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Putting That in Writing? Better Read This First.

Posted on: November 8th, 2011 | Category: Employment Administration, HR DirectLink Service, Human Resources, Our Blog, Talent Management, Terminations

Just the facts, people. Just the facts.Before you write your next review, incident report or any other human resources written records, please read “The 4 Most Serious Sins of Documentation” over at HR Daily Advisor by Steve Bruce. It gives excellent advice about how not to write official documentation in order to avoid possible problems later on down the line. The tips 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.

hireVision’s president and CEO Tina Hamilton 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? hireVision’s HR Partnering Services and Hiring Management Service can help. Contact us today for a frank discussion on how to manage your unique human resources needs.


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