Thursday, November 29, 2012

Documentation of Performance: Think "Who", What", "When", "How"

Have you written documentation that looks like this and have it tossed in the trash?" "The employee ignores me and does not respect me as a supervisor." Whether you realize it or not, documentation is useless for its intended purpose. Most people who read your documentation would know you're frustrated, but would have to ask questions to understand what you are referring to with this employee. There's your clue! The need to ask "how," "what," or "when" points to the limitations of your documentation.  To make it more useful, think in terms of your five senses.  In this case, what do you see or hear that demonstrates disrespect?  Phrases like "does not respect" and "ignore" describe behaviors you've witnessed, so these should be included in your documentation.  More effective documentation might read: "The employee demonstrates disrespect by gesturing with her hand that she will not listen to what I am saying, and she turns and walks away when I am speaking to her."