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Tips for Writing a Policy Manual

The policy manual must set an appropriate tone and convey fundamental ideas to guide all employees.

  • Use clear, concise and uncomplicated language.
  • Keep all policies wide in scope and general in nature.
  • Establish procedures that clarify any potential issues.
  • Provide specific policies about compensation, termination, training and development, and employment rules.
  • Require staff to sign a statement acknowledging they have read and understand the manual.

Policy Manual Sections

These are the recommended topics to be addressed in a comprehensive policy manual.

  • Association Policy Disclaimer
  • Employer/Employee Issues
  • Work Performance Expectations
  • Disciplinary Action
  • Employee Benefits
  • Special Employee Issues
  • Association Administration
  • Guidelines for Wrongful Termination

This PDF (80K) contains detailed information about each of the recommended policy manual sections.

Policy Manual Draft and Approval Process

Make use of experts inside and outside of your organization when you are ready to actually create the policy manual.

  • Executives or senior staff, with assistance from legal counsel and other appropriate resources, draft the manual.
  • Review and seek input from department heads.
  • Use a committee of employees and/or volunteer leadership to assist with development.
  • Have the manual reviewed by legal counsel for compliance with state and federal laws.
  • Ensure the manual complies with the National Association’s Employer/Employee Guidelines for Wrongful Termination.
  • Hire a consultant to organize, lay out and type the draft.
  • Seek ultimate approval and signoff from appropriate leadership and legal counsel.

Policy Manual Review and Updates

Once you have successfully developed your organization's manual, develop a maintenance plan to keep it accurate.

  • Update the policy manual as laws and the organization's priorities change.
  • Schedule regular reviews of the manual and update accordingly.
  • Work with legal counsel, elected leaders, volunteers and staff in any policy manual review.

Disclaimer

This material was developed for use by State and Local Association Executives. Some of the information may not be applicable to other audiences. This guide is intended to provide accurate and authoritative information with regard to the subject matter covered. Although every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy and completeness of this information, the authors and editors of this guide cannot be responsible for any errors or omissions. This guide is not a substitute for legal or technical advice. Associations that need legal or technical advice should obtain opinions from their own legal or technical advisors.

Consulting Services Available from NAR Human Resources

Fee-based consulting services are available from NAR's Human Resources Department. For more information, contact Donna Garcia, Director of Human Resource Services, at dgarcia@realtors.org, 312-329-8311.