Wanna build better office culture? Don’t write cold-sounding employee appointment letters

I wrote this post in 2009 when I was the founder of a startup company and was doing some research in drafting employee appointment letters. This is what I found in general—a lot of appointment letters given to employees lack two things: 1) The simplicity in communicating their message. 2) Communicating like a human being.
The 2009 post below:

I am preparing our team members’ appointment letters, contracts, etc. And I am reading samples of actual appointment letters as a reference for me to draft them (boo hoo, where’s my HR manager?)…No wonder loads of people hate their work. Look at the appointment letters…are the management hiring a robot or slave??!!! JEEZ!!!!!
It all started out nice & polite:

‘We have pleasure in offering….

Then, it spirals downwards…

The Company may at its discretion extend the probationary period by another three (3) months.

You are advised that as a condition of your employment with the Company, you are liable to be transferred to work in any location, section, department, division, subsidiary, country or Line of Business at the absolute discretion of the Company. (If hell has a valid address, you bet we have the absolute discretion to send you there too!)

Should you be found to be medically unfit, your service shall be liable to be terminated. (translated—if you are dying, please don’t bother us.)

Followed by MORE discretion…

An employee at the discretion of the Company….

But, they did end the slave contract with an encouraging ending, though:

We take this opportunity to welcome you aboard and wish you a successful career with the Company. (Evil smile)

I am offended to read this letter, don’t see traces of humanity here…but ahh…you say, ‘Mel, just you wait till you deal with eeeeevvvvvil employees, then you will see why you need Evil Appointment Letter Writing Skill 101’…

Sigh…I mean, c’mon, is this it? Resorting to cold, technical jargons so that you can whip people into submission?!!

I know I’m insanely stress when…

I went beyond beer…and bought these

Processed foodCoz beer is my happy food (Yes food, never heard of liquid diet?) But these! These are a sign that I’m heading towards evil-dom.

I only bought chips for my own consumption, let’s see…less than 6 times in my entire life.

P/S: Pringles product review: Unless I have really gone insane, but the chips are much much smaller now. Yes, the size has shrunk. Maybe overall diameter shrunk by 20%. Even the chips are pathetic to match my mood.

P/P/S: Till my next upbeat-y, happy, motivational-ty post, I am officially calling it a day off for happy mood. Now, let me just work in silence.

Remotely Yours

One half of Coconect head has finally gone back to Europe.

Here I am, in between busyness, work-as-usual day… feeling pang of loss that co-founder Jen has literally ‘went Holland’…and frankly speaking, I am really sad.

This had happened before, and now it is really happening for good for a long time.

I am feeling sad because,

Over the last few months, well more like a year, we had worked together, pitched & won Pre-Seed funding, interviewed, hired, disagree, agree, brainstorm(ed), burnout, laughed hysterically, hugged, drank beer after beer sometimes cursing over our insane stress but more often than not, enjoying our sadistic journey of entrepreneurship, completed proposals that secured projects & orders, lend each other an ear & shoulder during hardship in personal life, cried (more like me), really go out of the way to help each other as how true friends do, croak during karaoke sessions, ate many good food, talked about our dreams and spur each other on…

and really just being a real friend to each other, no ifs or buts.

Over the past 1 year, (though we had known each other for more than 12 years), we had become not only great business partner but great friend. A real gem in this world.

But on the other hand, I am really glad & happy that I,

We r Coconuts!

Had the chance to appreciate true friendship, chance to get to know another gung ho, passionate individual who is absolutely crazy in going after her dreams, have a friend who can understand each other’s ‘Impossible in Nothing’ attitude yet still have room for each other to grow, make mistakes, complain (Yikes!) and forgive.

So, till we meet again in charming Netherlands or chaotic Malaysia, take good care my friend. And I’ll see you 9am SHARP (your time zone) online for our coconuty meetings.