When an employee or administrator defines a policy and procedure manual, what do you think the definition is? To take that one step further, do you think those definitions would match? How often do employees refer to the policy manual? How about administration or your middle management? These are all really good questions to ask those within your agency. You may be really surprised at the answers. Let’s look at what utilization of the policy and procedure should resemble and why.
What Does Your Policy And Procedure Manual Really Say?
Your manuals should be the footprint of your agency. Ask yourself this question: If another administrator walked in my shoes today, would he or she be able to understand how to run the agency by referencing the manual? The answer should be yes. However, this is not usually the answer. Many times, a policy and procedure manual sits on a shelf and collects dust. It should be the “bible” of running your agency from an administrative standpoint. It needs to be the guide as to how all those in management handle personnel processes as well as day-to-day operations.
For the other employees, they need and deserve a way to check how certain things will be handled from paid time off to disciplinary actions and uniform allowances. Without having items clearly defined within policy, your agency is set up for problems. Consider your policy and procedure manual like a contract. Now, imagine there is ambiguity in how something is written, defined, or determined. When it comes down to it, would the ambiguity be in favor of the employee or the agency that created the policy? The employee will win that battle every time. Ambiguity gives room for interpretation. In some policies, you may want flexibility in your manual. In other cases, certain things must be crystal clear. And you need to follow what you manual says. Your middle management will need taught to refer to policy in decision-making so there is uniformity in how your agency is run.
Is It Time For A Complete Update?
We all know that your policy and procedure manual should be updated on a yearly basis and as needed when policies are changed. However, most do not see the manual as a living breathing entity that needs changed with labor regulations, federal/state laws, and in-house changes routinely . The rule of thumb is if your manual has not been kept up-to-date for at least a 2 year period of time, it is time to get a new one. It is too difficult to work from an outdated manual and even understand if you have all the updated regulations in it.
Now, please understand this does not mean someone in your agency needs to reinvent the wheel when it comes to a new manual. Consider looking at a complete manual your can purchase online and customize to your agency. You need something that has all the updated COPs, as well as templates for what is usual and customary for an agency to do business. Rule of thumb here is not to buy more than you need. Many manuals are huge and cumbersome. Many online manuals contain so many policies that don’t come into play for what your agency needs. These policies will need removed or the surveyor will look for specifics in your agency that may not exist. Do your homework to pick the right online policy and procedure manual that fits your needs.
Let Kenyon Homecare Consulting Help Improve Your Manual:
At Kenyon Homecare Consulting, we have updated policy and procedure manuals for all lines of service as well as for accreditation. Call us today at 206-721-5091 or contact us online to see if our manuals are the right fit for your agency! We are currently offering 15% off all manual downloads.