Deirdre Ward, HR Business Partner at Watford Community Housing Trust utilises employee engagement to improve customer satisfaction from 65% to 93%
Watford Community Housing Trust is a housing association which owns and manages nearly 5,000 homes in the South East. They were established in 2007 and have 170 employees working with the vision to provide “Better homes, friendlier communities ...together.”
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Employee engagement platform
Watford Community Housing Trust hadn’t measured employee engagement since their transfer from the local Council in 2007. In November 2013, the team surveyed their employees and found only 43% of them were engaged with the business. Deirdre Ward, the organisation’s HR Business Partner, holds the responsibility to transform the culture of the organisation and increase the levels of employee engagement.
To do this, Deirdre identified areas within the organisation which needed improvement. These included:
Deirdre sensed a large amount of change would be needed and intended to use her partnerships within the management team to clarify what was needed for their people, develop better employee relations and drive organisational performance.
Deirdre was quick to realise that change wouldn’t happen overnight and it would take prolonged and sustained success to create lasting change. Her first port of call was to review the organisation's employee benefit offer. This led to Deirdre choosing to partner with Reward Gateway to provide the “Gateway Rewards” employee hub and making their unbeatable discounts offering available to all employees. Deirdre also used the hub to create a new intranet which allowed employees to recognise each other for a quarterly staff award, and vote for an overall annual winner.
In partnership with a management consultancy, Deirdre put a new development programme in place for the organisation's business leaders, leading in this by becoming qualified as an accredited coach. This has increased management’s capabilities and created a common language which all employees can identify with.
To add to the learning and development and improved management oversight, Deirdre also implemented an online appraisal system so managers could conduct appraisals fairly, with added transparency to both managers and employees.
Deirdre saw all of her efforts being essential to improve employee engagement which she believed would then increase levels of customer satisfaction towards the organisation. To help, now, HR information, leave booking systems, forms and policies are accessible online so both on or off-site employees can access them on a mobile device. To amplify engagement, Deirdre came up with the idea to give all employees a powerbank to keep mobile devices charged. She saw a link between employee engagement and increased customer satisfaction.
And she was right:
Coupled with the management initiatives Deidre actioned using the hub’s accessibility, Deirdre has begun to think of employee engagement as affecting many aspects of the business. And she was right on this, too: Her engagement project has delivered a direct impact to the business of a £5,000 return on investment per annum.
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