Housing associations are experiencing dramatic changes. Faced with new legislation in the Housing and Planning Bill, which allows tenants to buy their homes at a discount of up to £73,000, as well as an annual reduction of 1% in social rents in England for the next four years, they could be forgiven for concentrating their focus on budgets rather than their employees. Our work with eight of the G-15 housing associations shows that this isn’t the case, and combined with our experience in other industries, we know that in times of crisis and change, it’s your people that will get you through. Employee engagement is important to housing associations, now more than ever. According to Engage for Success, organisations in the top quartile of engagement scores demonstrated revenue growth 2.5 times higher than those in the bottom quartile. Equally, organisations in the top quartile had 18% higher productivity than those in the bottom quartile. With these facts in mind, it is quite apparent that a highly engaged workforce is essential for housing associations in the coming years if they are to be successful.
The work that we have undertaken with Radian over the past five years is a prime example of a Housing Association reaping the benefits of an engaged workforce. When we began working with Radian in 2010 their engagement score was 58% and in 2015 this figure had risen to 84%. As a result of the employee survey that Radian rolled out on annual basis, we were able to highlight the key themes that were driving engagement throughout the organisation. This enabled Radian to focus their action planning in a way that maximised their return on investment and focused on the things that mattered most to their employees. Lindsay Todd, former chief executive at Radian, said: “We focus on staff engagement because we know it delivers business improvement like nothing else. We’ve saved costs, increased value for money and innovation, reduced staff sickness and turnover and, most importantly, improved customer satisfaction”. Planning is now underway for Radian’s 2016 survey and despite the seemingly difficult times ahead for the housing sector they have continued to focus on their engagement strategy.
As a result of our extensive work in the housing sector, we have designed an employee survey specifically for housing associations, which emphasises cost-effectiveness and benchmarking. This toolkit is designed to help housing associations gather feedback on all areas of the employee experience so that they can increase employee engagement and ultimately increase business performance. After all, the difference between thriving and surviving in the next few years for housing associations could well come down to how engaged your employees are. It has long been suggested that the most valuable asset for any organisation are its employees and this has never been truer for Housing Associations in the current climate.
We will be exhibiting at the National Housing Federation’s HR in Housing Conference on the 14th April in London and we look forward to sharing some of our latest employee engagement research with you on the day.