Staff training is currently more vital than ever. Woe betide those who cut it
It’s now five years since the credit crunch began. In these challenging economic times, it wouldn’t be difficult to strike a line through the learning and development budget. But at what cost?
Our residents are relying on us for more support, against a backdrop of funding cuts and welfare reforms. The onus is on housing staff more than ever to find cost effective and innovative ways to meet these challenges and to serve our customers effectively. But if we are asking our employees to step up to the challenge, I believe it is only fair that we play our part and give them the tools and support to deliver.
With the ever changing external landscape, investing in flexible and effective employee learning and development programmes, which help to serve our customers and meet business needs, is an imperative, not a luxury.
At Hyde Group, we want our staff to operate in an environment where they can develop as individuals and as part of a team, while at the same time making a difference for our customers. We have been optimising our learning and development budgets to make sure our business is fit for purpose with the right people and right skills to do the job.
We have already invested more than 4,000 classroom-based training days in the past year, with half being delivered by our own staff who understand the business and can deliver practical, tailored learning.
We are also working with specialist trainers from charity experts such as Mind and Mencap which are helping with our front line customer service and this has led to an increase in customer satisfaction and support.
We have also embarked on a programme of virtual learning and have joined up with the Ashridge Business School to develop a customised web-based learning environment for managers.
Over the past couple of years, Hyde has invested around £800,000 into learning and development programmes. This as not only an investment in developing staff to provide excellence services, but also playing a key role in talent retention and attraction.
If housing providers are not investing in their people and their people are not geared up to support their customers’ ever changing needs, we won’t be living by our values of operating with a business head and social heart.
Steve White is chief executive of Hyde Group