Johnnie Johnson HousingBack to Case studies
“We chose Oasis because they were flexible to our needs, responsive and well placed in our areas of operation, but most of all, were focused on the human relations side of management. This key aspect shines throughout the organisation.”Human Resources (HR)
Johnnie Johnson Housing
Supporting staff – the organisation’s key asset
As a small- to medium-sized Housing Association dedicated to providing quality housing and service, Johnnie Johnson recognised their 250 staff were their key asset.
They achieved the Investors in People award and have had two further accreditations since 1997. They consider they are a good employer and have evidence to support that.
Good employment practices included flexible working and they recognise the employment and business benefits of enabling staff to achieve improved work/life balance.
The employment continuum is often about the needs of the organisation and needs of the individual.
However, they recognised that there was a limit to the amount of support they could give individual staff internally.
Services without feedback
They had launched a Stress at Work policy in 2001 and although they had a confidential counselling telephone helpline (provided by their insurance company), they had no idea of the effectiveness or quality of this service.
There was no feedback, so they did not know if it was being used and if it was, for what reasons.
The Senior Management Team felt unaware of what was going on and thought they needed a better feel for what was happening.
Increasingly, any personal counselling needs required by staff were falling onto the Personnel Managers’ shoulders.
This was proving difficult due to a geographically dispersed workforce and the fact that the role involved other tasks and objectives that needed to be met.
The Personnel Manager realised that some sort of Employee Assistance Programme was required and set about to identify a suitable provider.
Oasis comes on board
A few national names were identified but the counselling service appeared secondary to the services offered.
From an initial enquiry to Oasis they found us a highly responsive organisation that appeared concerned about the individual.
HR said: “We chose Oasis because they were flexible to our needs, responsive and well placed in our areas of operation, but most of all, were focused on the human relations side of management. This key aspect shines throughout the organisation.”
The service was launched in October 2001. We gave presentations to three groups in different parts of the country to ensure everyone understood how to use the service.
Benefits of the service
The service helps Johnnie Johnson monitor the effectiveness of man management policies and practices, as well as identifying potential areas of stress in the organisation.
Managers can take ‘pre-emptive’ action to prevent problems developing or worsening; there is a clearer idea of the collective ‘health’ of the organisation in staffing terms; and it provides qualitative information to the quantitative health indicators such as absence and labour turnover levels.
There is now a lot of word-of-mouth recommendation of the service and a greater willingness to use counselling.
Managers have encouraged referrals and many find it beneficial to have such a ‘management tool’ available.
Reports and feedback
Oasis has provided reports every six months, which have confirmed expectations and highlighted areas that need attention.
HR said: “The reports and issues raised have also helped us to focus on our training needs – both present and future.”
Anecdotal feedback has been very positive from the beginning.
Comments employees have made about the assistance they have received have included:
“The sessions gave me strength and courage, and helped me regain my self-respect.”
“I became more aware of potential problems before they arise in the future.”
“Physical stress symptoms reduced – useful to be able to ‘offload’ issues and see the way forward.”
HR said: “We have no hesitation in recommending the service to other organisations – and have already done this!”