How to Write a Professional Letter for a Change in Policy

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Policy change letters are difficult to write because the change usually does not favor the client or employee, even if it is necessary. Policy-change letters, like any letters conveying negative news, require careful preparation and consideration. If you write the letter carefully, it can explain the rationale for the change and still retain the goodwill of the clients or employees.

Use your company letterhead. Because this letter is a legal notification of a policy change, it should look official and formal.

Type the full date. Skip a line space.

Type the recipient's name, organization, and address. If this letter is a mass mailing to all employees or all clients, you may either omit the name and address or use the mail merge feature in your word-processing program to automatically insert the name and address for each letter. Skip another line space.

Type "Dear Mr./Ms. (Name)" followed by a colon. If this is a mass letter, use a generic salutation such as "Dear Valued Customer" or "Dear Employee" instead. Skip another line space.

Begin the letter by explaining the problem that led to the policy change. Use any facts or statistics that will help convince the recipient. Always discuss the problem first in a negative message — if the recipient understands the problem, she will be more likely to accept your solution.

Explain the policy change in specific, clear language. Explain when the new policy will take effect, the consequences of not following the policy, and any details that the employee or client will need to carry out the change.

Thank the client or employee for her time and cooperation. Provide contact information for her to use if she has any questions about the policy.

Type "Sincerely," and skip three line spaces. Type your full name and title. Sign your name above your typed name.

Make a copy of the letter for your records, and provide another copy for your legal department. Mail the original letters. If the policy change is important or results from a change in a law, send the letters by certified mail so that you will have a record of when each recipient received their letter.

Tips

  • Keep the letter brief and polite. Do not over-explain negative news, which could create unintended loopholes in the policy change.

References

About the Author

Natalie Smith is a technical writing professor specializing in medical writing localization and food writing. Her work has been published in technical journals, on several prominent cooking and nutrition websites, as well as books and conference proceedings. Smith has won two international research awards for her scholarship in intercultural medical writing, and holds a PhD in technical communication and rhetoric.