Death of the paper HR manual would save UK over ??297 million and 100,000 trees

Written by
Changeboard Team

18 Jan 2010

18 Jan 2010 • by Changeboard Team

For many years, the printed employee manual has been the cornerstone of Human Resources. However with the move to digital channels, changing business priorities and the green agenda, they are becoming an expensive anachronism. Analysis by Transversal shows that moving the HR manual online will save UK organisations ??297 million and over 100,000 trees - more than in Sherwood Forest.

Additionally, moving the company manual online makes it much easier for employees to access information and frees up the time of HR staff so that they can move to a strategic role as well as dealing with more complex queries.

In a digital age, large and complex manuals simply dont match how people wish to receive information, said Davin Yap, CEO, Transversal. Staff normally have specific questions and want to receive focused, accurate answers rather than looking through pages and pages of general information. A manual is out-of-date from the minute it is printed as such the HR department need to embrace more innovative, web-based ways to communicate with employees.

HR departments shifting company manuals online need to follow five key rules to ensure usability by staff:

Searchable and interactive: Having a searchable knowledgebase of answers accessible via a companys intranet makes the experience much more engaging. Information can also be kept up to date by saving and publishing staffs responses ensuring an organic growth of content.

Understand real English: Staff should be able to type in questions using natural language searches, rather than being limited to keywords, which can sometimes mislead users to the wrong areas of a site.

Up to date: Unlike paper manuals that are expensive to update, online manuals can be modified at any time therefore HR departments can ensure that they are kept up to date with changes in policy or legislation.

Available 24x7: Online manuals give employees a channel to anonymously ask questions 24/7.

Ability to escalate: If for some reason there is not an answer available, the system should immediately offer the employee the option to escalate their query via email/ phone to an appropriate member of HR staff.

The Human Resources department is changing. HR staff have moved on from the days of just personnel management. said Yap. They are under increasing pressure to become cost-effective, to improve its services to the rest of the company; and to implement and address the key business drivers of the organisation. Replacing HR manuals with an online interactive HR manual not only save money and the environment, but also free up the time of HR staff to enable them to take a more strategic role in company management.

There are approximately 67,500 trees in Sherwood Forest via:

Transversals research found that moving to online manuals would save:

  • ??297 million With each of the 21.26 million UK employees receiving one manual per year at an average price of ??14 per manual, the cost of printing manuals alone is ??297.64 million.
  • 102, 048 trees - The average HR manual is 40 pages and one tree makes 8,333.3 sheets of paper (or 208 manuals). With 21.26 million people in UK employment 102,048 trees are therefore cut down currently to provide the paper for manuals.