Internal Memorandum

An internal memorandum is correspondence between employees typically belonging to the same organization. Internal memorandums are interdepartmental or interoffice correspondence. They have a more formalized, business-oriented tone and structure. In order to write an effective internal memorandum, there are certain practices to follow based on objective for communicating to your colleagues as well as the business context for the correspondence.

Disseminating Company Performance

Internal memos are periodically used to disseminate the latest quarterly or annual financial and operational performance of the organization. These can include numerous quantitative as well as qualitative assessments, and the information provided is historical in nature. These memos should convey accuracy in detail, and simplicity in language. These types of data-heavy memos should be edited multiple times to ensure that members receive correct information. Failure to do so could mean disaster for your reputation as such memos are usually sent throughout the organization.

Internal Press Release on New Strategic Partnerships, or Important Organizational Initiatives

From time to time companies will announce alliances with other entities, or important organizations initiatives. For example, there might be a wide scale initiative to market recently released product offerings. These internal memorandums should (1) bolster morale, and (2) limit the amount of detailed information disseminated so that the competition will not be able to react competitively on these latest strategic moves. Internal correspondence is often leaked to the outside world (including competitors) which may cause harm to the company and its shareholders.

Updated Policies, Regulatory Changes, Rules, and Compliance Check-lists

Policies, rules, and new legislation that impact the company are often announced by way of internal memos. Often, memos dealing with regulatory issues have a serious tone as there can be severe penalties on the organization for non-compliance. Internal memos such as these should clearly convey the expectations required for each employee. Providing a list of action items or a check-list often work best under this context. The memo should also spell out the consequences for the organization and individual for non-compliance. Organizations are often resistant to change. When change is mandated, however, individuals must cooperate and comply lest penalties are levied out.

Assigning Tasks and Assignments

These are memos common to an employee at the individual and team levels. These types of correspondence can be fairly straightforward as the sender (typically a manager or departmental head) identifies a group or individual project, breaks down tasks and responsibilities, and establishes deadlines for completion for each task. These memos should leave no room for misunderstandings or misinterpretations so that work product can be submitted correctly and on time. Secondly, group leaders should communicate why the assignment is necessary and important to the organization. Leaders who can effectively communicate with internal memos have the ability to motivate colleagues to take action, carry out assigned tasks, and turn in quality work.

Personnel Moves, Promotions, and Career Opportunities

These memos are typically general press releases throughout an organization or department. Some members may chose to read them, while others who are not immediately affected by the announcements delete them. Do not waste people’s time by sending these kinds of memos several times a week. Consolidate these announcements so that there is more informational value packed into each memo. When there are career opportunities or job openings available within the organization, provide the appropriate contacts so that members can coordinate their inquiries with the right people.

Special Company Events and Outings

Internal memorandums can publish pictures and synopses of special company events such as town hall meetings with company executives, recruiting events, volunteer work, and holiday parties. While the sender can exercise creative license (for instance, on memos detailing the office Christmas party or interdepartmental volleyball game), the messages conveyed to the audience should still be appropriate and tasteful. These memos communicate special events, social activism in the community, or activities outside of the office. Such memos are not an excuse to post pictures of drunken co-workers, betting results from the fantasy football tournament, or unflattering quotes made by the rank and file about management.

Internal memorandums are sent throughout the organization or department for a variety of reasons. The memo’s tone and structure depend on its objective and context. Because these types of correspondence are office-related, the message should be clear, concise, and accurate. Memos that are unusually long or ambiguous increase the likelihood of frustration on the part of recipients. Effective memos ultimately uplift the organization, either by increasing morale, providing guidance on compliance issues, educating and instructing employees on projects and assignments, aligning members to high level goals, and making employees feel like part of a family.