Many times managers address issues with employees, but they forget to “tie it with a bow.”

Deficient documentation can take many forms. Perhaps the manager has a discussion with an employee, but doesn’t send a confirming email to confirm that discussion and the expectations going forward. Or they will take some cryptic notes, but don’t formalize a message to Human Resources, so HR can evaluate if discipline is warranted. Or they issue a verbal reprimand, but never a formal Corrective Action Form. Or the documents drafted are too casual, or lack facts, or don’t clearly state what will happen if the conduct doesn’t change. Or the disciplinary memo is drafted, but it is never signed and put in the personnel file. Or the documentation isn’t filed where future managers (or HR) can find it! The examples of documentation gone wrong are endless.

Proper documentation may not be glamorous, but it is important. That is why my colleagues recently put on a helpful webinar all about it. Check out the materials here, and the recording here.

In the meantime, please make sure to prepare your employment documents (including those texts and emails) as if they were evidence in a lawsuit, and will be blown up and shown to a jury. Does the message look professional? Clearly state what you need it to? Is it too emotional? If not as good as it can be, fix it before you hit send.

If you are going to wrap the gift, don’t forget to add the bow!