Homes for Haringey
The FIT team were awarded the contract to partner with HfH in Nov 2019 and were tasked with creating a wholly bespoke customer service training solution that would fulfil the strategic objectives of the ‘Great People’ strand of their ‘Winning Hands/Customer First’ Transformation Programme.
This programme highlighted the need for wholesale culture change across the organisation, in order to enhance the customer experience; increase employee engagement and improve operational efficiency on the frontline.
By March 2020, preparations were well underway to fulfil stage 1 of FIT’s S.H.A.P.E ModelTM of Success, with the launch of the Screening process – including a range of staff evaluation surveys, TNA questionnaires, motivational psychometric tests and management focus groups. Then, in March 2020, with the advent of Covid 19 and subsequent lockdown, our plans were significantly impacted – and back to the drawing board we all went!
Like many businesses at this time, we simply had to adapt to the emerging new way of working, in order to meet project objectives & timeframes and so, we essentially ‘reverse-engineered’ the plan to adopt a wholly blended learning approach to the programme, entitled ‘Caring for Customers from the Inside Out’.
We quickly switched tack to create and build a multi-sensory, online & offline simulated learner experience that would sit readily on HfH internal Learning Management System and adapted the programme content akin to FIT being ‘live’ in the training room &/or supporting learners at desk – and had to rely on internal resources to facilitate its delivery – in essence, the Cohort Leaders would replace our FIT Trainers in the classroom.
Given the many constraints during lockdown (of which the physical restriction of not being able to work in-person with the delegates was the biggest) this revised way of delivering a pilot culture change programme was of course, not without its challenges!
Tenancy Services were chosen to carry out Proof of Concept / Piloting of the programme, given they are the largest customer-facing business area in the organisation – although again, a big lesson learned because they were under THE most extreme pressure during this time, dealing with a breadth of customer concerns, issues and complaints, alongside a restructure of the operation and a workforce in total overwhelm, given the huge impact that the pandemic and lockdown had caused, both for their tenants and for the staff themselves.
To help with existing workloads, which were significantly increased due to lockdown, it was agreed that the entire programme would be delivered in modular format over a 12-week period.
Cohort groups were led by HfH Cohort Leaders who, in turn, were fully supported by the FIT team through a range of initiatives including;
In addition to facilitating the learning itself, the Cohort Groups were designed to help learners share experiences, challenges and success stories with their peers prior to completing the next module within each session. Real-life examples were used to help learners apply strategies and techniques into actual daily cases, to increase their understanding and ensure transfer into their daily conversations and situations with HfH customers.
All learners were tasked with a commitment to apply what they’d learned during the programme and create their own weekly Personal Action Plans to ensure ‘stickability’ of the learning once they were ‘back at desk’.
At quarterly intervals (Modules 3/6/9/12) learners were invited to their personal 1:1 coaching session with a member of the FIT Coaching Team, to really underpin the learning and support each delegate with their individual action plans. Executive Coaching sessions were also afforded to each Cohort Leader at these intervals, in order to fully support their learning journey and provide hands-on management support to enable them to effectively lead their group through the learning journey.
HfH were keen to introduce a recognised level of certification to the programme to ensure a structured, practical and methodical approach to learning and enhance the learners’ sense of achievement through a higher degree of consciousness and proactivity.
Once we’d finalised the framework and content we submitted all surveys, questionnaires, learning modules, programme plans/timelines, workbooks and supporting documentation for external assessment and accreditation by the CPD Standards Office (www.cpduk.co.uk).
We were delighted to achieve full accreditation on first submission and the Caring for Customers Programme has now been recognised as equivalent to 80 hours of Continuing Professional Development. An official Accreditation Ceremony took place on 17th Sep 2021, at HfH Head Office in Haringey, to recognise each delegate’s achievement and MD, Sean McLaughlin presented the personalised framed certificates, with a lovely decorated room and some yummy refreshments to celebrate the occasion!
Way Forward Plans
Given the extremely challenging circumstances under which the Caring for Customers (CfC) Pilot Programme was delivered – and the many lessons learned, as detailed in our stakeholder review meeting in Sep 2021, it is agreed that the CfC Pilot absolutely delivered on its ‘proof of concept’ objective and was deemed fully FIT for Purpose, once the revisions had been implemented, ensuring an enhanced and even more uniquely tailored learning experience would follow.
Following our presentation of the Executive Summary to key stakeholders, our recommendations for the way forward included a proposed Inaugural Programme of Caring for Customers – From the Inside Out ’ which Team FIT would lead on, to a select group from across the organisation, where we’d also work with a select number of potential FIT Trainers / Coaches as Cohort Leads, fully supported by the FIT Team, in order to ensure a smooth transition of ownership during the roll-out phase.
HfH plan to roll the programme out across all its 750+ colleagues and the FIT team will continue to support them as we transfer ownership into their business-as-usual activities including recruitment, selection, training delivery, 1:1 coaching and ongoing measurement & reporting of the programme’s critical success factors.
Our aim is to ensure that Homes for Haringey is positioned as the ‘Purple Cow’ in their field (where they show up & stand out as ‘remarkable’ in the service they provide); enjoy increased CX ratings, such as improvements in CSAT scores; tenant / customer reviews; increased employee engagement, where HfH Brand Ambassadors are proud to be representing the organisation and improved operational efficiency, ensuring a one-and-done approach to all customer interactions, so that HfH Customer First promise can be realised.
This success story now continues into 2022…..
And Team FIT are proud and privileged to be partnering HfH for another year with their Winning Hands Transformation Programme😊
“The Caring for Customers programme is probably one of the most important bespoke training programmes we have ever put together at Homes for Haringey. The attention to detail, design and structuring that First Impression Training have put into this is amazing and will help to ensure that it brings about the culture change that we are seeking to achieve. Our customers and our staff deserve nothing less.”
Director of Corporate Affairs