Documenting Performance Discussions  

Documenting performance discussions with your employees is an important process that might have slipped to the bottom of your To Do list. Here are some reasons why it is important that managers prioritise documentation in the performance management process:

  1. It provides evidence that a performance issue was discussed with an employee. This is particularly important for non-performing employees. The details of what was discussed, policies that were breached, effects on the business and action plans put in place, should be clearly documented as evidence of the discussion.
  2. It provides history of recurring issues, or times where an employee has failed to meet the requirements of their role. It captures actions taken or not taken by the employee.
  3. It allows the manager to make non-biased decisions regarding the ongoing employment of an employee.
  4. In the unfortunate event that a former employee elects to pursue legal action against your business, documentation kept regarding the performance management process will provide evidence to support the business’s decisions regarding employment. Ultimately, well-kept documentation could protect your business.

Now that we have covered the Why, let’s look at the How. Your documentation should include:

  • The dates of the discussion and who was present,
  • Details of what was discussed, which may contain:
    • Issues raised,
    • Specific examples,
    • Details of business expectations,
    • Policies or procedures that have been breached,
    • Effects on the team or business,
    • Comments made by the employee responding to the issues raised.
  • Details of actions discussed that require attention, and the target dates for these to be implemented,
  • The final decision from the meeting i.e. issued with a performance warning or a performance improvement plan,
  • The employee’s signature to acknowledge the discussion and any actions agreed upon.

Points to consider when documenting performance meetings:

  • Make your notes as soon as possible following your meeting. This will ensure that you recall the discussion in correct detail,
  • Your notes need to be factual, fair, objective, and consistent,
  • Avoid interpreting employee’s behaviour, and stick to the facts,
  • Always keep your performance documentation confidential. Don’t store it in commonly used folders where it might be exposed to other employees.

Performance Management can be a scary thought for most managers, however it is an important process in any business. If you have any questions or would like to find out how we can help your business with performance management, contact one of our HR consultants today.