a good subject line and personalize the content to match the context and profile of your employee to whom you’re delivering the message.

1. An employee constantly shows up to work late

There may be a valid reason when an employee is late to work. However, if this behavior becomes a habit, you, the manager, must discuss the issue and find a solution for their perpetual tardiness. 

You should avoid reproachful words and emphasize that the lack of punctuality affects payroll, productivity, and the team’s morale.

Hey _______,

It came to my attention that you have repeatedly been coming late to the office without a valid reason or prior approval. I want to inform you that this behavior is considered misconduct, making things difficult for your colleagues who depend on you.

You know my door is always open. If there is anything on your mind or something I can help with, come by and let’s talk!


2. An employee repeatedly shows up tired

Stress or burnout might occur due to outside-work factors, like relationship issues, financial worries, or health concerns. However, a constantly tired employee is not performing at optimal capacity, shows signs of presenteeism, and drags the team’s enthusiasm down. 

As a manager, it is your job to fix this matter. When crafting your email, be sensitive and avoid micromanaging.

Hey _______,

We all have noticed you have been a little tired and depleted the last few days. Is everything okay?

I don’t mean to be too intrusive, but if you need time off to deal with something outside of work, just let me know. 

You know that employees' well-being is a priority in our team. If you ever need to chat about anything, I’m here.

Thank you!

3. An employee has a negative attitude

It is not unusual for a workplace to have at least one employee showing a negative attitude towards their jobs or colleagues. Unfortunately, the negative attitude is contagious: it spreads from just a couple of members to the entire workforce.

As the direct manager, you must delicately handle the issue, as the employees are already upset about something. Address this attitude quickly before affecting the entire team.

People quit mainly because of toxic work culture. To spot toxic employees, look for unethical behavior, abusive management, backstabbing, disrespect, and non-inclusiveness.

Hi ______,

I can’t help to notice you are quite angry and discontent lately. I am not pleased when any of my team members is upset, but more so, your negative attitude affects the whole team. I am sure you can see how your behavior is spreading within our team.

If there is anything that keeps you away from focusing and you want to talk about it, I am happy to listen and help you out in any way I can.


Tip: You might be interested on what ar the qualities of good managers.

4. An employee misses deadlines constantly

Missing a deadline once in a while is unavoidable in the current work environment.

But when an employee misses deadlines repeatedly, it can be frustrating. It damages the reputation of the team. 

Write an email and ask if there is a good reason for the delay. Be clear you are open to listening without judgment, and ensure the employee works harder to meet deadlines.

Hi ______,

I wanted to talk to you about something that troubles me.

I notice that you have missed a few essential deadlines recently. You are a valuable team member, and missing deadlines puts extra pressure on everyone else.

If you are overburdened because of work or a personal matter, come by, let’s talk, and

figure this out together. 


5. An employee needs more training

Signs your employees need improvement can be subtle, especially if your company culture is to cover the gaps in skill sets and knowledge. Inconsistent work processes show which employees need more training.

Your goal, as the manager, is to avoid making the employee feel like they are not good enough. You want to stress that you are there to help them progress.

Hi __________,

You are doing an excellent job at work, and your expertise in many areas is a great win for the team. I think there are a few skills you could work on and benefit from in your career.

I suggest we should schedule regular meetings to get together and help you improve these skills. 

I really think it could make a huge difference for you!


6. An employee demands too much time-off

Both managers and employees want to benefit from increased employee morale and a healthy work-life balance. But be vigilant with employees who may be taking advantage of your paid time-off policy.

Be cautious when approaching this topic, don’t jump to conclusions, and give the benefit of the doubt.

Hey ________,

How are you?

You know we encourage work-life balance and let you take time off when you need it.

However, I want to talk to you about the time off you have been taking recently.

We all noticed that you have been taking an excessive amount of time off, affecting the entire team. Please let me know if there is a personal issue I can help you with. I would be happy to help in any way I can.


Related: If an employee is taking too much time off, we have some tips on how to prevent such issues to happen again.

7. An employee can’t take criticism

Constructive criticism aims to help employees improve their performance. Nevertheless, although your intentions may be good, an employee may not receive criticism as intended. Write an email explaining that you are doing this in their best interest.


I worry that my comment earlier didn’t land as I intended. I want to ensure there is no

misinterpretation: everything I said was meant to help you overcome obstacles and become a better version of yourself.

You are a great team member; we all appreciate and truly enjoy working with you.

If you are confused about anything, let me know! I’m here for you.


8. An employee is flirting inadequately

Whether you like it or not, flirtation is very common in the workplace. As a manager, you want to nurture a friendly environment at work, as we spend five eight-hour days together. Still, office flirtation, no matter how innocent, can be uncomfortable, distracting, and stressful.

There are also cultural differences regarding what is considered friendly and flirtatious. The best you can do is to prevent flirting in the workplace at all costs.

Hey _________,

I wanted to talk to you about a sensitive subject.

It has been brought to my attention that you behaved inappropriately with another coworker. I am sure you didn’t intend to do this, but you must be more careful and avoid these inappropriate circumstances. Our company firmly discourages these types of interactions between colleagues.

If you don’t know what I am talking about, or you don’t see why your behavior is considered inappropriate, let’s have a chat.


9. An employee takes too much credit for the work of others

As a manager, you want to encourage competitiveness within your team. Every employee contributes to the team’s results. Once in a while, a co-worker shows over-confident behavior that bothers the rest of the team members. 

Write an email to show appreciation for their talent and achievements and remind them of the collective work.

Hi  _________,

How are you?

I wanted to talk about something that has been bothering me for a few days now.

You know you are one of our most valuable team members, and we really appreciate your input. But I have noticed that you may be taking too much personal credit for the entire team's work, and some colleagues feel like you are bragging too much.

Remember that we work and win as a team, and we are all here to help each other out.

Keep up the great work!

Tip: By acknowledging hard work, recognizing dedication, and celebrating success together, you improve teamwork.

10. An employee decides to quit

This is a delicate situation that may take you by surprise. As a manager, you can use this opportunity to learn more about your team’s dynamic and management style.

Craft a carefully worded email. Let the employee know how surprised you were and ask if you were not paying enough attention, which you need to own.


Your news earlier came out of nowhere, and it really took me by surprise. You are an excellent team member, and we all enjoy working with you.

Is there anything I can do to change your mind? I would really love to hear more of your valuable feedback and see where we can improve ourselves to keep you on board.

Do you think we can chat for a bit tomorrow? Let me know.


As a manager, you will have countless opportunities to write positive emails. Here are a couple of situations when we recommend you appreciate your team.

11. Thanking an employee

When an employee goes the extra mile, it is essential to take the time to recognize the effort. Appreciating achievements in person or by email is something that managers should communicate regularly.

Be specific about what you are thanking and describe your reaction to the excellent work.

Hi _______,

I wanted to tell you that I am amazed by how you maintain high-performance levels while taking on even more work.

Your dedication to your work is helping lead us to success!

Thank you for being such a role model.

Keep up the great work!

If you’re looking for different types of thank you messages for your employees, we have 20+ examples you can get inspired from.

12. Thanking your entire team

Appreciation plays a significant role in reducing stress and helping organizations to retain their top talents, and increasing employee engagement.

The business world is seeing critical changes. 

The workload has significantly increased, and checking emails is a priority for most employees. If one of those emails holds sincere praise and gratitude, not only will it lighten up their mood, but it will do wonders in heightening the team’s confidence and level of job satisfaction.

Hi team,

Just to quickly let you know that the project we worked on in the last few months was successful.

I would like to sincerely thank you for the hard work and diligence self-motivation, without which this would not have been possible. 

Being a manager is not an easy job. But with a team like you by my side, everything seems smoother. You have always motivated me and pushed me to the limits so the organization can see better days.

I genuinely enjoy working with you!

Tip: We have 30+ employee appreciation quotes in case you need to be more creative in your words. 


Being a manager is about handling people at work. The better you are, the easier it will be. The examples provided are just some ways you can handle specific scenarios professionally. Remember, we get better as our experiences get more diverse and, in a work context, in dealing with people, from hiring to letting people go. What is important is that when they are within the business to have a good time, please do set up more regular 1-on-1 meetings with your direct reports and frequently discuss the issues that arise, as just a message doesn’t solve the situation completely. 

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