To be successful, employee feedback should not be an annual or even quarterly event. It should be a routine part of a manager’s day. In the same way, managers should make documentation of employee performance, behavior and discipline a regular habit.
It’s OK if this documentation is informal, e.g., handwritten notes tossed in an employee’s file. But documentation should always include the dates and names of all parties involved.
As with any documentation, managers should stick to the facts and stay objective when documenting discipline, avoiding opinions.
Strong documentation will be especially important if an employee or ex-employee ever files a legal complaint saying his or her termination or discipline was based on illegal discrimination (race, age, gender, disability, religion, etc.). Sound, ongoing documentation by management will prove that performance—not bias—was the reason for the firing.