We are examining employee engagement within the non-profit sector, explicitly housing associations.
In this article we explore:
- Barriers to employee engagement within housing associations in 2022
- Methods for enabling digital transformation
- How to transform employee engagement through engagement technology
Being part of the housing association collective brings employees to the forefront of essential work, creating life-changing outcomes for communities and individuals' lives. Employee engagement is often higher within this sector compared to others for this reason. However, to make this happen, recognising staff at the centre and the lifeblood of the operation is essential. 'Emma Tomkinson, assistant director of people services at Together Housing Group, explains how vital the employee voice is in ensuring benefits are well utilised and appreciated.' (-Employee Benefits Live 2022.)
What are the obstacles to improving employee engagement within a housing association?
Communicating with a diverse and often remote workforce:
Colleagues are across many roles and locations. Some areas may include:
- Call centres
- Customer service
- Neighbourhood Officers
- Repairs and Maintenance
- Youth Engagement Teams
Supporting the community around the clock means regularly bringing this community together physically is either expensive or impossible. The expenditure undermines the aim to reinvest much-needed revenue back into the community. It could also prove unnecessary for employees in the post-covid era. '79% said they were satisfied with working from home, compared to just 9.2% who said they were dissatisfied. - Only 36.6% of employees said they felt they would need a central office to conduct their work effectively in the future.' According to an Inside Housing/ Clarion Housing Group survey of almost 800 housing association staff members in September 2020.
Roles can be physically and mentally demanding - particularly frontline facing. Whilst downtime during out-of-work hours is vital to maintaining overall wellbeing. Overworked employees cannot adequately perform or help to develop the organisation if they are overworked. Education, safety, physical, and mental health services, must be easily accessible. 39% feel 'daily stress' in the UK, according to Gallup's global state of the workplace, demonstrating the scale of those who may benefit from such services.
Having an outlet to be heard and express opinions to the employer can often make the most significant difference in employee engagement. When feedback is not possible or regular, employee dissatisfaction increases. Engaged employees experience more than just a contractual bond with their employer when they receive 1-2-1 feedback, recognition, development opportunities, and rewards.
Having a one-size-fits-all method of communicating inside an organisation which seeks to develop individuals for the better whilst championing diversity and inclusion is counterintuitive. Accessible communications to support disabilities should be a necessity, not a luxury.
What are the pain points for employers inside non-profit organisations and housing associations?
Operations are within areas most affected by the cost of living crisis, experiencing deprivation and legacy issues.
Externally there is communication with a range of community, voluntary and statutory organisations in the area to support and deliver better outcomes. Fill staff vacancies and keep current with governance and social housing industry regulators. Whilst internally, the challenge is to create a positive culture and deliver clear, inclusive, and engaging communications to an extensive staff group cost-effectively.
Let's explore the possible solutions to transform employee engagement in the housing associations sector:
Going above and beyond the employee's basic needs will foster a culture which inspires them to go above and beyond for their community and improve staff retention.
Implementing technology that facilitates this aim to connect colleagues wherever they are and find the best solution for your people.
How can Engage Solutions Group help?
We provide a fully brandable, easy-to-implement and integrated multi-channel engagement specialist platform. Our desktop intranet will support desk-based colleagues, whilst our mobile-optimised application will bring power to the pockets of all colleagues.
We enable the process of personalised communications, pre-scheduled at a time most engaging to the end user. Target individuals, whole or specific teams with the most relevant content.
Engage gives you a better understanding of employee behaviour with CMS Reporting. Admin users can have the capability to set metrics for success, allowing data to drive better communications and operations for the communities they serve.
Send and receive feedback quickly and easily - creating everyday moments for recognition and rewards. Uniting colleagues wherever their location with remote Thank You cards.
Drive engagement between colleagues in a mobile-first way with social media for business. Allowing community storytelling to transform the way colleagues communicate and keep up to date with the housing association, seeing the social impact they have on a real-time basis.
Create groups for messaging or send individual targeted comms. - Creating a group forum can empower all employees to drive business change and improvement. A forum could consist of a select number of employees representing different areas of the group, allowing every business unit to have its voice heard on various issues. An employee forum implementation was successful in the case of Livv Housing Group:
'The Employee Forum meets once a month to discuss issues raised by its members and colleagues, as well as helping to plan events and conferences, workshops and social arrangements for staff.' - Recognised by HR Magazine in their 2020's Best Employee Engagement Strategy.
Update with learning, development, and community news - giving the option of multiple sites and staff members to engage.
Create self-service areas with straightforward navigation to advise vulnerable community members. Integrate with links to vital services: such as homeless hostels, domestic violence refuges, community centres, training and apprenticeships.
If you are interested in seeing these features and benefits in action for your business - book a demo in the link above.