Trafford Housing Trust (THT) is a Greater Manchester ex-local authority housing provider. They employ more than 350 staff in a wide variety of roles ranging from manual trades to contact centre staff, and from social workers to finance managers.
Ranked 74th in the Sunday Times Best Companies list in the public and third sector and holding the Investors in People Silver Award, THT were already seen as a good company to work for. However, they wanted to do more. Keenly aware of the physical and emotional stresses faced by their staff in providing social and housing support to often vulnerable people, THT were determined to find ways to support employees further through an improved focus on wellbeing. In approaching the project, they set a number of measurable goals. These included reducing sickness absence levels to below the industry average, increasing customer satisfaction, and gaining the Investors in People Gold and Health and Wellbeing Best Practice Awards
What we did
Engaging the senior team
Combining information from staff surveys with a detailed analysis of staff absence levels and causes, Rightway designed training based around making the business case for investment in employee wellbeing. Having established a case for action, we then devised a plan incorporating positive management behaviours alongside the criteria for the IIP Health and Wellbeing Award.
All THT managers attended a one or two day Rightway Manage WELL training programme. This covered the WELL principles – Work, Environment, Liberty, Lifestyle – plus aspects of absence management including Return to Work, Fit notes, and managing stress. Mixed traditional classroom techniques with experiential learning exercises allowed managers to understand first-hand the effects of certain manager behaviours.
Training concluded with managers coaching each other in the development of a personalised action plan for improving the wellbeing of their own teams.
Volunteer wellbeing champions took part in Rightway training covering the company’s own material on the practical application of health promotion alongside the Royal Society for Public Health Level 2 Award in Understanding Health Improvement syllabus. A further important factor in the project’s success was the production of a wellbeing brand that stakeholders could immediately identify with initiatives aimed at improving their health and wellbeing.
Sickness absence reduced considerably over the two years of the project to a level that benchmarked well against other housing associations. This led to a direct cost saving in the region of £62,000 and an estimated total saving on absence alone of over £90,000, equating to £260 per head. In addition, there was a significant decline in employee resignations plus clear evidence of increased customer satisfaction. The Trust climbed from 74th to 22nd place in the Best Companies to Work For list, and not only did they achieve the IIP Gold and Health and Wellbeing awards, they were also invited to become IIP Champions and share best practice with other organisations.
“Staff explained that they believe the health, wellbeing and work/life balance initiatives have made Trafford Housing Trust a really good place to work.”