5 Reasons Managers Should Document Notes on Employees

Employees are constantly dropping little hints about themselves, whether it be job satisfaction, career aspirations, development goals, or just tidbits about their personal life. Much of the time they don’t even realize they are…but smart managers do. They’re constantly making mental notes to help engage employees in the future.

But managers also have a lot on their plates. Those mental notes can easily be forgotten, leading to unforeseen consequences down the road.

Don’t leave employee engagement to chance. Utilize these valuable observations to augment your engagement strategy. Document mental notes on employees within the tool so you can quickly reference and use them later. 

Here's why you should keep notes on employees...

Retain top talent. 

The last thing you want is a highly valued employee taking another job because they didn’t feel challenged or saw their ceiling capped at your organization. Such resignations may seem to come out of the blue, but the employee likely made comments over time that hinted at their dissatisfaction or wish to take on new responsibilities. Maybe they expressed a desire to attend a conference (but didn’t get to) or mentioned that they’d been in their current position for several years without movement. Keeping notes allows you to tie those micro moments together and realize when an employee desires more responsibility or is a flight risk.

Get to know your employees. 

You learn something new about an employee in nearly every conversation: the names of their children, their favorite football team, what they like to do on the weekends, etc. In an ideal world, you could accurately store these personal notes in your mind, but it’s difficult to remember everything, especially for managers of larger teams. Take notes so you can bring up or ask about topics important to an employee. This makes them feel valued and that you care about them, boosting engagement.

Help employees say what they don’t know how to. 

Some employees are very direct about their desires and aren’t afraid to voice them. But others may be more introverted, or they may not feel their vision is clear enough to bring up to you. Perhaps the employee doesn’t even realize what they really want because they don’t know the opportunities or resources available to them. When you take notes on employee desires and motivations, you can put the puzzle pieces together and uncover what they really want.

Don’t miss a moment. 

It may seem unrealistic for employees to expect you to remember every conversation you have with them… but that’s exactly what they do. If you discuss a topic, whether work-related or personal, and forget it, employees feel like you don’t care about them. Maybe they mention they’re interested in borrowing a development book you’re reading, but you forget to give it to them when you’re done, and give it to someone else. Or you continually have to ask what day their upcoming wedding is on. When you forget those details, it creates a very disengaging experience for the employee.

Better develop employees. 

The more you understand about each team member, the more you can help them grow. Reviewing documented notes might reveal a pattern you didn’t notice at first. You’ll recognize employee strengths and skillsets, allowing you to select growth opportunities, new roles, and stretch assignments to help them improve.