Attention HR: It’s not just about the new hires

This story comes from a colleague of mine who’s making considerable progress in improving internal communications despite roadblocks from Human Resources.  Here’s the situation: HR spent over a year compiling a new employee handbook.  And the internal communications officer recommended it be distributed to all employees (to have everyone “on the same page”).

But it was not to be.  Since policies are likely to change, HR didn’t want to distribute the new & improved handbook to everyone; it was just for new employees.  And for everyone else?  They could find it on the organization’s web (according to my colleague, “buried” is more like it) in a 60+ page PDF.

What’s the message to existing staff?  You’ve been here so long, you don’t need your own copy.

I understand HR’s concern with putting out a document subject to continuous updating … it’s the nature of the beast.  But would it have been so terrible to distribute the handbook en masse – with a disclaimer about possible changes being posted on the web?  (Or if cost was an issue, giving employees the option of getting it in print or on-line?)

Sadly, with its selective distribution of the employee handbook, HR missed the opportunity to reinforce the value of ALL the organization’s employees.

2 Comments

  • Sybil February 28, 2006 Reply

    Way to go, Brad, especially in getting wide distribution of the “courtesy” copies. The update disclaimer is a great idea. Thanks for sharing your experience.

  • Brad Bellaver February 28, 2006 Reply

    I faced the same dilemma. After A LOT of negotiation (and some leadership back-up) I was able to get the new handbooks distributed. I got HR to agree to the idea as long as we positioned the hard copy as a “courtesy” to employees. However, the “real” (up-to-date) version is the PDF document on-line.
    We put the disclaimer on stickers on the inside cover and the language is also in the waiver employees sign.

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