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Putting That in Writing? Better Read This First.

Posted on: November 14th, 2013 | Category: Employee Relations, HR DirectLink Service, HR Documentation, Human Resources, Our Blog, Terminations

HR Documentation: Just the facts, people. Just the facts.

Just the facts, people. Just the facts.


Oh, the joy that is HR Documentation.

Sarcasm: That’s how you do it.

All joking aside, before you write your next review, incident report or any other human resources written records, we recommend that you read “The 4 Most Serious Sins of Documentation” by Steve Bruce over at HR Daily Advisor. The article gives excellent advice about how not to write down official documentation in order to avoid possible problems later on down the line.

The tips offered in the post include this gem:

Avoid Editorializing

Again, it’s better to stick with the facts, says [principal at Employment Practices Specialists in Pacifica, California, attorney Allison] West. For example, say Beth explained she was late, again, because of car problems. You write:

  • Beth is late again. More lame excuses.

Or say that Jorge is struggling to understand the new accounts payable software. You write:

  • Jorge is unwilling to put in the time to master the software.

Editorializing hurts the writer’s credibility, shows bias, and indicates that the writer is uncaring about the employee’s issues or success. “The jury will snarl at you,” West says.


myHR Partner’s president Tina Hamilton, PHR, agrees, and adds, “I advise our clients to always err on the side of Dragnet, and the ‘just the facts, ma’am’ mentality when they are documenting anything that could potentially be used in some kind of arbitration on litigation someday.” Be factual, concise and leave your opinions and emotions off the page, she recommends. “That’s not just being cautious, that’s also being just plain old professional.”

Need help managing your employee documentation issues or other HR functions? We can help. Contact us today to discuss how to manage your unique human resources needs.


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