The housing sector has come in for some pretty heavy criticism and we all know there is a housing crisis. Yorkshire Housing clearly promotes itself as part of the solution to the crisis with our ambitious building programme.
As the business is deep into its modernisation programme, we are making a number of changes. These changes feel very real to some people and are actually very real for others.
The conversations I have with people every day demonstrates to me how many people are really in the change curve. We know the vast majority of people are impacted one way or another.
So, what do we do with all this change on a personal, organisational and sector-wide level?
For me, the answer is we turn and face it. We should make the differences to our work lives, our customers’ lives, to Yorkshire Housing (YH) and to the sector.We can already see the sector is pushing itself in a variety of ways to improve how we engage with customers and to improve on how we run ourselves like a business. And Yorkshire Housing’s vision and ambition to change is a clear direction of travel.
In thinking about change, there’s a number of quotes I apply to how I approach change in my personal life. I’ve shared a few below:
“Do the best you know until you know better. Then when you know better, do better.” Maya Angelou.
Feedback and challenge is vital for us as individuals, organisations and as a sector. The world we live in is constantly changing and processes and expectations have moved on. A couple of years ago the prospect of signing for a food delivery was seen as revolutionary. Now, I get a text with the name of my driver, their registration, any missing items and a receipt in my app.
There is great practice within and outside the sector we can tap in to. In order to serve our customers in the manner they deserve, we must be innovators and take responsibility for leading this within our organisations. This is something I also apply to my day-to-day work. I started at YH on a week-to-week temporary contract working as a repairs help desk advisor. I’ve had at least five job titles and at least seven managers in that time. Each of these changes has given me an opportunity to gain feedback, learn more, enhance my skills and adapt my way of working.
“You don’t stop being a consumer when you go to work.”
For me, it is crucial to embed this thinking as we design our customer experiences. Should I expect any less from my landlord then I get from health services, my bank, local council, Amazon or Uber?
We should challenge ourselves as a sector to lead the way in delivering amazing customer experiences that move from being customer-focused to customer-centric. Instead of thinking the customer into our business processes, we have a real opportunity to think the business into the processes a customer experiences.
“What problem are you trying to fix?”
An obvious one, but a question we must always ask ourselves. If a process isn’t working, do we know why? Are we trying to fix this for a customer or for ourselves? What is the root cause? Why do we make that person behave that way? What do they want? What change are we trying to embed and for how long?
If we truly know what the problem is, instead of responding to the symptoms of the problem, we have a better chance of fixing this faster and reaping more benefits from this fix.
So in conclusion, housing is changing, and the way organisations manage change is also evolving. Change always has an impact on people that we all feel. Being open and clear about the vison and purpose of change allows us to understand this better.
With change and uncertainty comes a great opportunity. And, in the words of David Bowie, we should “turn and face the change” to reap the huge benefits of change.