This week was a rerun of the episode “Golden Ticket,” where we learned that Dwight keeps a diary, mostly about what Michael does. While I’m not recommending that you document every little thing the people in your office (and particularly your boss!) do, the episode is a good reminder about the importance of documentation.
It is to an employer’s benefit to immediately document workplace performance issues. For one thing, a supervisor’s documentation will be the best evidence of what actually happened at the time, rather than asking the supervisor to recall incidents that may have happened weeks or months ago during an employee’s review period. And when it’s time to terminate an employee for work performance issues, employers need to be able to prove that the issues existed in the first place. Documenting the issues in writing bolsters an employer’s credibility and also demonstrates that the employee was not subjected to harsh discipline without warning (or, in Dwight’s situation, asked to fall on his sword). On a more practical level, it’s important to remember that the employee’s supervisor may not be working for the company when it’s time to discipline or terminate the employee, but the written reprimands and other key documentation will still be there.