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Croner’s A-Z Guide to Managing People


Croner’s A-Z Guide to Managing People
Croner Publications Ltd, London Road, Kingston upon Thames, Surrey KT2 6SR
Tel: 0181 247 1176
ISBN 1 85524 505 1 April 1999
£186 (Discounts available for members of the Institute of Supervision and Management)

Twice in my career as a management consultant, I have been contracted to prepare an employment manual for a client. The third time I was asked, I politely pointed out to the client that they were in danger of re-inventing the wheel; most of the material they wanted had already been extensively published by other organisations and commercial publishers; it simply was not realistic to create and maintain a new manual unless very considerable resources were directed to it. Needless to say, my client went ahead with their project using another consultant!

I can think of several good employment and management manuals which aim to keep managers on the right track with regard to employment and human resource matters. It’s a difficult task: how much detail do you include?; how specific do you make it?; which subjects do you include and exclude? Fundamentally, how do you ensure that it stays up-to-date given the rapid changes in employment legislation and case precedents?

Cronin’s - a well respected publisher of management texts and resource materials - have done a good job. They have also solved the problem of updating the material by offering all purchasers a fortnightly newsletter and quarterly updated replacement pages.

The A-Z Guide is a large looseleaf ringbinder. It presently holds around 300 pages with a straightforward alphabetical arrangement by topic. There is also a 12 page Index permitting more detailed searching of the material. The topic list of comprehensive. In addition to all the usual and expected topics, you will find useful sections on bullying, death in service, foreign workers, medicals, psychometric testing, stress, team building and whistleblowing (amongst many others). I could point to several gaps such as sexual orientation and vocational qualifications, which are missing from the Index, and I found the absence of obvious references to differing legislation in the four home countries to be slightly surprising. But these are minor points. If is evident from the page numbering system that the publishers have plans to add further pages to the Guide and make it more comprehensive over the coming months and years.

Each section of the Guide follows a similar format including a summary, legislative framework, practical guidance, simple questions and answers, and key facts. With more than 30 contributors from different disciplines, this common format is a great help. Each topic is covered in reasonable depth over two to four pages. This will keep most managers on track, but in the event of a dispute, many will want to obtain more specific legal advice.

The format of the Guide, and the inclusive arrangement for regular updates makes this a very accessible guide at a good price. Web publishing is an obvious way of publishing and maintaining the same information. The HR Expert website attempts to do just this - but at an annual subscription price of around £750. That makes this Guide good value by any standards.

Tim Pickles


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