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3 Tips to Having Strong Documentation Practices

You know what HR Professionals always say - document, document, document.

Why do we say it? Well, good documentation practices proves standardization when managing employee performance. Each of your employees should have a written record of every onboarding, medical, performance, and disciplinary action taken. Proper recordkeeping is the first line of defense when facing any questions on legal compliance. However, this can only work if you have a process in place for gathering it. Where do you get started? Here are three tips to having strong documentation practices:

1. Yes, you need a Company Handbook

For one, it is absolutely crucial that you have a company handbook that lays out expectations… that is your first form of documentation. This handbook holds the key to what is to be expected of your employees. Additionally, it should be required to have employees review and sign off acknowledging they have read and understood what it's required. You cannot expect standardization in performance disciplinary actions if you do not outline what is to be expected.

2. Stick to the Facts

When documenting employee situations, be sure to stick to the facts and leave any opinions out. Reports must be objective and fact-based. In this case, be sure to focus on the employees actions and not their traits.

3. Be Specific

When filling out documentation, you must ensure that you include dates, times, evidence, who was present in the conversation, etc. The goal is that you want to make sure an outsider looking in can see the full picture clearly that is solely based on your written word.

In the world of HR, if you did not write it down… it did not happen. The goal is to be fair, credible, and consistent when collecting written evidence to support decisions. In order to do this effectively you must have a backbone to fall back on (a company handbook), you must remain objective, and you must be specific when documenting the evidence.

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