6 Tips for Writing an Office Manual
TIP: A loose-leaf binder is often a good way to distribute a policy manual since pages can be added or subtracted easily.
Writing a manual is a big job so keep these thoughts in mind during the process.
1. Use positive statements, not negative ones whenever possible. Don’t tell workers what they can do, instead what they will do.
TIP: If you have several offices, consider adding your manual to a password-protected portion of your company’s Web site. This makes for easy, cost-effective updates.
2. Use good judgment; don’t make a policy so strict that no one will adhere to it and you won’t be comfortable enforcing it.
3. Let someone else read the manual; what’s clear to you may not be to a third party.
4. Have your attorney review the manual before distributing it.
Keep It Legal
Including a grievance policy in your office manual could possibly constitute a contract with a salaried employee. A disclaimer that the employee has a contract may provide some defense. —Susan Morrison, Texas REALTOR® , August 1995
5. Revise the manual whenever policies change, and review once a year for changes to laws in your area.
6. Solicit feedback from workers before instituting a new policy.
Portions adapted from Real Estate Office Management, 3rd edition, Real Estate Education Company, 1996
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