I was recently asked to put together an offer letter for a fellow business owner. He wanted to make sure he said all the right things and that he wouldn’t say anything in the letter that would cause any liability issues down the road. He said he had a template that he received from an association he belonged to and just wanted to make sure it would be OK to use.
After reviewing the template, I was happy that he reached out to me. While the template had all the details necessary for him to make an offer, the tone of the letter was cold and uninviting. I was able to put together a letter that met the legal requirements and at the same time was warm and welcoming.
Offer letters can set the right tone for the employment relationship—or they can lead to disappointment, frustration and even litigation
Here’s what should be included in an offer letter:
- Start date.
- Salary quoted by pay period, not an annual. (You can say “which equates to the annual salary).
- Is the position exempt or nonexempt?
- Supervisor’s name.
- All agreements, such as noncompete, nondisclosure and at-will employment.
Be clear about communication. Don’t over commit. Include a job description so that there is no confusion with expectations.
Finally, the letter should be welcoming. The following are some phrases to reflect the welcoming tone:
- We are pleased to make you the following offer
- We would like to welcome you to the team
- We are excited to have you join us
- Congratulations on being part of the team! The whole company welcomes you, and we look forward to a successful journey with you! Welcome aboard!
- Our heartiest welcome goes to you. Congratulations on being part of our growing and dynamic team. We are honored to have you with us!
Know that we are here for you if you ever need our assistance.
Barbara Flynn, MSHR, SPHR, SHRM-SCP