Q&A with Chloë Marsh from UK Top Employer RHP Group
Introduce yourself and tell us about your organisation
I’m Chloë Marsh and I’m Head of People, Communications and Engagement at RHP Group.
RHP Group is a housing provider with a difference. We own and manage around 10,000 homes for social rent and shared ownership across London. We put people at the heart of everything we do and see the intrinsic link between highly engaged employees and highly engaged customers.
We’re proud to have maintained employee satisfaction of between 85% - 92% over the past five years.
What will be the biggest people challenge you expect your business to be facing in 2023? And what will you do to meet this challenge?
From 1st June this year, we welcomed a new subsidiary into our organisation (bringing our repairs service in-house). A lot of work got us to this point, however now the challenge really begins as we look to embed our new service, and integrate the 40 new employees (half desk-based and half on site), into our organisation. This includes a week-long welcome programme where they’ll not only learn important information about their jobs, but we’ll also be immersing them in our culture, and helping them connect with our values from day one.
We’ll then be implementing an ongoing training programme for them, as well as making sure they are connected in with all of our key internal communication channels, so that they can feel part of one big team.
Tell us about a recent initiative you have instigated within your organisation that you are most proud of?
Like many organisations, we now work in a hybrid way, however one concern we had was that if people weren’t all together as often, it might damage our special culture.
Therefore last year we launched something called ‘Meaningful Moments’, which are monthly events where we expect everyone to come together in the office at the same time. The idea behind them is to nurture our culture, build relationships and connection, and to welcome new starters into the business. During the day we hold the actual ‘moment’, where we bring business messages to life in an engaging way. Examples of some of the themes we’ve run so far include: fun activities to launch our new values, fundraising for our nominated charity, and hearing from speakers on topics such as inclusion and mental health awareness. We’ve also kept a couple back purely for social activities, as we see that as valuable too.
I lead on the initiative and I’m really proud of the impact they’ve had. People look forward to coming along to them, and the buzz they create carries on after the event themselves.
Which of your people initiatives has done most to create a more personalised employee experience?
Our flexible working programme ‘You Work, Your Way’ (YWYW), is based on the idea that a one-size fits all approach doesn’t work when it comes to flexibility. It’s aim is to offer choice and flexibility (as long as customer, business, and colleague needs are being met), to enable people to be the best version of themselves, do the best for our customers, and get the best out of their lives.
The programme recognises that everyone has a different role, customers, and a unique set of personal circumstances. Therefore as long as customer, business and colleague needs are being met, people can choose how, when and where they work.
Some more customer facing teams do need to attend the office more, however we look to offer them different types of flexibility to balance it out. We’ve had really positive feedback from our employees about the benefits they’ve gained from this personalised approach both in terms of being more productive and enhancing their wellbeing.
How do you make sure you really listen – and keep listening - to your employees, especially during periods of change?
We make sure we have a range of channels available for employees to have their say, so that people can feed back in a way that suits them. This includes quarterly pulse checks where we ask a maximum of five questions to get a sense about how people are feeling, as well as one full engagement survey each year. We also encourage feedback through our internal social network site Yammer, and also via our weekly all-company briefing that we run via MS Teams. We also encourage people to give feedback through our different employee groups including engagement champions, our Inclusion Network, and Mind Matters Champions (mental health first aiders).
The important thing for us though is that if we receive feedback, we do something with it, and always close the loop through things such as ‘You said, we did’. As well as explaining what actions we’re talking to address feedback, we also believe it’s important to be clear if we’re not going to do make a change and the reasons why.
What are you doing specifically to make sure that everyone in your business feels they have a chance to develop their careers?
Our climbing frame career development programme opens up a range of opportunities for people to learn, grow and progress. Underpinning it is the concept that ‘your career is a climbing frame, and not a ladder’ and that progression doesn’t always have to be linear. In fact sometimes to get to where you want to be you might need to take a sideways or diagonal step, or even what is perceived to be a step down. The programme offers opportunities such as secondments, projects, funding for qualifications, and ring fenced roles just for internal applicants.
Last year alone, nearly 40 of our employees (out of 260) achieved an internal move or promotion, and a lot of that is down to our climbing frame.
Tell us how you help your employees to understand and shape the social purpose and values driving your business?
Last year we refreshed both our values and purpose . We involved employees heavily in shaping both of these, as we knew how important getting their input was in terms of them ultimately connecting with them.
To develop our values, we held workshops which every single employee from across the business attended. In the sessions we carried out activities which helped people to explore what their personal values are, and then we subsequently asked for people’s input into what they think we should stand for as an organisation. Some really clear themes came out, which helped us to develop the new values which are: we know our stuff, we make it happen and we care. People instantly connected with them and could see how their input had been incorporated. In less than six month 92% of people say they know what our values are.
Similarly for our purpose, members of our Executive Group visited team huddles to ask them what they believed the most important parts of our purpose were. We then showed people a draft purpose for feedback, which was then tweaked following employee input.
We make sure our values and purpose run through everything we do like a golden thread, and continually connect people back to them, and positively reinforce people who live our values and work to fulfil our purpose.
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