Saving Money (and time)


Printed Handbooks - a thing of the past...

An employee handbook has traditionally been a printed document in a ring binder that either sits on a shelf and gathers dust or is issued to employees when they first start, never to be looked at again!

The initial aim of the printed handbook is to meet legal requirements and allow an employer to be able to manage and deal with any 'misconduct' or 'rule breaking'.  A good handbook will also aim to act as a real communication document to employees giving them general information about the Company they are working for and what is expected of them in terms of standards.

The problem is that as soon as you print and issue your employee handbook it is probably out of date because employment law changes so often.

The main problem then is how do you update it, keep it up-to-date and communicate those updates to employees. No wonder we see so many handbooks that have information in them that is no longer 'legal' or compliant or is just down right out of date.  This may include compulsory retirement procedures or statements (there is no longer a compulsory retirement age), verbal warnings in disciplinary procedures (there is no longer a requirement for this in the ACAS code) or reference to the statutory dismissal procedures (this was repealed years ago) or reference to legislation that has been updated (for example, the Disability Discrimination Act and other discrimination legislation has now all been replaced with the Equality Act).

The next problem with your printed handbook is the cost of producing it. You will either do this in-house (so someone has to 'photo-copy' the handbook for each new starter!), or you send it out to your printers which takes time and costs more money.

Now, if you are going to have a printed handbook you do have to think about the impression this will give to employees, i.e. what does it say about how you approach HR if you hand them a 'scruffy photo-copied' handbook? So if you are going to have a printed handbook, please spend the money printing it professionally to give it the importance is deserves and sends the right message that 'we take HR seriously'.

Remember that your handbook is also an internal marketing tool. If you have glossy brochures for your customers telling them all about the Company and a scruffy photocopy for your employees, what does that say about how much you value your employees!!

However, if you do not want the expense of printing your handbook (in time and printing costs) and you do not want to have to keep updating it (with the associated time, research and updating this involves), then you need to consider Your HR Services.

It will always be up to date, branded for your Company, keeps your employees informed and it says that you take HR very seriously.

Gina Bartley. You can contact Gina on


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