A woman takes notes in a notebook while a man reviews documentation

Three Reasons Documentation Matters

We all know documentation is important when it comes to patient information, but did you know it's also essential for HR matters?

Employment issues happen, whether you have one staff member or 2,000. The best way to protect all involved is to be a documentation pro. It’s also important to record positive events and actions to create a complete record of an employee’s performance.

Three Key Reasons to Document, Document, Document

Evaluation of Employee Performance and Progress

Consistent documentation helps employer and employee evaluate performance and progress. One of the basic reasons to document is to track and monitor employee goals, expectations and timelines. Employees have the right to know what is expected of them and how they are doing. Having this information documented makes it clear to both parties what the desired outcome is, and whether there is progress being made.

Helps Avoid Liability

It’s never pleasant to have to let someone go, but if you have accurate and thorough documentation of a released employee’s poor performance, it can help you avoid liability in worst-case scenarios. This evidence will help make the case for termination to third parties who may have an interest, such as state unemployment office.

Provides Fact-Based Information 

It is easier to make decisions based on facts than assumptions. When it is time to promote or add responsibility, having a complete record of employee performance can be extremely useful. It provides a snapshot of attendance, accountability, and innovation that can be valuable. It can also help you quickly spot negative trends.

Additional Resources

There is a great deal of information available at the U.S. Department of Labor. The Society of Human Resource Management (SHRM) is another excellent resource to navigate the complexity of HR compliance and governance. They have local chapters in addition to the national association and there is lots of information on their website.

Setting up procedures to document all things HR is worth the time it takes and should be done as soon as you prepare to hire your first employee. If you’ve already got staff, look at your existing processes and procedures and see if there are areas you could improve for your benefit, and theirs.

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