There are many times when a manager needs to recall facts and information about an employee. During performance reviews and dealing with disciplinary issues top the list. As a manager one tool I have found to be very useful for this task is keeping an employee performance log (PLog) for each of my reports.
An employee performance log is a written record of performance issues, kudos and any other noteworthy incidents you want to have documentation of, or that you want a written record of. It is date and incident type oriented so it is easy to go back and reference for a specific period of time or for a particular type of issue.
Why You Should Keep a Performance Log
A performance log is a memory tool for managers. For example you sit down to write a performance review for John. You can remember John went above and beyond on a project 10 months ago, but you do not remember all of the details.
You need to start progressive discipline on John for his attendance. You know this issue started several months ago and you talked with him about it on a couple of occasions, but you do not remember specific dates or the all of the conversations.
A PLog system solves these problems. With a PLog system the very day John did a good job you jot it down in his PLog with all of the details. You can also record each day John has an attendance issue including dates, times and the details of any conversations or meetings you had with him.
- You can not and should not rely on your memory for such important issues.
- Documentation of incidents for use in disciplinary actions. Human Resources LOVES documentation if you need to begin progressive discipline or move for dismissal.
- For disciplinary actions you have an accurate log with dates and details.
- For performance reviews a PLog is an invaluable source of the good and the bad.
- More than one person can make entries in a PLog. Both a manager and a supervisor should have access to Plogs and add updates.
What to Record in a Performance Log
You should record anything noteworthy, the good and the bad. Be detailed and accurate in recording each incident.
- Job performance issues
- Attendance issues
- Kudos – good work done
- Record of meetings and conversations of note
- Focus on their behavior, performance, conduct and productivity
- Record the date, time, places, people, events and numbers. Be accurate and as detailed as needed.
- Record when goals and expectations are set and anytime discussions are held to follow-up on them. This includes recording performance reviews.
- “Today I observed John…”, “Today John completed his task seven days early”, “Today I spoke with John about…., I said….. He said…..”
What NOT to Record in a Performance Log
A performance log is about the employee, not your opinion of the employee. While it is intended as a memory tool for managers, it could be used in meetings with Human Resources or even in legal proceedings.
- Do not put your opinion or editorial comments in the PLog
- Do not used any language that could be derogatory or discriminatory in a PLog
- Do not enter personal information about the employee. Stick to only work related incidents.
- Do not put anything in a PLog you would not want someone else to read
Employee Performance Log Example
Since an employee performance log is a manager’s memory tool it can be in any format you wish. The format I find the most useful is as follows.
The employee name and title are in the header section so they carry over with each page. To add another entry block press <Enter> under the last entry block to keep a blank line between blocks. Copy and paste an existing block and clear the data or keep a blank entry block in the PLog at all times.
Consistency is the Key
Once you start a PLog system for employees you should keep one for all employees, not just the ones you have issues with. Remember to include the good things they do, not just the bad. You must be consistent with your recording of incidents and in the way you handle them.
A PLog will only be as good as the data you record. When incidents occur you should go and record them right away while they are fresh in your memory. I think over time you will find a PLog system to be an invaluable tool.
Here is an example PLog in Microsoft Word format. Download PLog Template.