To Record or Not

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NotizenMany HR professionals advocate the recording of disciplinary and grievance meetings. Some even say management should record appraisals.

Here are two very good reasons why management should think very carefully before recording anything.


The management task involves gaining and sustaining the trust and confidence of employees. Once gained, management has earned the right to manage. Some rights are enshrined in law and in the written employment contract documents that both parties sign. But mostly the right to manage is contained in the psychological contract.

The psychological contract is all the unwritten expectations and tacit agreements between employees and management. A sound psychological contract builds trust and confidence. The psychological contract is fragile. Damage to the psychological contract damages trust and confidence between the parties.

Those acting for employees will make hay with heavy handed, disproportionate management behaviour (such as recording and transcribing) that degrades trust and confidence.


Meetings held to progress normal management activities of appraisal, disciplinary and grievance are part of a continuum of management tools.

They are not courts of law.

These meetings are discussions in which management is trying to understand what has happened. At the end of such meetings, management will make a management decision. That decision is on the basis of reasonable belief.

Decision on the basis of reasonable belief is a position to be protected, placed at risk by adoption of procedures (such as recording and transcribing) from adversarial worlds.

Universal recording drives management and employees to be universally adversarial. Normal management is not adversarial. Few management meetings are escalated to tribunal and managers should not routinely use courtroom practices in day-to-day meetings.

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