Flo-Joe for Cambridge English Exams

Cambridge English: Advanced

Check out students' answers to Flo-Joe's CAE Writing tasks with a teacher's feedback

Writing Class: Report

Task Type: Report

You work in the sales department of a large company. You have been asked to reply to this memo from the company's Personnel Officer:


From: Personnel Officer
To: Sales Department

Owing to recent changes within the company we are experiencing some problems with staff motivation. Please write a report giving your opinion of the following suggestions for improving staff morale:
  1. A party for the whole department.
  2. A weekend away for the most successful sales team.
  3. A monetary prize for the best salesperson.
I would appreciate any other suggestions.

Write the report to the Personnel Officer. (220-260 words)

Makeover: Priscila

Read Priscila's answer to this question below. Try correcting the piece of writing yourself first: use the marking codes to think about what might be wrong (or what's good) about the piece of work. Then when you're ready, click the green buttons in the text for our feedback.

Staff motivation has always been a much discussed subject, which has resulted in many articles and books, published by experienced and Famous specialists in the Human Resource field.

Since I do not fit in this category, I can only bring to this report my own experiences with my staff of salesmen. -
I'll start by discussing the suggestions you have send WF me in your MEMO:

1. A party for the whole department.

I don't think it would be wise to give a party now that the company is facing economical WF problems and that the bonus /\ to our sales people has been cut by half due to this. What would we be celebrating? One of the reasons that our worker's motivation is down is that cut.

2. A weekend away for the most successful sales team.

That suggestion sounds nice: it would cause impact rewarding team work PE and showing the whole company that working together is the way to overcome critical moments. That we are all in the same boat, and we should row together to keep moving forward. Gd

3. A monetary prize for the best salesperson.

In my opinion, money is something that is rapidly spent and the source will soon be forgotten. Motivation should be something that endures over time and should be nurtured by the company throughout the year! Gd

Besides that, it does not incentive WF team work, which is what is really important for the company's future, in order to achieve sustained growth.

I would keep your second suggestion and add a few things, like having a ceremony in the company, with all employees present, with appraisal given by the highest administration levels PE to motivate the rest of our personnel to try the same.

I would also include their family in the weekend, to show our winners that we understand that nothing can be done without the support of our family, and feel WW how important it is to have a "Home Team" as well.

I sure hope I have added with my opinions and if you would like to discuss a little further about the ideas, feel free to call me or stop by my office. R


This is a nice report, Priscila, which addresses all of the ideas in the task and comes up with an original suggestion as well - this is a good thing to do!
The organisation of the report is fine and, apart from the opening sentences, what you write is relevant to the task. There are some errors in word formation (economic/economical; incentive/encourage; companies/company's) but on the plus side you are not afraid to take risks with the language.
One area to watch would be in terms of register, i.e. the level of formality. A report should be fairly formal and I have made some suggestions in places where you have seemed a little informal. "...feel free to call me or stop by my office...' would be perfect in an email, for example, but looks out of place in a report.

Marking Code

/\ Word(s) missing

- Omit word

C Capitalization

Gd Good

O Organisation

P Punctuation

PE Poorly expressed

R Register/Formality

SS Sentence Structure

S Spelling

T Tip (Not wrong but a suggestion)

WF Wrong form

WO Word order

WT Wrong tense

WW Wrong word