Deirdre Ward, HR Business Partner at Watford Community Housing Trust uses 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 South East UK. It was established in 2007 and have 170 employees working with the vision to provide “Better homes, friendlier communities... together.”
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Employee discounts, employee recognition
Watford Community Housing Trust hadn’t measured employee engagement since its transfer from the local Council in 2007. In November 2013, the team surveyed its employees and found only 43% of them were engaged with the business. Deirdre Ward, the organization’s HR Business Partner, holds the responsibility to transform the culture of the organization and increase the levels of employee engagement.
To do this, Deirdre identified areas within the organization 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 employees, develop better employee relations and drive organizational performance.
Deirdre was quick to realize 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 organization's employee perk 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 section of the platform which allowed employees to recognize 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 program in place for the organization'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 organization. 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 power bank 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 Deirdre 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 with the equivalent of a $6,500 return on investment per year.
increase in customer satisfaction
ROI delivered annually