From transactional to transformational HR: How Believe Housing achieved their corporate strategy goals
Case Study

Believe Housing

From transactional to transformational HR: How Believe Housing achieved their corporate strategy goals

Industry: Housing
Company Size: 500+ employees
Set Up: Field workers and office-based employees

Believe Housing manages around 18,000 homes in the North East of England, making them one of the largest housing associations in the area. They employ over 500 people across a broad mix of expertise, including office-based workers and a team of maintenance and repair operatives in the field. 

The multi-award-winning association creates inclusive, vibrant communities by putting tenants at the heart of everything they do. Since its launch, they have adopted a culture of ‘doing the right thing’, whether that be for the business, its employees or customers.

  • Enhance delivery of annual corporate engagement plan
  • Encourage employee adoption of company values to improve customer service
  • Gain a more in-depth overview of employee development and objective attainment

Strategic Challenges

Enhancing employee culture in line with corporate strategy -large

Enhancing employee culture in line with corporate strategy

The association’s first corporate strategy was released in April 2020, outlining its long-term vision to create a life without barriers, for the business, employees and customers. Following the unprecedented period of change caused by the pandemic, they evaluated progress and started working towards the next phase of their strategic planning process.

As outlined in its most recent corporate outline, the association then focused on their people, encouraging employee creativity and autonomous decision-making. They introduced an Innovation Academy, which brought employees together to give them the confidence to solve problems. 

The next phase introduced a Wellbeing Strategy, to enhance their supportive working environment. A key focus of this business strategy was on building their existing workplace culture.

They needed a solution that allowed their employees to understand their own growth, achieve recognition and adopt the Believe Housing company values.

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Engaging a distributed team across various devices

Implementing a unified performance and objective tracking solution was a key driver for the project. With a combination of office workers and field operatives working on wildly different projects, Believe Housing needed a simple way to log, update and track objectives on the go, from any device.

They needed to deliver a solution that didn’t require major in-house development, was compatible with their existing systems and could be launched around tight timescales. Employee ease of use was vital, with the facility for single sign-on, alongside adherence to security measures.

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Improving an outdated performance management framework

Believe Housing had an existing performance management solution in place. However, as an ‘out-of-the-box’ product from a global supplier, it offered no scope for flexibility. They needed a product that was aligned to their working practices while tying into their culture and values.

Under the proposed Wellbeing Strategy, employee behaviours and their adoption across the workforce were required reporting metrics. The existing system had no way to facilitate these needs, and the provider didn’t offer bespoke personalisation or development.

In line with their corporate strategy planning process, the business wanted to improve overall delivery by understanding more about employee performance, so created a behaviour framework linked to values.

Believe Housing needed a solution that delivered performance management digitally, which could encompass the association’s culture and values.

Solutions and Results

Using software to increase employee engagement and performance -large

Software-enabled employee engagement and performance increase

The main goal was to manage employee performance, not just around objectives, but incorporating behaviours and company culture. StaffCircle’s solution facilitates every type of user across the organisation, no matter their learning style. Implementing a platform that was capable of being accessible and engaging for all was vital.

A new performance management framework was agreed upon, with the entire company taking part in a formal review process twice a year. However, the solution enables ad-hoc reviews, with all employees encouraged to set up regular check-ins. There is no expectation on the amount, each employee can arrange as many or as few as they need.

Believe Housing’s dispersed workforce can now easily monitor their own performance, plus manage the performance of any direct reports. At launch, all teams were coached on creating objectives, which were then loaded into their new platform. Each employee now logs in to update their progress against the objectives that have been set. 

Senior management needs to understand and evaluate employee engagement with communications and development. StaffCircle’s integrated performance management software and communications platform facilitated this. Publishing business announcements on a company-wide newsfeed, then analysing reception with detailed reports and dashboards, ensures real-time understanding of employee engagement.

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Data-informed corporate strategy and decision making

The ‘People’ goals listed in Believe Housing’s 2022 Corporate Plan emphasise the need to empower employees and focus on creating a collaborative culture. Using the actionable data from StaffCircle, they aim to understand ‘what good looks like’ for their employees.

When carrying out the twice-annual reviews, a snapshot of business performance is created. This data can be reviewed and analysed by the senior management team, leading to a more-informed talent mapping process. They plan to implement succession planning, which will give the business the power to make decisions that support core values.

Ultimately, the project goal is to help employees be their best selves at work. This enhances the results of productive teams, leading to a higher-performing organisation that delivers outstanding customer service.

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Streamlined access with integrations

Believe Housing chose to set their StaffCircle portal hub as the default intranet homepage company-wide. With single sign-on activated as standard, it’s quick and simple for all employees to quickly access the features they need, no matter the device they’re using.

As StaffCircle fully integrates with Microsoft products, it enables further opportunities for reporting and improving ease of use. Since the onset of the global pandemic, Believe Housing has used Microsoft Teams to keep its workforce operational. Integrating the two products allows for direct access to the StaffCircle portal directly from Teams.

When asked to name a favourite feature, Business Leader Michelle noted the incredible power of the real-time feedback function, accessible directly from Microsoft Teams. If an employee makes a valuable contribution during a meeting, she appreciates being able to provide immediate, recorded feedback that can be linked to one of the association’s core behaviours or values.

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Executive buy-in

The association’s Chief Executive fully bought into the potential of StaffCircle and its power to enhance the employee experience. He sponsored the project, taking on a key role in the project team and helping to design the bespoke system. He oversaw the creation of all employee materials and hosted the initial launch call to outline the benefits to all employees.

I’ve worked in HR for a number of years, and the StaffCircle platform far outstrips anything I’ve used before. It allows me to understand what the driving force behind development truly is. At a glance, I’m able to explore performance metrics to understand whether results are achieved through individuals, managers, teams or directorates.

The StaffCircle team are truly phenomenal, I’ve never worked with a provider like them before. It’s incredible how they were able to listen to what I needed and transform initial visions into reality. It’s been a truly cooperative exercise, with their team fully focused on creating a solution that is the best fit for our organisation.

Michelle Brown
Business Leader: People Experience & OD