Oh wait… don’t write that down. Did you document that? You wrote what? Where is your documentation? It gets so confusing to our supervisors and leaders as to what needs to be documented and what doesn’t. It is really simple … There are six main events that need to be documented.

  • Coaching Sessions
  • Performance reviews
  • Discipline
  • Termination
  • Complaints
  • Claims

After understanding the events that must be documented, the question I get most often is, “What do I write?” My advice… Stick to the Facts: Who, What, Where, When, How, Why are always important places to start. Be specific and keep your opinion out of the documentation. Remember, anything that is documented may be presented in a court of law. Therefore, be clear in your writing and stick to the facts.

Documentation should be maintained in secured files. If it is a formal document relating to personnel, it should be maintained in the Personnel Files. If it is an informal coaching or discussion regarding improvements, write down what was discussed and expectation that was set and places it in a secure file with the manager.

I am also often asked, “What about signatures?”  It is always important that there are more than 2 people in a room when a formal discussion is being held. The signature request should be made; however, if an employee refuses to sign the document, that is okay. The other two people in the room can sign to confirm the discussion and documentation took place. If an employee refuses to sign the document, I still offer them the opportunity to write their own statement or comment on the document. That serves as a confirmation that the discussion took place even if they disagreed or made a comment.