TimelessTime consultants have represented many firms at tribunal. We’ve supported principals and managers in cases when the firm was in the right but the plaintiff employee got the upper hand simply because of procedural errors on the part of managers in the firm.
There’s often one simple cause – principals and managers don’t write things down. They don’t document the various discussions with employees. They don’t prepare for meetings and document what they hope to achieve, then don’t document what they actually said and what was actually done. They don’t use daybooks.
A Simple Change
If we could change anything about how managers deal with employees it would be one thing: that all managers use daybooks. A day book is a hard-backed book in which the manager makes note of everything he or she does during each day; every discussion, every phone call, every doodle or scribble whilst thinking. Then when asked to recall what happened, it’s all there.
We’ve seen some who are masters at the art of daybooks. And we’ve seen many who are just adequate. However you aspire to use daybooks, here are some useful tips.
- Use a thick, hard-backed book of quality paper. Don’t use loose leaf.
- Number and date your day-books. You’ll likely use several per year.
- Have your staff and managers use daybooks.
- Remember daybooks are your company’s property so keep them safe.
- Date each entry. Some folk number each entry sequentially.
- Just capture the key points. Do drawings.
- Keep a glue stick handy and paste in any papers of external origin.
- Be free about what you log in the book. It’s your book. You set the format.
- If your day precludes a decent sized day-book, keep a small daybook/jotter and transfer pages.
The daybook comes into its own when looking back over events. How many times did you talk to Joanne about coming in late? When was it that you discussed training with Bill? And did you really promise Sash a pay rise at the meeting on the 3rd June?
Once you start, you’ll realise you can never be without your day-book – however much you might love your laptop, there’s no substitute for the pen and paper when it comes to capturing your day-to-day activities.
Whilst we advocate daybooks for managers and the management function, their use doesn’t end at logging conversations with staff.
Daybooks are a useful addition to a computer for every aspect of every worker’s life. For those working in an otherwise electronic world, don’t forget that you can always scan your daybook pages and save to your prescribed stores.
Keep your daybooks for ever.