discontinuation of personal development program funding

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Your company, Affinity Software Solutions, has a policy that allows your senior management staff to attend one professional development activity a year (e.g., an annual professional conference, continuing education). The senior managers really enjoy this program because it provides a break in their routine and lets them travel, network, and build their skills. The program has been a fabulous morale builder among your senior management staff and has provided assistant managers with motivation to earn senior management status.

However, business has not been good this past year, and to save money, the company has decided to suspend this policy indefinitely. You know the employees are not going to be happy, but when the alternatives are layoffs, increased employee contributions toward health insurance (or perhaps switching to an employee plan with less coverage), and eliminating sales performance bonuses, this policy seems to be one of the least necessary expenses for the company. If senior managers want to take vacation time and pay for the professional development activities on their own, they certainly may, but the company will no longer pay for any time off or any costs associated with professional development activities.

As Affinity’s budget director you know senior managers will be upset. They really look forward to professional development activities. The policy has been around so long that some even see this policy as a right rather than a privilege. Some others may wonder how they will maintain their skills or network. They certainly won’t want to pay for these activities themselves. Mara Harris, the human resources director, has written the following draft of a message. She has now sent it to you for your revisions. Read Mara’s message, and provide feedback.

SUBJECT: Discontinuation of Personal Development Program Funding

Dear Senior Managers:

Due to budget issues, we are forced to discontinue our Professional Development Program effective immediately.

We know you enjoy the program, and we know this will be an inconvenience for many of you. We apologize for the inconvenience, but of all the things we can cut to help our financial situation, this program has the fewest consequences companywide. No other employees even get this benefit, and laying them (or you) off, cutting health insurance coverage, or cutting sales incentives while senior managers enjoy vacations from work on the company’s dime is simply unacceptable. There are better and cheaper ways for you to network, and this will give you the opportunity to find them. If you want to take your own vacation time and pay for your own professional development, you may, but the company, unfortunately, will no longer pay for any time off or any cost associated with professional development activities.

Again, we apologize for the inconvenience. Many of us have enjoyed these professional development activities, but we will need to suspend the program indefinitely. We hope that your commitment to your customers will be sufficient motivation for doing your job well as a senior manager.


1. Name at least five weaknesses of this message.


2. How would you write this message? Develop an outline for how you would revise it. Divide the outline into categories for the subject line/introduction, explanation, bad news, next steps/benefits, closing, and tone/style.


3. Rewrite the message so that it is a well-written negative announcement.




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