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How can I verify that everyone read a document?

HR wants to email out a link to the new employee handbook and then some how get a list that tells them who has and who hasn't read it or at least opened it or at the very least knows where to find it if they needed it. The handbook is .doc but it could be converted if needed.

Any ideas?
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Aaron TomoskyDirector, SD-WAN Solutions
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Commented:
Have them sign a form saying they read it. Everyone does it this way for a reason.

Commented:
i think its possible but if the handbook is that important i would suggest that you make a document with "read & understood" and each employee has to sign it.

sure its paperwork again and maybe annoying but when you see that someone has open it, where you should know that they really read it and really _READ_ it and not open scroll down and that it. if it is that important i think its better to get some signs for read & understood that if something happens you've something in your "hand". if you can understand me.
Aaron TomoskyDirector, SD-WAN Solutions
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Commented:
What hr hasnt mentioned is that when someone breaks the rules they will need you to "prove" that person read the handbook. You cannot conclusively do that. The closest you could possible get is that at a certain time their computer accessed the file. This will never stand up in court if they sue for wrongful termination or such. I would run away from this
If HR insists after you pass along due warning, you can use an online service like WatchDox or one of the other similar services. This would at least provide verification that they accessed the document.
RartemassLife Coach
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Commented:
The email system should have a "read receipt" or "return receipt" option when sending.
For example Lotus Notes calls it "return receipt" and you access that option via the triple arrows on the far right of the button bar (where the Send button is).

All this will tell you however is that the recipient has opened the email. It won't inform you if attachments were opened or links clicked. That would be the easiest electronic method for this.

Commented:
If you put document onto a website and users had to click a specific link to open the handbook then you could mail each user a unique URL.
Can be something simple like http:\\website\folder\open.doc&employee=name/or employee id etc

This would then get logged in the webserver logs and show that somone clicked on the specific link.
Then just parse the logs for people who had or had not opened the link.

Author

Commented:
doninja - That sounds interesting, how would I go about setting up that?
Commented:
Would recommend speaking to a Web developer and IT to find out what web hosting solution you have, what logging and log analysis is avilable and check what will be compatible.

But as a very simple solution that does not require any coding just using the logs you could have a plain html page that has a simple link to the document in PDF format so no one could change it.

The link to the page would be something like
http://webserver/emphandbook.htm

This has a link in it to the pdf  or doc
http://webserver/emphandbook.pdf

Now if you just send a link to someone that has the ?employee added e.g.
http://webserver/emphandbook.htm?employee=xxxxxx

The part after ? is ignored and the page displayed as normal so user can click the link.
The logs on the server should show the complete URL containing the employee=xxxxx and also when opening the pdf it will get logged as the referrer being http://webserver/emphandbook.htm?employee=xxxxxx
So you can have listed that somone clicked on the specific link, and they opened the pdf from the specific link.

If you want to get a little more fancy a web developer could create a PHP/ASP etc page that only displays the page link if the url has a valid ?employee=xxxxx in the URL

Now just have to use a mail merge program to send everyone an individual mail with a personalised link.
Depends on your mail system but can be achieved with Excel/word mail merge I would guess.

btanExec Consultant
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Commented:
probably can use OS audit capability or sharepoint or WEBDAV audit to track such event as you host this file in this networked storage and send the link to each user to see the document.

There is a short forum talking on using macro embedded if using office doc which you may be interested.
http://www.excelforum.com/excel-programming/754413-track-users-who-open-excel-file.html
btanExec Consultant
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Distinguished Expert 2019

Commented:
one interesting article, but not sure if it still work for 2010 (probably not as the path are different)
http://wordprocessing.about.com/od/customizingword/qt/AutoExecMacro.htm

Author

Commented:
I have been super slammed and haven't had a chance to try any of these ideas. I hope to be able to move forward with these ideas within the next week.

Commented:
Simple solution would be to force the user to log in into a page with their credentials. So you can be 99% sure that the right person opened the link.
The url parameter can be faked.
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Commented:
Where I work an employee has just been dismissed on the grounds that he did not follow procedures, however there is a good possibility he would have won a tribunal (had he chosen to appeal) on the basis that he was assumed to have read the bulletin detailing those procedures that he is alleged to have ignored.

While the method of distribution in this case was hardcopy prints, the principle is the same.  A copy was placed in every employee's "drawer" for them to read, AND was placed on the main notice board, but nobody ever had them sign an acknowledgement indicating that they UNDERSTOOD the procedures.  It's all very well asking someone "did you read the procedures", but (as stated earlier) it another thing asking "did you understand the procedures?".

I was a legal investigator for many years and I'm sure I can pick out an existing ambiguity in almost any document, or manufacture that seed of doubt by arguing words.  We all know that people regularly sign documents without reading what they are signing, but if they have the opportunity to ask for an explanation on any "clause" but fail to do so, then it's much easier at a later date to infer almost to the point of proof that the person did understand what he/she signed.

Never assume that something read by another has been understood unless you are going to be able to later present a signature proving that the signer accepted whatever was being signed.
Life Coach
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Commented:
On BillDLs comment, we have an Online Learning system. There was a document that everyone had to understand. It was placed on the learning webpage and everyone was enrolled. It contained three parts.
The first was a 7 question test to ascertain the worker's current level of knowledge on the subject.
The second part was the information that management wanted them to know.
The third part was another test about the information presented. The results could then be analysed by management to determine if staff understood the information. Those that didn't were asked to take it again, or offered the opportunity to speak to someone to get the information clarified.
It is an extreme option but a viable one.

Author

Commented:
My thanks go out to Rarttemass for causing me to remember that I have the ability to create surveys on my website.

Additional thanks to BillDL for pointing out the need for airtight legalese.

And thank you to the rest of you for trying to help!!!

I set up a page on my web site with a link to the document so they can read it and then a survey that emails me their answers once they complete it.
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Commented:
Thank you o_b_c

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