Staff Supervision - Are You Doing It Right?

I am often asked to explain why supervision is so important, and what represents 'best practice' in terms of monitoring staff, gathering evidence, and keeping records.

I thought it would be worthwhile outlining my thoughts in a handy how to guide. If you have any questions arising from this guide, please let me know.


How To: Assessing & Monitoring Individuals

A key part of the supervisor’s role within a business is to assess and monitor members of their team. This is important as it allows you to identify gaps which we might consider risks to the business. This is not to say that someone working for you is a danger to your business (they might be if you left them unsupervised), but through efficient supervision, you can quickly spot the gaps and help put them right in a considered and measured manner.

There are several key factors relating to both assessment and monitoring of staff under your supervision:

  1. Evidence

From first-hand experience of working with many different businesses of all shapes and sizes – I have found that this is an area where firms do fall short.

Any judgement a supervisor makes should be supported by as much evidence as possible.

Why is Evidence Important?

Evidence is important because:

  • - It provides the important details and examples of what happened during the observation when giving feedback. To say, “I thought that it was good” is of little value unless the supervisor can explain why it was good or bad;
  • - It will ensure the supervisor has a permanent record of the reasons why they came to a decision;
  • - It can be used where there are disputes about what was seen or how a decision was reached.

What Evidence?

When conducting an assessment, it is important that the supervisor takes notes as it all happens - these are referred to as contemporaneous notes. The notes should describe;

  • - What was said
  • - What happened

Taking notes in this way ensures that the supervisor can give specific and valuable feedback that looks at not only whether a behaviour was good or not good, but also why it was so. It also provides evidence that the supervisor can present to an employee who does not agree, or was not aware that something happened.

Evidence is also vital when monitoring. In this context it can comprise:

  • - Written records of meetings;
  • - Key Performance Indicator data (KPIs);
  • - Examination results;
  • - Assessments;
  • - Training records;
  • - Activity on online learning platforms, such as the Development Zone.
  1. Keep Good Records

Evidence is great, but remember the adage, ‘If it isn’t written down then it didn’t happen.’

It is important to record what happens at meetings between the supervisor and team members. This will enable supervisors to look back at the records to remind themselves of issues raised, will demonstrate that issues were discussed, and will ensure that any misunderstandings are kept to a minimum.

Meeting notes should capture the following:

  • - The key points discussed;
  • - The outcome of the discussions;
  • - Actions agreed.

Many companies design specific forms to record meeting notes.

Hopefully, this article will help you understand why supervision is important. Your employees react well to effective supervision as it is central to their own development. Think back to a time when you had an ineffective supervisor. How did it make you and your own colleagues feel? How did it affect your work and did you enjoy working there?

Training and Competence, including Supervision, is a passion of mine. If you would like to discuss how RWA can help you embed an engaging and reliable supervision programme into your business, then please do connect and get in touch by submitting an enquiry via the contact page.

Business Manager


About the author

Kirk joined RWA in 2015, having worked in the financial services sector for many years. He started out in both the general insurance and mortgage advice arms of HSBC, before becoming the Compliance Officer at Go Compare and Training & Competence Manager at Optimum Credit. 

At RWA, Kirk supports clients by looking after their compliance and training and competence needs and keeping them up to date with regulatory changes. He promotes the achievement of fair customer outcomes and specialises in designing and implementing T&C schemes for firms of all sizes.

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