Taff Housing Association
Between 2002 and 2007, Taff Association has expanded: turnover has doubled from £3.2 million to £6.7million while headcount has almost doubled to 117. However, at the same time sickness absence has reduced from 5.25% to 3.0% with a cost saving of £30,000 per year to the Association.
Taff Housing Association has entered and been listed in Financial Times' list of 50 best workplaces in the UK1 in 2007 and 2008. It achieved 5th place in 2007 and 2nd place in 2008 for Best for Work/Life Balance Company (Financial Times report, 28 May 2008). The award involves a survey of all staff and a culture audit and Taff's Senior Management see it as a way for the Association to benchmark itself against other organisations and measure progress on the journey to becoming an employer of choice.
For Taff Housing Association, the journey to become a great place to work started in 2004 with a strong and serious commitment from the top of the organisation to grow the Association within a set of values. These values now underpin all its work and its dealings with staff.
Themes derived from the values are:
Talking and listening to staff is important and Taff has developed a variety of mechanisms (such as regular staff briefings, the Staff Forum, a staff magazine, and an intranet) for this to happen. A 'bottom up' approach is fundamental to achieve buy in: for example staff are involved in the business planning and in the development of policies.
This applies throughout the organisation from customers paying rent to enabling staff to do their jobs better and eliminating or reducing the barriers that hinder this improved performance. Staff are introduced to the staff charter at induction when the 'Taff Deal' is explained. This is summed up as 'Taff wants you to deliver excellent customer service, and as Managers we will do our best to make Taff a great place to work'.
Central to Taff and the way it does its business is the client/customer and when a member of staff requests flexibility in the way they work, the Taff Deal here is an agreement whereby the individual finds the solution with no detriment to the customer or the business.
This is underpinned by the Association's Vision to be a 'Provider of Choice, Partner of Choice, and Employer of Choice'.
Taff has an array of all the usual family friendly policies and procedures you might expect including flexible working, job sharing, part-time working, maternity and paternity leave. But flexibility is not achieved through the policies themselves but by listening to what people value and trying to find a way to deliver it. There is a caveat that any flexible working arrangement is based on 'no detriment to service'.
Elaine Ballard (Chief Executive) says:
"It's about giving people what they are entitled to and being flexible about how they have it. For example, job sharing is not restricted to junior roles within the organisation or 50 / 50 split necessarily."
Work Life balance is just one of the six principles of the staff charter at Taff Housing Association. The other five are:
1. The Financial Times' Best Workplace awards are recognised as the most rigorous of workplace awards in which to achieve a listing (Financial Times May 28, 2008). They are run by the Great Place to Work Institute (http://www.greatplacetowork.co.uk/).
A 'great place to work' is defined as a place where the employees trust the people they work for, have pride in what they do and enjoy the people they work with. This definition is translated into a five dimensional Great Place to Work Model. 'Credibility, respect and fairness' underpin the trust element; 'pride' refers to the sense of pride in what employees do and 'camaraderie' considers the extent to which employees enjoy working together. Staff complete a questionnaire with 57 statements anonymously. They can also comment on the question 'is there anything unique or unusual about this company that makes it a great place to work?'
Contact Name: Elaine Ballard
Contact Role: Chief Executive
Contact Telephone: 029 2052 9180
Contact Email: email@example.com