What Is a Memo? (With Examples)
A memo is a short document which is used within a company.
It is designed as a method of communication primarily to give information or make an announcement.
Memos are often sent to everyone at the same time within a company. Alternatively, they can be sent to an entire department or team. This means they can be used as an easy way to communicate with everyone in the company quickly and easily.
They are often used to inform employees about changes in policy or procedure and notifying everyone of specific events or situations they need to be aware of.
For a memo to be considered effective, it needs to be short, sharp and to the point.
Essentially, this means that it will be a brief document which informs people of the facts without unnecessary words.
By making sure that the memo fulfils this criteria, it will mean that people are more likely to be able to read and understand what is being said without wasting time reading information which isn’t relevant or attempting to decode long paragraphs of information which could have been simplified.
A good memo will often include:
- Contact information for the sender
- A subject line which tells the reader what the memo is about
- One or two paragraphs which hold all of the relevant information
- Attachments can be included if relevant
There are many times when a memo would be a useful form of communication.
Primarily, they are used to give information quickly and concisely. They can sometimes be followed by a more detailed communication, although this isn’t always necessary.
It can also be a good method of communication when there is a need to remind individuals of tasks or projects due for completion.
Examples of when individuals or companies might choose to send a memo:
- To update staff members regarding changes to policy
- To remind individuals of deadlines for projects or tasks
- To inform employees on the progress of a target
- To inform employees regarding staffing changes or individuals joining or leaving the company
- To request an action from employees, such as feedback or responses to a work event
To inform staff members of a change
Subject: Staffing changes
As you are all aware, there have been some changes made to staffing arrangements within the sales department recently.
From the 20th of this month, Jack McCain will be taking on the role of department manager on a permanent basis. He will be joined by Heather Jones who is joining us from (name of company) as our new deputy department manager.
I am sure that you will all be keen to make Heather feel welcome and support both Heather and Jack as they adjust to their new roles.
To request feedback
Subject: Employee questionnaire
In the interest of continued growth, we are looking for insight from employees who have been affected by the changes made to our sick leave policies over the last 12 months.
If you have applied for sick leave during this time, we would appreciate it if you would take the time to complete the questionnaire which has been linked to the bottom of this message.
All responses are anonymous, but will help us to make further decisions moving forwards.
[link to questionnaire]
Your help is appreciated in this.
To remind employees of a deadline
Subject: Phase three deadline
All staff members working on (name of project) should be aware that the deadline for phase three is at the end of this month.
This means that everyone working on the project should be sure to submit their work to the relevant overseer in a timely manner so that the work can be reviewed. All feedback for phase three will be given within one week of the deadline.
It is unlikely that extensions will be granted due to the need to start phase four. If there are any issues, please contact your line manager to find a solution.
I look forward to reviewing your work.
[Name of sender]
There are a number of different types of memo, each of which is used for a specific purpose.
This is used to ask something of the recipient. Someone will usually send an enquiry memo to gain information. This information can be put together to gain a better understanding of how things are working within a company.
Sometimes, an enquiry memo will include a questionnaire, survey or other type of information gathering material.
These types of memos are designed to give information to a large number of people quickly and easily. Often, this will be regarding a change of policy, staffing changes or any piece of news which will impact the company as a whole.
As the name suggests, a call to action memo requires some kind of action to be taken.
This could be a reminder about a deadline or other work-related subject.
Alternatively, it could be a request for information or a response to an invitation to a company event.
When someone sends a confirmation memo, they are simply confirming that they have received the information that they needed. This can be any type of information, such as a document relating to a project.
In theory, you can write a memo to anyone, although this will partially depend on what your role is within a company.
For example, it is unlikely that an intern would send a memo to the CEO, but the CEO could potentially send a memo to anyone within the company.
There are a number of reasons why people choose to send memos, rather than using other methods of communication, such as:
It’s quick to put together and send
People understand what is being asked of them without needing to read long, complex communications
They can be used for a wide number of purposes
Unlike other communications, it’s not always necessary to formally end a memo. Often, memos will be signed off with thanks or the name of the person who has sent it.
Sometimes, rather than a formal sign off, individuals sending a memo will put their contact details at the bottom if the memo is being sent to individuals who they don’t usually communicate with.
Sending a memo is an easy way of getting information to a large number of people in the shortest amount of time.
In most cases, it is used to give information which is important for employees to know, such as changes in policy or changes in staffing.
When properly thought out and carefully worded, a memo can save time and reduce the need to repeat information to individual members of staff. They enable employees to know what is expected of them and what processes need to be followed.