Residential group home policy and procedure manuals are designed to regulate all major decisions, actions, and principles of a residential group home. These documents provide authority and necessary guidance to a group home in critical issues like – hiring practices, bank accounts, dress code, employee and volunteer behaviour etc.

Procedures are specific methods used to communicate policies in action for the daily operation of an organization. Together, policies and procedures make sure that a decision held by the management of any organization is moulded into steps that result in effective communication.

Note that these written policies and procedures are integrated into a manual made available to employees. Every organisation’s policy and procedure manual house the organization’s best practices, standards for how work is to be performed, and core process descriptions. An effective policy and procedure manual is an important management tool that allows every organisation to focus on growth, simplifies training, and eases the ability to scale the business.

A residential home policy and procedure manual helps the management of a group home in gathering the company’s mission, value, and prospects all in one place. It also sets standards of conduct, behaviour, and performance of employees and volunteers. Therefore, the policy and procedure manual of a residential group home clearly defines expectations for employees by providing a source of reference for them to check when performing their duties.

Note that a well-developed policy and procedures manual serves as an authoritative source of answers to common questions related to the group home. Properly documented manuals speed up the process of decision making for workers and help them follow group home guidelines, eventually resulting in higher productivity.

Also note that a detailed residential group home policy and procedures manual is a valuable communication tool for efficiently processing operations within the group home and for reducing transmission gaps. Another purpose of a policy and procedures manual in a residential group home is to provide a training guide for employees. These documents reduce the time and effort put into training employees, making the on-boarding process easier.

Policy and procedures manuals that are consistently updated and reviewed to help a group home in meeting its obligations with the law. For instance, a clear work safety and health policy will assist any group home management to meet obligations imposed on the establishment by the law.

Step by Step Guide on How to Write a Residential Group Home Policy and Procedure Manual

Group Home Policy and Procedure Manuals are not all created equal. Each State, Medicaid Program, Accrediting Body, etc. has their own set of standards to adhere to. It is important to distinguish every factor. However, to create a policy and procedure manual that is truly able to deliver a blueprint for your group home and meet up with the above criteria, it is important to take a few steps before writing anything down.

  1. Know the legal needs and requirements

Always remember there are two important facets of policies and procedures – the legal requirements and the parts that ensure that the group home’s vision are carried out. Note every group home, just like every other company, has their own policies which depend on the management style and goals of the group home.

There are also a lot of policies and procedures which exist not because of what the group home wants but because the group home is legally mandated to comply with several laws and regulations. Therefore, the very first step is to get a lawyer involved, preferably a lawyer that has or is working with the organization.

  1. The more stakeholders the merrier

Just like in normal business settings, you might find employees or volunteers trying to avoid or sidestep the policies and procedures written down in the manual. Most group homes in the United States simply caution their employee for not following the rules but that is not enough.

The manual should state the best approach towards every procedure. If employees or volunteers are trying to ignore or sidestep the manual, it is a sign that what is written down in the manual is not practical or efficient. The ideal solution to this problem is to involve stakeholders when creating the manual.

Individuals who work at the ground level and at the front line have some knowledge that people working in management may not. If the manual is only made with input from management, it may not express an accurate picture of the working environment and there may be situations where the manual is not applicable.

  1. Collaboration is imperative

Have it in mind that simply involving stakeholders in the discussion is not enough. There also needs to be proper workflow management which allows people to collaborate. A document management system is very crucial. Note that these systems let numerous people to view, review, edit, and share the same document while tracking the changes made by everyone.

This allows people to leave comments, make edits and leave them in for approval, and truly collaborate on creating a policy and procedure manual that works for all stakeholders of the group home. Also note that simply sending the documents via email and requiring everyone to contribute does not work.

Normally, people cannot see updates as they happen, so it is possible that two people may make conflicting edits. It is also very inconvenient and slow to send files back and forth. Document management systems help to limit sending files or updates and allows people to focus on making the latest version of the document better.

  1. Leverage the right GRC tools

Always remember that policy and procedure manuals are intrinsically linked to governance, risk, and compliance management, thus there are various GRC based tools for policy and procedure management. Note that these tools go above and beyond normal document management systems especially since they have been specifically designed to be used to manage policies and procedures.

These tools are not hard to use or acquire – the cloud based tools simply need to be subscribed to. Remember that creating a manual that will become a blueprint for the ideal group home mission and culture should be the aim.

Conclusion

Labour laws require that all businesses have written employee policies and enforce policies uniformly with all employees. An effective policy and procedure manual reflects your group home’s ways of communicating, getting the service performed, and boosts productivity!

It allows people to work together to resolve day-to-day business problems without requiring unnecessary supervisory involvement. Note that your manual should be easily available either in a designated area or online using a document management system.

Solomon. O'Chucks
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