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How To Reference An Employee in Memo Without Naming Them

A memo is a useful communication tool for notifying colleagues or employees of policy changes or giving an update on significant business decisions.

It’s essential that your memo is well-drafted, driving your message across without creating confusion.

Why the need for memos in the workplace?

The word Memo is short for memorandum and is a document that can be written quickly and dispatched to your audience without much ado.

In nature, memos are brief and packed with all the vital points that make reading it worth the while of the addressee. The content also matters, as is the audience the memo is focused on.

You can either convey information or request responses from your team or staff using proven memo formats. It’s vital that you know how to reference employees in a memo without naming them.

A memo may also address elements of calling employees to action or persuading them towards a common goal. Its usually necessary to address issues with a concise, to-the-point that counters any rumors spreading on the office grapevine.

If there are upcoming budget cuts in the works, it’s wise to construct a memo that’s explanatory on the imminent changes.

Where do company memos referencing employees originate?

When there is action needed on the part of employees, a company can issue a memo.

For instance, a Panasonic Corporation memo issued on February 13th of 2009 required all employees to purchase company products worth at least $1,600. According to (Lewis, 2009) a president’s note on that memo noted that this action by every Panasonic employee would ultimately be beneficial for all.

Memos aren’t usually structured with Calls to Actions that require an employee’s spending. They, however, represent an organization’s or businesses’ best interests where the staff is concerned.

A persuasive memo includes statements which go towards aligning the company’s wellbeing with that of its employees. Memos must underscore expected benefits and goals.

Formatting a memo that steers away from naming referenced employees

A business or organization’s internal memo must contain a header that indicates the intended recipients and the author.

When referencing employees in a memo, you can use an individual’s official title instead of naming them. After this section, what follows is a subject line, the date, and an additional discussion, declaration, or summary message.

A memo that takes after the standard format will have an introduction, a body section, and a conclusion. Each of these sections has its purpose, and the declaration announces the main agenda of a memo.

The discussion part elaborates on all the significant points that are derived from the main topic. A memo’s conclusion will serve as a summary of its essential message.

Since memos are used internally, they may circulate within departments or an entire organization. When informing employees of the businesses procedures, policy decisions, or pending actions

Brevity and stating the issue at hand explicitly, especially with your subject line and the body section, are vital to abstain from naming employees.

Don’t leave a chance for misunderstandings to arise from your memo’s contents. Address problems by the departments responsible as opposed to that particular employee.

Wording a memo where the context references unnamed employees

If you labeled your subject line as ‘Lunch Time,’ it may be construed as a time tabular or procedural instruction manual for the company’s policy on meal times.

It might turn out that you intend to pass along the cafeteria staff’s complaints about the mess left on tables after employees take their meals. Something close to ‘Cleaning up after lunch, ‘maybe a more fitting as a subject line to announce what your intended message is.

The opening section

Tell your reader the context of the memo in the opening paragraph or sentences. State clearly the purpose of your memo, with suggestions or assignments properly that are understandable.

The context declaration

Context includes the situation, issue, or event for which the memo is purposed and addressing. Depending on the subject matter’s complexity, the context part will take one sentence or a couple of paragraphs.

For instance, your context that distances itself from naming referenced employees may begin;

‘The cafeteria staff have complained that it takes too much of their time resources to clean up after employees have their lunch. ‘

By being direct and clear, you provide as much of the message as possible without any vagueness.

Task or assignment

Your opening section also includes the assignment or task in which employees are meant to action so that the problem finds a solution. If there was action required from your department, you could write;

‘We had agreed that I will look into the problem and come up with a viable solution towards a win-win scenario.’

You may also opt to present employees with alternatives to consider for a resolution to the issues. The assignment declaration would thus read, ‘You are requested to consider clearing your own lunch remains, allowing the cafeteria staff to have a less hectic schedule.’

Purpose statement

This explains the reason for posting the memo, leading into the remainder. A direct approach is required to get your information across clearly without downplaying it.

You might begin your purpose statement with;

‘I understand that the cafeteria staff has been working overtime to clear up the mess of left-overs, especially after lunch. This memo proposes some recommendations for resolving this problem.’

Avoid detailing too much of the problem that is necessary with your purpose statement. You may find yourself needing to name employees in your references.

Break into subheadings if need be, seeking only to convince readers of the issue at hand.

The memo summary

Write the main memo body before concluding it with the summary section. However, a summary may not be necessary if your memo’s message is less than one page.

A summary section is appropriate for the memo that covers various essential issues or has a fairly detailed analysis.

Sum up your sources and methodology, particularly if your memo is dealing with reports or project research. Keep the summary paragraph brief, as it’s a summation, and there’s no need to repeat information that’s been detailed in earlier sections.

In the vein of the cafeteria mess, you can surmise that; ‘We have noted that the cafeteria staff’s complaints are genuine, backed by worked hours and CCTV footage.’

The summary should reference a department or team within the memo’s circuit without naming individual employees.


You can also add a discussion section or paragraph, laying out the entire hypothesis, facts, or statistics that contribute to the issues or their solutions.

Support the ideas you’ve detailed, demonstrating to the reader that the memo’s purpose and ideas presented have been well thought through. Acknowledgments of other people’s recommendations or contributions can be left out in your memo as they’ll require naming staff members.

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By Audrey Horwitz

Audrey Horwitz holds a master's degree in communication and a bachelor's degree in business administration. She has worked with numerous companies as a content editor including Speechly, Compusignal and Wordflow. Audrey is a prolific content writer with hundreds of articles published for Medium, LinkedIn, Scoop.It and Article Valley.

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