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Why managers should take notes?

Fair Work states that a manager will find taking notes being “useful for keeping a record of your meetings and discussions with employees. Employers are advised to always keep written records throughout the process of managing performance or conduct issues”

Notes can be comprehensive, bullet points or just a diary note. The more comprehensive the information, the more valuable they are in capturing a full picture of the situation.

Notes give context to performance and may be both positive and negative, they provide a basis for providing ongoing feedback for your employees. Clear notes provide a timeline and may be helpful for your regular review time, as well as during conversations managing performance and/or conduct issues. Notes allow you to have future meaningful discussions.

Taking notes also allows you to record concrete examples of behaviour whether it is encouraging or undesirable. All conversations on performance and conduct need specifics and examples to support the conversation.

Notes assist managers with preparation for a conversation, creating discussion points between managers and employees and allowing you to review your last discussion, enabling both parties to move forward with the next steps.

Notes are a clear record of expectations and objectives set as well as comments by all parties involved. It is important in your notes during performance discussions to not only record your comments, but also the employees. Notes may also include training required, objectives and deadlines set and will be the basis for formal information e.g. performance letters, provided to the employee.

Helpful notes will include:

  1. Employee Name

  2. Date and time

  3. Incident details

  4. Persons involved

  5. Objectives set and dates for completion

  6. Action Taken

As we have mentioned above, notes may include both positive and negative performance/conduct. If you observe a positive behaviour, let the employee know and write it down. If you observe a behaviour you that want changed, you need to speak to the employee as well as make a note.

Note taking allows the manager to have an honest, factual and unbiased conversation with the employee, that celebrates the successes and corrects behaviour that needs improvement.

Providing feedback to employees provides great rewards, particularly when you see an employee grow and develop.

Remember notes can be comprehensive, bullet points, or just a diary note, they can be stored on paper, google drive, excel spreadsheet – however and whatever works for you and the compilation of the notes.


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