Katy Dent, interim director of human resources, tells us about what it’s like to work at One Housing and why it’s an exciting time to join the HR team.
Tell us about One Housing and the work you do
We’re a London-based housing association but with some homes out in Essex, Berkshire and other counties around London. We have about 16,000 homes in total – around half are affordable so at reduced rent for those who need a helping hand. We also run care and support services helping over 11,500 people to live independently or simply get on in life. We are constantly building new homes and expanding our care services, especially for older people, so we need new talented people to help us expand and develop our 1,600-strong workforce.
Can you describe any unique aspects that make the organisation stand out from others?
Even though we’re a medium-sized housing association on paper we like to think we punch above our weight and we have a reputation for doing so too. For our size we’re one of the most actively building housing associations for example, because we think short supply is the biggest factor in the housing crisis. We’re also a lot more diverse than many other similar organisations – most specialise in one or two things but we have our fingers in a lot of pies!
What exciting projects are you working on?
Our new chief executive, Richard Hill, is leading on a major transformation programme called One Future which covers all aspects of our work. We want to really improve our customer service and get more efficient as well as making it a more rewarding place to work. For example, we’re a bit behind when it comes to technology so there is a big focus on improving that. Many of these projects will involve key members of the HR team, contributing their expertise to cross-disciplinary project teams.
What roles are you recruiting for and what do they involve?
We’re looking to recruit an HR business partner who will lead a small team of HR advisers responsible for providing strategic people solutions and guidance to the senior management teams. This will mean working with lots of different parts of the business such as finance, IT, property development and building repairs teams. The role will also lead on several improvement projects as part of the One Future transformation programme.
We also need a new learning & development manager, working alongside HR and other colleagues across the organisation to look after training and ensure that the skills, knowledge and talent development needs across the whole of One Housing are identified and met.
Finally, we have created a new role of talent resourcing manager. They will oversee all our staff recruitment and temporary resourcing work, managing our relationship with a new recruitment process outsourcing (RPO) provider and developing our employer brand and talent attraction initiatives.
What kind of people would suit these roles?
We’re looking for HR professionals with a successful track record in carrying out similar roles elsewhere, perhaps in a smaller employer, and are looking to get experience in a large and growing not-for-profit organisation with a social purpose but that still has a commercial attitude towards getting the job done well.
This is a friendly and supportive environment with huge potential for everyone who works here.”
How would you describe a 'wonderful workplace'?
Well in terms of One Housing – I think we recognise we have some modernising to do. We have definitely been listening to our workforce – we have taken part in Best Companies for four years now and there are a few areas where we are really focusing on improving our offer to people. One Future will also give people more flexibility and better tools to do a great job. But behind these ‘material’ aspects I think we have something equally if not more important – a great culture. This is a friendly and supportive environment with huge potential for everyone who works here.
“One Housing has many dedicated staff who are inspired to make a positive difference to people’s lives and the organisation has a track record of encouraging people to show initiative and bring their ideas to the table.”
Tell us a bit more about the team culture at One Housing
One Housing has many dedicated staff who are inspired to make a positive difference to people’s lives and the organisation has a track record of encouraging people to show initiative and bring their ideas to the table. The 18-strong HR team is collaborative and cohesive, as well as committed to providing an efficient and high quality reactive and proactive service to a complex range of internal stakeholders.
What challenges might the new recruits face in their roles?
We’re always working on clarifying the role of people managers in relation to human resources, as they can expect a lot of ‘hand holding’. We’re planning to expand the range and depth of our leadership and management development in the coming year to equip managers to carry out their people management role more confidently and even more effectively.
What career development and training opportunities do you offer?
We support HR staff to attend short courses, conferences, seminars and longer term qualification training relevant to their role, as well as providing internal coaching by more senior HR professionals. The huge diversity of our portfolio of work across the business also gives people a chance to learn about all kinds of disciplines as diverse as construction, care, planning, youth work and even hospitality. Lots of people transfer within the business when they discover they have a new interest simply because they have been exposed to professional areas they have not encountered before.
There’s lots of positive change happening and so it is an exciting time to join us. Having a new senior team and a focus on change means there is a real sense of anticipation in the air which is energising.”
Sum up what it's like to work at One Housing
There’s lots of positive change happening and so it is an exciting time to join us. Having a new senior team and a focus on change means there is a real sense of anticipation in the air which is energising. Our head office is also in Camden in Central London and overlooking the famous market, so there is a buzz to the area and it means there are lots of opportunities to socialise near work for those who want to. It’s certainly not a place to work if you want to sit around and twiddle your thumbs waiting for something to happen!
Does this sound like your ideal workplace? Click on one of the links below to find out more and apply:
HR business partner
Learning & development manager
Talent resourcing manager
Apply for a HR role at One Housing
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