Writing Sample: Persuasive Proposal

  • Reader: Associate Vice President (department leader and my direct supervisor)
  • Objective: The reader will understand how the current process and lack of transparency decreases employee morale and, therefore, productivity.
  • Action: I want the reader to feel compelled to change the current evaluation process by implementing a new electronic system and recurring peer feedback.
  • Impression: I want the reader to think I am a competent and influential thought-leader based on my insights into current staff frustrations and positive suggestions


This is a politically and fiscally sensitive topic. There is no transparent consistency regarding how employees are evaluated, promoted, or given raises. Additionally, there is a negative perception that promotions and raises are often awarded to a select few that are the same race and gender as the leader – not necessarily based on performance. This negative perception is amplified at the end of the fiscal year when everyone’s salaries are published in a report – without any justification or clarity.

Overall Objective

Develop a transparent evaluation process that eliminates any discriminatory biases. Topics included are:

  • Streamline process
  • Transparent justification of salary increases
  • Boost employee morale
  • Decrease employee turnover


TO: Associate Vice President
FROM: Amy Jorgensen
DATE: November 26, 2017
SUBJECT: Performance Evaluation Process

I propose that we adopt a new performance evaluation process to increase productivity, customer-service, boost employee morale, and decrease employee turnover.

The current evaluation process is confusing, frustrating, and unclear. Staff struggle with the challenging electronic system and feel that there are inconsistent standards of which we are all judged. Once salaries are published at the end of the fiscal year, the lack of transparency regarding evaluation standards and promotions fosters low employee morale and ultimately lower productivity levels.

The secretive evaluation process is the root cause of low employee morale. Staff do not feel there is fair compensation distributed for knowledge, effort, and past performance. These perceptions lead to disengaged employees that are more likely to be absent, sick, and deliver sub-par service.

Additionally, the current electronic system is difficult to use. Every December, we are forced to log into a confusing and clunky electronic system to add comments about annual goals we have forgotten about. The challenging electronic system deters staff and managers from using it to review goals and record process through the year, so tangible examples are often forgotten by the time December comes.

The challenges using the electronic system also foster common appraisal biases by managers:

  • excessive leniency due to guilt regarding the whole process
  • perception of primacy and similarity biases – favoring those close to one’s age and gender
  • only recalling recent events, whether they are positive or not

Proposed Solution: Weekly Reports, 360 Evaluation, and EOY Summary

A better performance review process through a new electronic system includes weekly reports, a 360-peer evaluation, and an end-of-year summary. The new user-focused electronic system would reinforce engagement through the year, versus the single annual evaluation. Managers would enter weekly reports to provide clear expectations, update goals based on evolving organizational needs, and record feedback on recent performance. This real-time reporting better motivates the employee and provides tangible examples for the end of year summary.

Real-time feedback is encouraged through 360-peer evaluations after completing a team project. A 360-peer evaluation would provide insight into an employee’s influence in an organization and allow peers to highlight character qualities such as resiliency, attentiveness, flexibility, and diligence. Peer feedback allows managers to better determine the unique abilities of each employee and improve any un-biased perceptions. The employee will have immediate feedback to correct behaviors and praise to improve self-esteem. Additionally, staff will feel more connected to peer development and a positive perception regarding promotions or salary increases based on their own engagement with the employee.

The ongoing feedback from weekly reports and 360-evaluations will provide a much better foundation for an end of year report. Clear documentation of goals, accomplishments, and past challenges reduces employee anxiety and provides managers tangible examples for a more effective feedback. The end of year summary could be shared internally to develop transparency regarding all aspects of an individual’s performance. Staff appreciate and often reference the performance report currently delivered from marketing team each semester.

Consistent weekly reports and 360-peer reviews collected into an end of year summary will guarantee less anxiety, stress, and resentment with the entire performance review process. A transparent process that fosters open dialogue will ensure that we address key issues fairly and ultimately increase employee morale. Staff will feel more engaged with their peers and invested in the overall productivity of our office. This will lead to better service and higher ratings for our key performance indicators.

I would like to review this proposal during our weekly meeting on Tuesday, November 28th, so that we can begin implementation at the beginning of the next year.