Maintaining a performance file or log may sound time-consuming, but the time is well worth it at the end of an employee's review period. Rather than relying on memory, you can refer to a long list of concrete examples. Evaluating performance becomes as easy as adding up the numbers.
No one likes to tell employees they aren't performing up to par. But surprisingly, managers who maintain performance files tend to rate employees more favorably because they're reminded of the worker's many contributions throughout the reporting period. Documentation takes the edge off; it gives you evidence to support your conclusions.
When you approach the review armed with an employee log, you no longer place yourself in the position of judge. Instead, you can examine an objective record of events and come to a meaningful assessment.
They also provide a valuable educational tool to help employees improve performance. As you review examples of positive and negative behavior, you reinforce your expectations and provide relevant examples.