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Attracting and Retaining Talent in the Social Housing Sector, with Advanced

Attracting and Retaining Talent in the Social Housing Sector, with Advanced

by OneAdvanced PR, Author

Tackling the people problem

A large-scale survey carried out by Advanced in 2023 found that retention and attraction was the number one issue for 44% of senior decision makers in the social housing sector. This compares to a figure of 41% across industry as a whole.

When it comes to recruitment, many in the housing sector find it difficult to attract candidates with specific skills. A 2023 Housing Forum webinar revealed that HR and senior leaders find it particularly difficult to recruit for roles relating to property development, compliance auditing, surveying, and regeneration.

To help tackle these recruitment difficulties, Housing Quality Network (HQN) recently held a summit with HR experts from social housing organisations throughout the UK. The panel said that providers should look towards a deeper talent pool, especially when hiring for roles requiring specific skillsets. Organisations should consider different Employee Value Propositions (EVPs) and these should be laid out clearly in job descriptions.

In order to retain staff, attendees at the Housing Forum webinar stated that they are putting a number of measures in place to promote employee wellbeing. These measures include money towards gym membership, fitness classes, mindfulness apps, and annual grants that can be used on activities that promote physical or mental wellbeing.


What’s wrong with wellbeing incentives?

Despite efforts by managers and HR leaders to engage their workforces with wellbeing apps and gym discounts, the question remains: do these incentives actually work? So far, the evidence says no. A 2019 Harvard University study found that employees who were given a wellness programme were 8.3% more likely to say they engaged in regular exercise compared to those who were not given the programme. However, after 18 months, the researchers found no significant difference in physical health, retention, or job performance between the two groups.

A 2023 Oxford University study looked into the impact of a variety of wellbeing incentives, such as wellbeing apps and mindfulness classes. The study found that these interventions had no significant impact on employee wellbeing or job satisfaction. In fact, the study suggests that in some cases, they may have made matters worse: employees who were given mindfulness and workplace resilience training reported lower levels of mental wellbeing.

The above studies show that – at least by themselves – wellbeing initiatives don’t seem to be effective. This may be because they represent an addition to the employee’s workload – rather than taking work away, they are simply adding to a long list of tasks. In the Oxford University study, author Wiliam Fleming concludes that better wellbeing at work can be achieved by mitigating job demands, and implementing organisational change.

Fleming states that organisational change should include changes to scheduling, management practices, staff resources, and performance review. Properly implemented, these changes mean employees are faced with fewer administrative tasks, and are better able to work within a structure that is flexible and allows for constructive feedback.

The CPM solution

The type of structure described by Fleming aligns neatly with the Continuous Performance Management model (CPM). Replacing the outdated ‘annual appraisal’, CPM allows for regular feedback in real time, giving managers a more realistic assessment of performance. This helps eliminate bias (an annual assessment may coincide with low employee wellbeing, giving an unfair picture of performance) and highlights any recent blockers.

Advanced’s Performance and Talent solution makes it easy to implement CPM in organisations of all sizes. Hosted in the cloud, the software is download-free, and can be used anywhere with a Wi-Fi connection – ideal for flexible working practices.

With Performance and Talent, employees spend less time on ‘tick box’ exercises and more time discussing their achievements and challenges. For managers, the software keeps an ongoing digital record of employee feedback and performance, with clear charts and infographics for data comparison. Employee objectives can be set, giving clear targets to work towards, fostering engagement and a sense of purpose.

Objectives can be set individually or collaboratively, and to align with the values of the organisation. These objectives can be adapted as the year evolves, putting meaningful progression at the heart of the workplace. When evaluating an employee for promotion, the software makes it easy with Talent Snapshots – an insightful analysis of suitability for progression.

Employees at all levels are able to give feedback to any other, embedding a culture of praise and constructive feedback throughout the organisation. For those who may not feel comfortable using their own words, the software comes with intelligent AI to aid in the writing process – a smart solution to improve employee engagement and ensure everyone is listened to.

Discover the power of Performance and Talent.

If you would like to take a deeper look into what key factors have been playing a part in shaping the housing sector, then download your copy of the Advanced Housing Sector Trends Report here 

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