The purpose of the Paper Trail

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    I have spent a great deal of time writing about the paper trail. My previous two posts discuss steps in overcoming it and building a culture of performance. So often, Human Resource (HR) professionals must provide the legal voice concerning employee issues in the organization. This duty of being the legal voice is oftentimes seen as the most important function of the HR department by not only the department members but by the entire company including senior leadership. With an increase in cases being filed against managers and companies and with the high costs of litigation, its importance is definitely clear. There is no question that organizations need to take the necessary steps to mitigate these risks.

    The following two blogs also discuss the idea of the paper trail:

    Creating a Paper Trail Supports Discipline and Discharge Decisions written by Devora Lindeman

    The Paper Trail: The Strongest Defense against Wrongful Termination Suits written by K. Lerner

    Both blogs discuss the paper trail from a legal standpoint. (Again, this is the voice most often heard by the HR department.) Despite the fact that these blog posts support creating a paper trail, while I am discussing overcoming it, the advice held within is very similar. Documentation is important. Let me rephrase, that accurate, fair, unbiased documentation is important. However, making performance management all about the document and not about the employee and their role in meeting organizational objectives clouds the very purpose of performance management.

    What do you think? What is the purpose of performance management? What tips do you have for building a performance culture? Do you work in a performance culture or a paper trail culture?

    Your thoughts and comments are encouraged! Subscribe to the blog to hear further tips on overcoming the paper trail. What other topics of interest do you have for future blogs?


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    Sheri Mazurek is a training and human resource professional with over 16 years of management experience, and is skilled in all areas of employee management and human resource functions, with a specialty in learning and development. She is currently employed as the Human Resource Manager at EmployeeScreenIQ, a global leader in pre-employment background screening.