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If it’s not documented, it didn’t happen!

Our obsession (yes, we know we’re obsessed) with note taking and documentation started within the first couple of weeks of starting Keeping HR Simple.

Working with a brand-new client who had dismissed an employee for gross misconduct some months previously, they wanted to talk through the process they had followed leading up to and including the dismissal.

We were pleasantly surprised, the process seemed robust and it appeared, at least on the surface, that it had been a safe dismissal.

The trouble started when the employee engaged a solicitor to act on their behalf.  The solicitor asked our client for the documentation and notes from the disciplinary meetings and investigations that had been carried out prior to the dismissal.

Upon checking the file our client found a contract of employment, 2 annual leave requests, a return to work interview form (completed) and the dismissal letter but nothing else.

Our client didn’t have a leg to stand on and paid an undisclosed amount to the ex-employee as a result.

That was the day we started using the phrase “If it’s not documented, it didn’t happen!”

Many years after this lesson we are still fastidious when it comes to documentation, note taking and record keeping and encourage our clients to be the same.

This goes for every level of management in a business, whether you are a team leader or the Managing Director.  If you have a discussion with an employee about their conduct, productivity, attendance or anything else related to their employment you must at the very least take some notes and retain them on the employee’s file, whether electronic or paper based.

The Simple Take is:  If it’s not documented, it didn’t happen!

If your business isn’t correctly documenting conversations and meetings relating to HR or you are not sure you have the correct documentation for new employees talk to us about our new HR Documentation Templates.

If you need help with exiting documentation contact us today on 01487 815720.

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Keeping HR Simple Limited is a company registered in England and Wales with company number 6981705. The registered address is c/o Moore Thompson, Bank Chambers, 27A Market Place, Market Deeping, Peterborough, Cambs, PE6 8EA