As a business owner, it’s important to stay on top of performance issues with employees and maintain accurate records of their behavior, achievements, and any disciplinary measures taken. With the help of PEO services, employers can get assistance in creating an effective documentation system that will provide clarity for both the employer and the employee.  

Learn the best practices when it comes to documenting employee behavior, performance, and discipline from our team at Vested HR. 


The Importance of Documenting Employee Behavior  


Accurately documenting employee behavior, performance, and discipline is an essential part of any successful business. The absence of solid documentation is the most common mistake that employers make when handling employee performance, behavior, and discipline.  


Documentation can make or break a manager’s ability to promote,  

discipline, terminate, or reward employees.  



Proper documentation of employee behavior is essential for any organization, but especially for small businesses that lack the resources or expertise to manage HR duties on their own.  


With the help of PEO services, small business owners can ensure that their employees are held accountable and that any issues are handled in a professional and legally sound manner. Documentation is an important part of this process as it serves as evidence should further action be required. 


  • A well-documented record also helps set expectations for current and future employees while ensuring fairness across the workforce.
  • Thorough documentation helps organizations identify potential areas of improvement within their team and make adjustments accordingly. This not only improves productivity but also strengthens employee morale over time. 


When you work with our team at Vested HR, our staff is knowledgeable about the ever-changing laws, regulations, and best practices for handling disciplinary and behavioral issues in the workplace. We can provide training materials and guidance to help ensure compliance with all applicable laws, as well as comprehensive written documentation of any disciplinary action taken. Furthermore, our team can provide sample forms and templates for keeping track of employee performance reviews, goals, and successes. 


The Do’s and Don’ts of Documentation  


Proper documentation is vital in almost every aspect of managing your employees. Remember; poor documentation is worse than no documentation at all. Make sure to document with purpose.  


Here are our top five do’s and don’ts of employee documentation:  


The Do’s 


#1. Do Establish Clear Expectations


Start any relationship with an employee with clearly written performance expectations. This statement of your expectations as their employer will guide every other aspect of the documentation and set standards for which future performance will be measured.  


Your expectations need to be consistent with the employee’s job description and the tasks that are assigned to them. Consistent, clear, and well-written performance expectations are crucial if you want your team members to succeed.  


#2. Do Focus on the Facts


If an employee is being disciplined, provide them with a clear statement of the facts when you are summarizing their policy violation or misconduct. This statement should focus solely on what you know happened and not anything speculative or unverified.  


#3. Review Patterns of Problematic Behavior


It is usually not the first time the employee has experienced a problem when you take the time to write down a performance or behavioral issue at work. Don’t disregard prior occurrences. Every instance of the employee’s problematic behavior should be described in full, along with the steps you took to address the situation.


The same can be said for stellar behavior and performance. Make note of it each time it happens so you can reward or promote your employee in the future.  


#4. Do Create an Action Plan


Make a plan for how your employee can improve if they are falling behind in their performance metrics. The more specific you are, the easier it will be to measure improvement.   


  • What conditions must they meet?
  • Provide a deadline for completing each expectation.


Don’t forget to mention in the paperwork that the employee will face additional disciplinary measures, including dismissal if they fail to achieve the requirements.


#5. Maintain Contact & Follow Up


Documenting an employee’s behavior is only worth it if you follow up. The action plan won’t be effective if you put an employee on a formal corrective action plan but never follow up. Put it on your calendar so you don’t forget to follow up, or outsource your HR to make sure everything happens on time.  



The best practice is to set specific performance criteria with a specific time frame for them to be completed, and then undertake a formal review during that timeframe. 


The Don’ts 


#1. Don’t Generalize


Formal documentation should not include generalizations like dismissing an employee for “not being a team player” or another cliche. You must give precise examples of the problematic behavior.


#2. Don’t Attempt to Determine Why an Employee is Acting Poorly


Don’t try to answer the “why” when you start documenting employee performance issues. even if you believe it might be a result of their social life, divorce, or financial position. Refrain from including your “diagnose” in any official papers.


#3. Don’t Include Editorial Commentary 


Inexperienced supervisors frequently make the error of incorporating their editorial observations or subjective opinions in performance reports.


Let’s say en employee receives a written warning for disobeying a superior. Give the employee a specific account of your instructions rather than just saying, “I felt my orders were clear,” If you respond in the negative, you may not have been as clear as you believed. When discussing human resources, stick to the facts and nothing else.


#4. Don’t Embellish the Truth 


If you have to chastise an employee, be careful not to exaggerate what happened. Slight embellishments have a way of becoming exaggerated, and you can find yourself justifying a falsehood.


  • Don’t refer to dishonesty as fraud.
  • Never accuse a worker of stealing when they have made an error.


Work with your HR rep to know exactly what to do in each unique situation. We’ll help guide you on the right path.  


#5. Don’t Apologize   


Never apologize for applying consequences. All of your employees will be held to the same standards thanks to your efforts, and if an employee doesn’t do their job as expected, they will suffer the repercussions.


Related > Dealing with Employee Burnout in the Workplace 


Document Your Employee’s Behavior  


Documenting employee behavior, performance, and discipline is an important responsibility for any employer. Although this task can be daunting, a Professional Employer Organization (PEO) like Vested HR can help employers manage the process.  


Keep your employees happy and motivated. Call our team at Vested HR for an evaluation today at  (844) 928-0925 or (727) 474-2114!