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Investors in People Platinum – A First in the Sector!

Members of North Star Housing senior team after receiving Investors in People platinum

We are proud to be North Star Housing Group’s partner in their journey towards shared leadership and a different way of working. They have recently achieved Investors in People Platinum – the first housing association in England to do so.

CEO Angela Lockwood said: “As a CEO who has previously undervalued awards, I have had to slowly learn the importance of these to organisations.  Least of all they can raise the business profile; provide benchmarking and external validation as well as improving staff motivation. The knack for me, is selecting the right awards amongst the myriads on offer.

I believe IiP has become a baseline necessity and achieving Gold some years back was a great achievement for us. Not only did it help improve our systems, it validated our cultural change process that was extensive and experimental.

Moving to a culture of shared leadership with high levels of trust, accountability, adult relationships and influence at every level sounds pretty straightforward but it really isn’t – it was a huge challenge and still is!

Measuring the outcomes of cultural change is not easy. Of course it all flows into the bottom line and into KPIs eventually as we can prove, but it’s also helpful to have people-centred measures from a source that we value, which is where IiP stepped in.

We went for Platinum to give us the stretch we needed and to further validate what we believed was our strong and successful culture. We did however underestimate the scale and extent of the massive step up to Platinum. There was no stone unturned by a very skilled assessor. IiP carried out a full staff survey with an 84% response rate. Around 30% of staff met the assessor individually and he observed staff briefings and staff groups. In addition, detailed evidence had to be provided against nine categories and the whole process took about three months – we were wrung out! The regional assessor then presented his recommendations to a panel of national assessors; a very robust process.

The organisation was in celebratory mood on hearing we had been awarded Platinum and staff motivation has gone through the roof. Our systems are much better because of the scrutiny and we know where we need to improve. Very importantly, our culture has been validated as one that leads and inspires, that lives the values and behaviours, involves and builds capability, and creates sustainable success.

So with 96% of staff feeling they have the ability to develop and grow, with over 90% of staff trusting their leaders, 92% of staff feeling that North Star is a great place to work and a staggering 99% feeling that the organisation has a future plan to ensure continued success – what’s not to like!!”

Other standout figures from the staff survey were that 95% agreed that “Our leaders motivate me to achieve exceptional results,” 98% said they participated in decision making with others in North Star, and 94% said they developed their capabilities to reach their full potential.

A recent internal temperature check has shown that 100% are proud to work for North Star, and 98% believe the organisation is run on strong values.

Sickness absence has reduced from 4.85% in 2011 to 1.49% in 2016/17, and absence due to work-related stress has gone from 30% to zero.

Business surplus, which enables reinvestment into services, communities and properties, is up from £811,000 to £3.6 million, and customer satisfaction has improved to 93%.