Leading Practice Guidelines

Human Resources

Type: Core Practice

Guideline: People receiving services have the opportunity and support to provide meaningful input into the hiring, training and performance feedback of their staff.

The organization seeks screens and hires staff that have the values, attitudes and skills to provide safe, respectful and personalized supports.

Staff possess and maintain the knowledge, skills and experience required to fulfill their roles. This includes information about the unique support needs and preferences of each person that they are responsible for supporting.

Staff are empowered to make decisions to maximize people’s outcomes.

Management systems and decisions strengthen the continuity and consistency of support.

The organization clearly articulates its expectations of its employees and has strategies and systems in place to supervise, support and monitor whether these expectations are being fulfilled. 

What does this look like?

The organization creates systems and opportunity for people and/or their families to have input into hiring, training and performance feedback for staff that work directly with them. As each organization may have unique employment circumstances and arrangements, it is important that people receiving services and their support network are informed of:

  • The management, supervision and employment structures within the organization.
  • The scope and/or any limitations of authority, decision making and opportunity for input available to people served surrounding human resources.
  • The mechanisms that are available to share feedback or concerns regarding employee actions or inaction.
  • The opportunities available to people for input regarding hiring or selection of staff along with any limitations that may result from features of the employment arrangement.

Staff are also clearly advised of the scope, limitations and opportunities that people they support have related to selection, training and performance feedback.

The organization conducts robust screening of all applicants, verifies qualifications and has systems in place to ensure that staff do not work alone with people until all screening is complete.

The organization ensures that staff receive competency-based orientation and training that provide them with the information they require to support people successfully. The orientation and training provided have these key features:

  • Learning leads to the promotion and maximizing of personal outcomes for people supported;
  • Staff gain a robust orientation to expectations and processes that enable them to successfully work alone;
  • The training is regularly reviewed and evaluated;
  • Staff development incorporates people served as important teachers and experts in service delivery;
  • Training is evidence informed and based on accepted leading practice and expert professional consensus;
  • Employee learning and development is ongoing throughout their time with the organization;
  • There are strategies to ensure that there is a successful transfer of learning from theory to practice;
  • Orientation includes the unique needs, routines, preferences and instructions of people to whom the staff will provide direct services;
  • The process of learning about people and how to support them is done in a manner that is sensitive to the person’s right to direct what information is shared about them. Care is taken to actively request and involve the person in sharing information;
  • Orientation and training to personal care routines is ideally completed following a period of time in which the staff and person supported can develop trust and rapport.

Management systems and decisions are focused on ensuring that Direct Support Professionals (DSPs) have enough supervision, support and information in order to provide consistent, personalized support. Systems need to empower DSPs to be able to provide support in the way that the person they are serving would prefer, while still providing enough supervision and monitoring to adequately ensure that high quality services are being provided consistently in diverse and separate geographic locations.

The organization focuses energy and resources on retaining and maintaining employees so that people served experience continuity of services and consistency of support. Wherever possible, the manner in which organizations assign and schedule DSPs should take into account the preferences and wishes of people served.

The organization has processes and practices for performance management that include supervision, coaching, and mentoring along with documented regular evaluations that relate to job function as well as personal outcomes for people supported. Concerns about performance are followed up promptly with a focus on supporting the development of employees to do the job successfully balanced with the requirement to provide consistently high quality services and supports.

People supported and families are actively solicited for performance feedback and processes are in place to follow up on concerns raised.

Where employees are placed in situations which may involve risk, there is an assessment of the level of risk and a safety plan developed to mitigate or reduce the risk.

The organization provides debriefing for staff after critical incidents, and psychological supports are available as needed.

Core human resources policies are available and in place that create a structure and system for staff. Policies outline the expectations, training, support, supervision and monitoring of staff that enable services to be delivered in a consistent manner that maximizes the outcomes of people served. Core policies would include:

  • Job descriptions for all roles
  • Recruitment process (including selection, screening and hiring process)
  • Employee benefits and conditions of employment
  • Harassment and workplace conflict
  • Grievance and appeal
  • Disciplinary action and dismissal
  • Substance abuse/use
  • Workplace Health and Safety policies
  • Non-discriminatory practices
  • Professional credentials/standards of practices
  • Reasonable accommodation
  • Supervision requirements
  • Compensation structure & systems
  • Use of Volunteers

How would you know this is happening? (Evidence)

What you see in systems:

  • Job Descriptions and core HR policies are in place and available to staff.
  • Orientation and training content and confirmation of completion is available.
  • Performance evaluations and/or corrective feedback documentation is available.

What you see in actions:

  • People and families report feeling included and involved in staff selection and training and feel confident that their input and feedback about staff performance is taken into account.
  • Staff have the information, knowledge, skills and tools to support people successfully. Staff are confident and empowered to provide flexible, personalized supports.

Resources to support achieving guideline:

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