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Most HR professionals recognize the importance of documenting employees’ performance problems. Their challenge is to teach managers how to document those issues in an appropriate manner, attorney Allison West told attendees during her June 22 concurrent session at the Society for Human Resource Management 2016 Annual Conference & Exposition in Washington, D.C.“The mindset is critical,” said West, SHRM-SCP, SPHR, principal with Employment Practices Specialists in Pacifica, Calif.The purpose of documenting performance problems properly isn’t just to protect the employer in case a worker files a lawsuit. It’s also “to show the steps we’ve taken to help someone be successful,” said West, who provides training, conducts workplace investigations and serves as an expert witness for employers and employees in legal disputes.Good documentation creates credibility for the employer by showing that employees are treated in a fair and consistent manner, she said. Some common mistakes include:
She shared these seven rules for creating “bulletproof” documentation:
Her final tip: Remember to prepare documentation with the expectation that a third party (internal or external) will review it. Include enough information so others know what happened and what steps were taken to put the employee on notice and offer the individual an opportunity to correct performance.Dori Meinert is senior writer/editor for HR Magazine.
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