Background Group home frontline staff have a critical role in implementing service policies, yet research typically examines implementation issues from an organisational perspective. The aim of this study was to explore the self‐perception of frontline staff about their role in group homes for people with intellectual disability. Method Constructivist grounded theory methodology guided the study. Data were collected with frontline staff through semistructured interviews and participant observations. Coding and sorting methods were used to analyse participants’ self‐perception. Results Frontline staff felt they were valuable contributors who knew the service setting and residents well. Despite this staff felt powerless in their roles, excluded from organisational dialogue, stressed and exhausted. Conclusions Frontline staff have critical insight into service implementation although disability service organisations may limit their capacity to contribute to this. Further action could explore new ways to better nurture frontline staff engagement in organisational dialogue.