Dos & Don’ts of Documenting Employee Behavior & Performance

There is great truth in the saying that managers should Inspect What They Expect. And If it is not Documented, it Didn’t Happen!

There is no question that companies that track employee performance consistently outrank those that fail to do so, by large margins.

In addition, those organizations that fall short in correctly documenting their employee’s shortfalls, as well as remedial measures, set themselves up for litigation when terminating.

ISC’s team of executive recruiters has curated this guide to help employers create a simple process to follow for result-driven employee behavior documentation.

Why is Employee Behavior Documentation Important?

As an employer, manager, or executive, it’s your responsibility to monitor employee performance and the factors affecting it.

Also, you cannot rely on observation to achieve the said goal. Crystal-clear data is required to handle and improve employee behavior and discipline in a workplace. Ignoring the importance of proper documentation can make or break your ability to manage a team, let alone improve its performance.

Here are the three key dos and don’ts you must remember when documenting employee behavior.

1. Stick to the Facts

When documenting an employee’s behavior, you need to focus on the performance, metrics, output, and efficiency of the individual. Keep your judgment entirely objective, as this directly impacts the viability of data.

Avoid subjective words and stick to task-specific recording. Try exhibiting statistical data instead of making vague, wordy reports. Your best bet is to stay objective during behavioral documentation.

2. Align Past Behavior Documents

It is best practice to review the company’s COC and check the person’s old data as you document an employee’s behavior. This helps you understand whether the employee has breached a code before or if it’s their first violation. Aligning past and current data clarifies the picture and assists managers to craft a more effective action plan.

In case of a violation, you must be able to provide proof of misconduct in the form of letters, emails, performance metrics, and colleague relations.

3. Diversify the Documentation Process

Employee behavior documentation isn’t just for direct supervisors. This important responsibility needs to be diversified to achieve a more holistic outcome. Business owners, HR managers, supervisors, TLs, and compliance teams should all work in liaison to assess, track and document employee performance as well as behavior.

This cohesive, team approach proves to be extremely helpful in understanding the different aspects that signaled a particular employee action.



It pays to train your team to consistently document any type of performance or behavioral issues from the very start. Not only to protect yourself from litigation from a wrongful termination suit, but most importantly, ethically you always want to feel that you gave your employee every chance to succeed. With that in mind, strive to always provide clear, achievable daily and weekly goals in order to realistically hit those larger benchmarks.

And when the unfortunate  scenario occasionally occurs when your employee is either unable or unwilling to adjust their performance or behavior, having a solid record of prior attempts at addressing the situation will make all the difference in the world if you are forced to terminate.

When you do find yourself with an open role to fill, please reach out to International Search Consultants to ensure a strong pool of top talent.

Since 1999, ISC has been a leader in executive recruiting services, providing top talent for our clients across the US.

Ann Zaslow-Rethaber is President of International Search Consultants, Our team of 15 experienced recruiters can provide top talent for a variety of roles within SalesFinance, and HR.

Jennifer Crook is an Executive Recruiter with International Search Consultants. Jennifer can be reached via direct dial at 800-319-9670 or email at .