Documenting Employee Issues Shouldn’t Feel Like a Chore

Documentation of performance issues is a critical responsibility—so why is it so often neglected? As a human resources manager, you have numerous tasks you’re responsible for to ensure your organization is operating smoothly, such as managing turnover, increasing the quality of your staff and complying with the law. Did you know, however, that you could simplify a number of those tasks if you had an efficient approach to employee documentation? Let’s take a closer look:

Streamline your process for documenting employee issues

In an article featured in entitled “Tips on Documentation of Employee Performance and Conduct,” Barrie Gross writes: “How many managers actually take the time, either during a meeting with an employee or immediately after, to write notes about the conversation and put it in his or her manager’s file? Most managers will say that they do not document everything they should and even if they do, they admit it may not get done until several days, weeks, or months have passed and it’s time for annual performance reviews.”

In order to strike inefficiency at its source, document events as they occur. While it may sound relatively simple, doing so will save you from having to put together a report at the last minute and eliminate the risk of inaccuracy. On the not-so-obvious side, proper documentation will also help you comply with the law. Without appropriate documentation you may be at risk for discrimination, regardless if the event was based on poor performance. Don’t forget to include important details in each report, such as the date and time, job title and description and name of the employee.

Schedule weekly meetings and annual performance evaluations

Employee performance evaluations are an opportunity for supervisors and managers to share specific examples of good and poor behavior. To ensure that your review methods are effective and credible, it’s important to discuss areas of improvement and positive reinforcement on a regular basis, not just once a year. Doing so will empower your employee to correct any of his or her poor behavior as it transpires.

Many of your employees may feel that weekly meetings are a waste of both of your time. By making a commitment to meeting once a week, however, you can discuss weekly challenges, cover in-depth questions and develop an action plan for the week. As with any good meeting, it should be clear, concise and effective for both parties. That being said, don’t be afraid to ask for feedback. You will need to determine if your one-on-one meetings are providing your employee with the support he or she needs to succeed.

Do not manage your employees virtually

While social media, email and texting are some of the primary modes of communication these days, using them could potentially create some conflict within your organization. First, there is too much room for error, and may cause concern regarding security or confidentiality. Because the Internet is widely unregulated, it’s difficult to say if everything you send out through a text, email or on a messaging platform is completely private. Second, it’s easy for miscommunication to occur when you’re using email versus having the conversation face-to-face.

As you may have found, initiating hard conversations is never an easy task, but a two-way form of communication (i.e. a daily, weekly and annual performance or progress meeting) will ultimately serve as the foundation you need to strengthen professional relationships with your staff and extend the quality of its work.

Find the support you need with a dedicated vendor

Even the largest HR department needs support to achieve its goals and objectives. If you find yourself frustrated with the lack of organization and efficiency concerning employee documentation and other tasks you may find value in partnering with a vendor. With the right solution you can create custom reports that encompass employee reviews, progress, incidents and disciplinary actions, as well as career milestones. While your employer may have questions concerning security and confidentially, cost and the risk of errors, you can ease those concerns by evaluating your options and finding one that suits the needs of your business.