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What a Policy Manual Should Do
- 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.
Source: Developing a Policy Manual (National Association of REALTORS® Human Resources Toolkit)
Real Estate Office Policies
Sample Employee Manual for Brokers-Download (National Association of REALTORS®, Item #E126-155)
Are you looking for assistance in developing an employee manual? NAR has a sample manual for you to tailor for your employees.
Company Policies: How Managing Brokers Navigate New Rules and Regs (Chicago Agent, Feb. 3, 2020)
Many brokerages have the autonomy required to set their own policies, depending on the topic. While an office’s parent company may take a more hands-off approach to setting policies and establishing guidelines for how agents conduct their business, managing brokers are responsible for ensuring their associates follow the rules.
Drafting a Policy Manual
The Benefits of Creating and Maintaining an Employee Handbook (Business People, Feb. 1, 2023) E
Employee Handbooks outline the employer’s expectations for workplace conduct and should clearly describe policies and procedures to which employees should adhere.
Your Employee Handbook: Avoid These Four Common Mistakes (HR Specialist: Employment Law, Nov. 1, 2022) E
Don’t leave out time-off policies, including FMLA, pregnancy and maternity, jury duty, military or other reasons to miss work.
‘Tis the Season – to Update Your Company’s Employee Handbook (Foley, Oct. 31, 2022)
- Use plain language.
- Set clear expectations for attendance, conduct, and discipline.
- Include that the handbook is not a contract of employment and does not modify the at-will nature of employment.
- Include that the policies within the handbook may be revised, modified, or revoked at any time, with or without notice.
- Make sure that the company retains discretion and flexibility when making decisions.
- Ensure that you actually follow the policies!
Employers: Be Careful What You Include in a Handbook (JD Supra, Aug. 23, 2022)
Wise employers will include language giving them the right to modify a handbook’s provisions since both the applicable law and the business needs of an employer frequently change. Such language helps temper employee expectations by alerting them that policies may change in the middle of their employment.
Creating an Employee Handbook (Indeed, Jul. 21, 2022)
If you'd like to be certain that your employee has read the entire document, you can include an acknowledgment form at the end. They can either sign a paper copy or add a digital signature.
Employee Handbooks: Sample Language to Keep You Out of Trouble
(HR Specialist: Employment Law
, Apr. 1, 2021) E
You likely have a general anti-discrimination policy in your handbook. But if it’s more than a year or so old, it’s probably not broad enough. Don’t simply state that you do not discriminate. Include language consistent with the Supreme Court’s recent decisions that say Title VII’s sex discrimination provisions also cover sexual orientation and gender identity.
Developing a Policy Manual (National Association of REALTORS® Human Resources Toolkit)
Be sure to check out the 'related documents' in the box on the right side of the page for sample drug and harassment policy suggestions.
Sample Policy Manuals & Manual Templates
Several state associations have developed sample policy manuals for their members, not all of which are available on the open web. Members are encouraged to contact their state association to see if a template is available.
Note: Many of these samples were developed by state or local associations based on local laws and regulations that may be different from those of your state. As with any legal document, you are strongly encouraged to seek legal counsel to make sure your version is compliant with the law after you modify it for your business. Again, these samples are meant to be used as guides for members. The information should not be construed as a recommendation by NAR for any course of action regarding financial, legal or accounting matters. It is not meant as a substitute for professional advice from a qualified legal, accounting or financial professional.
How to Write and Update Your Employee Handbook + Template (Workforce Hub, Sep. 13, 2022)
An employee handbook should be a living document. For this reason, you should make proactive updates. Companies that have been keeping their handbook current have prevented many problems. For example, those that created a social media policy 20 years ago saved a lot of hassle. Similarly, those that trained hiring managers on legal interview questions reduced the risk of a lawsuit. In addition, those that addressed sexual harassment were ahead of the game.
8 Employee Handbook Examples You Should Steal From (Roots, Aug. 4, 2021)
Pronto Marketing's employee handbook webpage is an example of a near-perfect employee handbook. The firm produced an easy-to-read and appealing guide while ensuring that no crucial information gets omitted. Moreover, their contemporary-looking table of contents informs what readers are getting into, which is straight-up excellent.
The 10 Best Employee Handbook Examples (Updated 2022) (AirMason, Apr. 22, 2021)
The Netflix HR handbook is basically a case of “simple yet effective.” Netflix doesn’t mince its words when it comes to educating employees – you’ll find a well-designed 129-slide slideshow full of short, simple sentences. Some companies take the comedy approach to keep their policy manual engaging, but Netflix has gone for the “straight to the point” approach by eliminating all the fluff. It’s very blunt and easy to grasp, as a handbook should be.
Sample Employee Manual for Association Executives (National Association of REALTORS®, 2018)
This sample customizable employee manual geared toward local REALTOR® Associations is available to you in downloadable MS Word format. Manual includes topics on technology, time off, compensation, disciplinary policies, and more. [for purchase]
A Broker’s Guide to Creating a Policy and Procedure Manual (ARELLO, 2012) [links to PDF document]
Prepared by real estate regulators to assist a broker who is considering owning and/or operating a real estate brokerage, as this endeavor comes with much responsibility and liability.
Employer-Employee Guidelines (National Association of REALTORS®)
When implementing employment policies pursuant to these Guidelines, the association should affirm the at-will status of its employees and include language to disclaim the formation of a contract with its employees. The association should also consult with legal counsel to ensure that the disclaimer and policies are consistent with applicable law.
eBooks & Other Resources
Books, Videos, Research Reports & More
As a member benefit, the following resources and more are available for loan through the NAR Library. Items will be mailed directly to you or made available for pickup at the REALTOR® Building in Chicago.
365 Answers About Human Resources for the Small Business Owner (eBook)
Office Policy Manual (Madison, WI: Wisconsin REALTORS® Association, 2007) HF 5438 W75
Office Policy Manual (Novato, CA: Professional Publishers, Inc. 2000) HF 5438 M19o
Policies and Procedures Manual: A Guide for Success in Real Estate (Tallahassee, FL: The Real Estate School, 1998) HF 5438 P75p
Workplace Law and Office Policies (Chicago, IL: National Association of REALTORS®, 2001) HF 5549 N16wl
Have an idea for a real estate topic? Send us your suggestions.
The inclusion of links on this page does not imply endorsement by the National Association of REALTORS®. NAR makes no representations about whether the content of any external sites which may be linked in this page complies with state or federal laws or regulations or with applicable NAR policies. These links are provided for your convenience only and you rely on them at your own risk.