How to Document Employee Performance

In all cases when you are in a role where you are managing others, it is important to pay attention to employee performance. Though this seems like something you can track while just roaming around the office that is not the case with long term employees. It is important to follow a few simple steps to keeping track of the performance of all employees at all times. The 4 things you need to constantly re-establish with your employees are:

  •          Expectations
  •          Policy
  •          Attention
  •          Documentation

Your employee must at all times be aware of your expectations, and policy. This one is obvious. You must also pay attention to each employee – to be able to understand if they are struggling, progressing, or simply doing what they are meant to. The last step is very important. Documentation. It is crucial to keep a written record of all employee performance events. In any case of dismissal or promotion this will come in very handy. Maintaining a file for each employee is not difficult, and saves you a lot of stress in the long run. It is important to keep up to date and actually take the time to make notes throughout different events week to week. Keep a performance log for each employee that you add to constantly.

Here is a chart of what you should and should not include in your performance logs:


Do NOT Include

Positive contribution, and work effort

Rumors of employee’s personal life

Professional assessment of employee work

Theories of employee behaviour

Record of when employees were late, and absent

Info about ethnicity, family, beliefs, medical history

Disciplinary meetings, actions, and results

Unsubstantial complaints about the employee

Employee response to issues and situations



Keep in mind that all of the above mentioned in the ‘Included’ section should be documented as they happen. Make sure you document matters as they occur, and point out highlights of the conversations or meetings that might otherwise be forgotten. Things that can be highlighted are warnings issued, commitments promised, etc. Make sure while documenting you jot down who handled each situation and how. Make sure when you are logging that you are somewhat detaching yourself from the content on a personal level. Write in a factual manner without involving any opinionated commentary. Also include as much proof as you can. Include complaint letters, copies of time cards, examples of work, and any other documentation that can back up your content. Write in a manner that you are stating observations, not opinions.

If you follow the guide above and maintain your documents daily, you won’t run into any trouble in the long run. There are several laws protecting employees and if you don’t have performance documentation you might land yourself in it when an employee decides to turn on you. Make sure you have done your research on what does and doesn’t call for immediate dismissal. In closing you should always have the employee review and sign your log to avoid any confusion or mishaps in the future. With your research behind you and facts to back everything up you can have the comfort of your business running smoothly, and happier employees.