When in Doubt, Document

Taking corrective action with your employees isn’t the most pleasant part of the job. However, failing to do so is much worse. Whether you’re addressing poor performance or unsatisfactory behavior, it’s critically important to document all of your communication. This paper trail doesn’t just protect the company from wrongful termination and other claims, but informs the employee of issues in a concise way. 

There are four main ingredients for proper documentation: writing it down, doing so in a timely manner, employee awareness, and comprehensive filing. 

Write Everything Down

This one might seem obvious, but many supervisors and HR departments don’t always write down everything they should. Whether it’s an email exchange with the employee in question or a piece of paper you and the employee both sign, creating a paper trail helps you track improvements (or lack thereof) and gives you rationale when corrective action or termination is necessary. 

Even if your policies call for verbal warnings or in-person meetings, make sure there’s a record of every interaction. Not only will this help in the ways stated above, but also allows you to remember when and what you discussed with the employee.  

Documentation Needs to be Timely and Consistent

If you’re following the rules from the previous tip, this shouldn’t be too difficult. Get into the habit of documenting these interactions as soon as they happen. Whether you’re speaking in person or communicating via email, Slack, or another platform, make sure the very next thing you do is make a copy, save the correspondence, or summarize it on an official document. 

Furthermore, make sure you’re consistent with your documentation. Every single interaction should be documented for every single employee. This ensures everyone gets a fair shake as well as establishing a policy that everyone at your organization can expect. 

Employee Awareness. 

Show all documentation to your employees. That might mean CCing them on an email to HR or asking them to sign the actual documentation. Your employees need to know when it happens so they can hopefully correct their behavior or performance. Don’t wait until a quarterly or yearly review to present a stack of written-down conversations or warnings. 

Documenting corrective action or even verbal warnings and making sure your employees know about them eliminates any surprise in the event you need to put them on a performance plan or when it’s time for the termination meeting. You’re not trying to trap the employee, and you want to ensure they’re not blindsided with any new information.

All Documentation Goes in a File

Simply writing down all of your interactions and communications doesn’t mean much if you can’t access them when necessary. Every employee should have some sort of file, whether it’s a manilla folder or on a computer. All documentation should be well-organized and in a centralized location. The main reason for this is to ensure the right people have access when they need it. This includes the employee, supervisor/manager, and HR. 

As you may have noticed, all of these tips are interwoven. Practicing good documentation strategies requires all four of these ingredients to ensure you protect your company, maintain open communication with the employee and other department heads, and provide a foundation to help employees improve. 

Performance Management with isolved Mojo

With isolved Mojo from CTR, you can empower your employees to take a bigger role in managing their own performance and engagement. Mojo includes a number of features to help your employees succeed: including personalized dashboards, the ability to crowdsource and brainstorm ideas in real time, points and reward systems, and even fun gamification features to further motivate employees. 

On top of that, Mojo provides a perfect platform to document employee performance and behavior (good or bad). Learn more about isolved Mojo and how CTR can help implement it by clicking here.