The Friendly Co-Worker Program

The Friendly Co-Worker Program
Case developed by Mary L. Mason; modified by Bob Corey
The Case:
Part I:
Recently, your company established a “Friendly Co-Worker” program in which
employees are assigned to orient new employees to the company and, if necessary, to the
city and area in which your company is based. Although it would be easy enough for
your company simply to mail a new employee the available printed material describing
the area (such as brochures and maps), someone has decided that an email from a current
employee would be more personal and more effective.
You are the first person to be assigned an incoming employee. All you know about the
new employee is her name, Ashley Fisher, and that she is single, twenty-seven years old,
and has been working in a position similar to your opening for the past three years. She
starts work for your company in just a month, and your boss is anxious to get your email
out as soon as possible.
1. Prepare an email to Ashley in which you include the following:
 Introduce yourself to Ashley
 Describe the area in which your company is located (in this case Ames, IA)
 Describe the work atmosphere at your company, programs, and any other
additional facilities that make up the company
 Provide Ashley with any other information you think will be useful to her as a
new employee and a new resident to the city
For the purpose of this case, use an opening in the company that you have created as
context for contacting Ashley. Your company has a need and Ashley will start working
for you in some capacity – she may be another salesperson, a mid-level team leader, or a
new partner.
Finally, assume that Ashley made such a favorable impression upon a representative of
your company, (give your president or representative a name like Chad Davis) and that
he hired her on the spot at an out-of-state interview (this situation may be adjusted to fit
your company profile. See me if there are questions). She accepted the offer even without
visiting the office, apparently because she was impressed by (your representative/Mr.
Davis) and because her parents recently moved from another part of the country to within
50 miles of the your main office (Des Moines perhaps). As a result of the way she was
hired, Ashley is vaguely aware of the basic structure of your organization but doesn’t yet
know specifically what her responsibilities will be. Feel free to make up sufficient,
realistic details about what the atmosphere in the organization is like, what the job pace
is, and any other details that you think would address a new employee’s questions and
Part II:
At the request of your superior, send the representative/president a copy of the email you
sent to Ashley Fisher, along with a memo in which you explain to him what you did in
your letter and why you think your letter will benefit the company. Your boss (Linda
Spencer) supports the Friendly Co-Worker Program and wants your memo to (rep/pres)
to persuade him that the program is worthwhile and should be kept.
This is a new initiative by your company and not everyone thinks it is a good idea.
Someone apparently pushed it through, but some think the whole idea is pretty silly and a
waste of time. Time is a particularly sensitive issue with your company and the time you
spend on Ashley’s letter cuts into company time and other work that needs to be finished.
One proposal is a form letter/email that could be sent to any entering employee, but
others see this as a cold, distant approach and want a more personal touch. Since you
believe in the program and are the first to write the email, you are setting the tone for
others to follow. If you are successful, the program stays. If you fail, the program will be
discontinued and you will be blamed by other supporters for its demise.
2. Prepare a memo to the representative/president in which you include the
 Explain what you did in your letter to Ashley
 Explain why you think writing the letter (rather than a form letter) will benefit
the company
 Outline/highlight (to representative/president) the advantages of keeping the
I will evaluate your communication using the criteria listed below. Your documents
should reflect:
 Clear understanding of audience (Ashley-letter: Rep/Pres-memo) and context
(remember, some don’t want the program) Fill out Audience and Use Profile
 Ability to clearly conceptualize ideas and express them in appropriate format for
communication (letter, memo)
 Ability to use appropriate business/professional language and terminology
 Recognition of the rhetorical situation (Ashley new to area-some resistance) and
format to be used
 Understanding and proper use of standard, formal English conventions of format,
style, usage, and mechanics
 Follow the rubric for the Memo Rubric on the website.