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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

View the HR Toolkit Policy Manual Sections for 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.

Sample Employee Manual

This manual, which can be downloaded in MS Word and updated with your specific information, includes policies on current topics such as:

  • Harassment
  • E-communication
  • Technology and social media
  • Alcohol & drug abuse
  • Privacy
  • Safety
  • and much more

See the Sample Employee Manual page for information on how to purchase this customizable manual.