Tenants and staff reap benefits of housing association’s training programme

Posted on by karen.smith

A housing organisation, which has transformed customer service delivery by training staff, has been shortlisted for a prestigious national award.

RCT Homes in Pontypridd is one of nine finalists in three categories in the National Training Awards, organised within Wales by the Welsh Government in partnership with the National Training Federation for Wales (NTfW).

The National Training Awards recognise the outstanding achievements of employers who have Investors in People accreditation and who have used excellence in training and skills development to impact on their business.

The winners will be announced at a high profile awards presentation ceremony at Venue Cymru, Llandudno on Wednesday, October 24, where the winners of the Apprenticeship Awards Cymru will also be recognised. The joint awards which will be attended by around 300 key stakeholders from the vocational education and training sector across Wales.

Sponsor of the National Training Awards, which aim to showcase excellence in skills development in Wales, is City & Guilds and media partner is Media Wales.

Tenants and staff at RCT Homes, a finalist in the Large Employer category, have seen significant benefits following a training programme initiated as a result of a customer service review.

The review, which included a tenant survey and team assessment, highlighted a need to improve the time taken by the 29-strong contact centre team to answer calls and resolve queries. A staff survey indicated low moral and motivation.

Entitled New Beginnings, the training programme aimed to transform service delivery through workshops supported by in-house coaching, to help staff improve listening skills and communication with tenants, establish rapport and empathy and take ownership of problems.

For RCT Homes, Wales’ first community mutual housing organisation with more than 10,000 homes throughout Rhondda Cynon Taff, the results were remarkable.

Telephone response times fell from 80 to 34 seconds and staff demonstrated a greater ability to solve problems at the first contact. By arming staff with the tools to achieve these goals work satisfaction improved.

Feedback from tenants was positive and a staff follow-up survey indicated a 20 per cent increase in those looking forward to work and a 67 per cent reduction in sickness. This reduced the previous year’s agency costs of £145,000, with no agency support needed in 2012.

Learning and Development Manager, Nicola Marvelley said: “Staff stated what they needed from the training and benefitted from spending time together. Regular coaching meant that there was more monitoring of performance. It honestly marked a new beginning for the team who are happier and better equipped to deal with tenants.”

Deputy Minister for Skills, Jeff Cuthbert said: “These joint awards recognise excellence by individuals, employers and learning providers in delivering training. I am delighted with the standard of this year’s finalists and the variety across all ages and sectors, which shows the strength of the skills being delivered in Wales.

“All the finalists have an inspiring story to tell and are great ambassadors for Investors in People and other programmes in Wales. The Investors in People standard helps businesses become more competitive and improves their performance and results by maximising the potential of their staff.”

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