Performance Management Documentation

Performance Management Documentation


Hi, I’m Sheryl Wolowyk from myHRpro and this human resources video is one of a series on performance management. Today I’m going to give you important information on a very crucial part of performance management, and that crucial part is documentation.


How does your organization document everything that happens with your staff? Sticky notes in a file? Or, should the question be: does your organization document incidents that happen?


With Alberta’s growing economy, organizations are increasingly becoming busier and understaffed. At the time it may seem unimportant to document key events that happens with your staff, but brushing off this task can have huge implications down the road.


So what am I talking about when I say documentation? Documentation includes:

  • Any notes from a performance appraisal or performance improvement plan
  • Notes from or about a conversation a manager or supervisor has had with a staff member
  • Notes about an incident or serious mistake a staff member has made
  • Reports from colleagues or other management about problems they have had with a staff member
  • Warnings and consequences you have given your staff members if their performance does not improve
  • And don’t forget the good stuff! Notes about huge successes or progress a staff member has made in their positions or for the organization.


Now that you know what you should be documenting within your performance management system, I’ll tell you how to document it:

  1. First, your organization should have a system set-up that defines how this documentation will be kept. For example, who will be able to access this information? Only your HR manager? only your manager? your supervisors?
  2. Second, create a standard form for your documentation: Always include the date, the people involved in the conversation, the department (if applicable), the basic scenario of what happened, what the implications are, what the reactions of the employee were, the consequences of what will happen (depending on what the conversation is about) and what kind of follow-up is necessary. This may seem like a lot of information to write down, but believe me, 6 months afterwards, key information will be forgotten or remembered differently by each person involved.
  3. Thirdly, after you create this document, store it according to your organizational policy and share it with those concerned (such as the employees themselves).


So, now you know what to document, and how to document it; now I’m going to tell you 2 reasons why your performance management system needs these records.

  1. The first reason you should document key information within your performance management system is for when you conduct an annual performance appraisal. When it comes time to prepare for that meeting, well, half the work is already done! Performance appraisals are linked to compensation, promotions, benefits, and so on, so the information in these documents will help you make a decision about whether or not your staff member will be …say…receiving a raise or a promotion. Furthermore, with this documentation, it may become more apparent what type of coaching or additional training your staff members require in order to have performance improvement
  2. The second reason you should document key occurrences that happens with a staff member is in case you have to terminate someone. Normally organizations have a system in place for terminating a staff member, and governments also have regulations that businesses must follow (oh, and don’t forget the unions). By documenting all the events that happened with the employee, you now have evidence to support your actions, in case the disgruntled employee decides they were fired without cause and sends a lawyer to your door.


Now that you know what to document, why to document it, and a few important reasons why your performance management system needs documentation, I want to further help you by giving you a free outline you can use. Visit our website at to download a form that you can use as a template to document all your critical events. On the website you’ll also find other hr forms, hr articles, and more tips and helpful information.