Financing Your Personnel Handbook

When determining costs, consider printing consultant and attorney fees

Whether it’s done in-house or outsourced to an agency specializing in human resources, putting together an employee manual will cost you. Just how much depends on several factors, including the size of your operation, whether a consultant will be used to aid the project and the source of printing. Attorney fees are an additional cost, but well worth it. Lawyers review the document for local and federal statutes as well as discriminatory language.

Donald Clark, past senior vice president of the Black Human Resources Network, says creating a handbook in-house, compared with outsourcing the entire project, provides some savings, yet it can still be costly. He estimates that businesses with less than 100 employees may spend $2,500$3,000 to create the manual. This includes the use of how-to guides (which can be purchased in local bookstores for $100 or less) and binding and printing (which may run $500-$600 if done outside of the company). Clark also says printing the manual in-house will be slightly less, but advises businesses to seek an outside printing house for the best possible production.

The human resources director is responsible for creating the manual inhouse, but more than one person within the organization can help. Whether your company is large or small, Clark suggests using a how-to guide, which will walk you step by step through the manual’s format and basic items. “That’s the easy way to do it, and, in many ways, that’s what a consultant would do,” he says.

Of course, bringing in a consultant to create the handbook is another option, but this can prove to be costly, particularly for larger companies. “If you have a medium- to large-size company, consultants would probably charge you $65 an hour,” says Clark. Armentha “Mike” Cruise, president of Aspen Per- sonnel Services in Takoma Park, Maryland, hired a human resource consultant. Cruise, who has 300 full-time employees, says after the book was complete she had spent $13,000. Consultant and attorney fees combined cost $12,000 and another $1,000 for printing and production costs. Cruise notes that she did some of the work in-house, but not every business has the luxury or expertise to create the book themselves. This is where Leslie Rienzie, owner and president of the Rienzie Group in Oak Park, Illinois, steps in.

The three-year-old Rienzie Group provides a variety of human resource services, which include the developing of workplace policies and procedures, and writing and reviewing employee handbooks. “A company will call me and say, `I have an employee manual and I need to update it,’” explains Rienzie, who charges $75-$ 115 an hour per review. To actually write the manual, Rienzie charges $105 per hour. In terms of time, she says, “You’re looking at perhaps 40 hours” [to complete the whole manual]. And for a company with maybe 300 employees, it may cost $12-$15 per book.”
To locate companies specializing in human resources management, contact the American Management Association (800-262-9699) or the Society for Human Resource Management (703-548-3440). Keep in mind that whether the handbook is outsourced

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