I have been asked to provide a briefing note for a new starter. Below is a summary of information that will be given to the new starter so that they have a chance to gain some understanding of the organisation and what we do and how we operate. •An introduction to the organisation:
At Accent we have been providing high quality social housing for rent and sale for over 40 years, and we remain firmly committed to providing our residents with the excellent homes and top quality services they have a right to expect. We currently own and manage over 20,500 homes across the country, which over 34,000 residents call home. Our residents’ services are provided by five local contact centres, these are based in Bradford, Burnley, Camberley, Middlesbrough and Peterborough. We also administer award winning employment, training, vocational and business support projects which support our residents and their communities.
•The purpose and goals of the organisation: Making a Difference…. Improving homes, communities and lives and we achieve that by: Deliver excellent, locally agreed services
Provide high quality homes to live in.
Support our residents to sustain their homes and communities Be an ambitious and successful business.
Our core values – respectful, creative and dependable – sum up exactly what we stand for. They are relevant to every market we work in. Wherever possible, everyone we work with (including our suppliers and contractors), has similar values.
•We want to become a trusted advocate of the individual and the community.
•We build our business around the customer, and motivate our people to get the right results for our customers and partners.
•In making decisions we always take into account our customers’ views and put ourselves in their position.
•We welcome and encourage involvement in decision-making processes by our customers and partners.
•We will be ‘easy to do business with.
•We want our people to be passionate and enthusiastic about their work and the vision we have set out, and we give clear direction to support this. •We respect and value our people’s contributions to the success of the organisation.
•We encourage and reward creative ideas that help to continually improve our services and bring in new business.
•We also take steps to help our people and customers fulfil their potential.
•Above all, we aim to develop a culture that permits people to take risks and learn from their mistakes.
•We have built our business over 40 years and utilise our experience and heritage.
•We have a strong financial track record and our people are knowledgeable and professional in their work.
•We are aware of risk but not averse to risk. We have developed highly effective mechanisms to manage risk that enable us to take advantage of opportunity without jeopardising our solidity. We are aware of our impact as a business on the environment and are working towards minimising this impact.
•We are committed to quality and customer service excellence.
•We strive to be a dependable business partner and an organisation our customers can trust and rely on.
•Services that we offer at Accent:
Social Housing, Sheltered Accommodation, Supported Housing, Training, and vocational and business support projects.
•Our main customer group
Our main customers are external people on a low income or who need extra support and are looking for somewhere to live.
PESTLE Analysis – (Please see appendix 1a below)
Introduction of affordable rents and the impact of the welfare reforms The TSA abolished in 2012 and adjustments to a new regulatory regime under the HCA The impact of the Localism Act in reforming social housing Economic
Supported People funding no longer ring-fenced and being subjected to severe cuts but some Local Authorities.Significant areas of local unemploymentHouse price vulnerability of home ownership in charging economic conditions Social
Ageing population Social and financial exclusionCompetition with other providers Technological
ICT SystemsCommunication & access to servicesWelfare reform Legal
Court ProcessIncrease focus on tackling fraud and tenancy abuseAbolition of the TSA Environmental
Fuel Poverty Green AgendaLocal Authorities faced with deficient stock, failing neighbourhoods may look to work in partnership
Below I have given a more in-depth analysis of 4 of these external factors and I have highlighted their impact on the business activities within Accent and what we are as a organisation are doing to combat these issues. Welfare Reforms The issues that we face:-
•Direct Housing Payments
•Spare room subsidy (Bedroom Tax)Our Responses:-
•Ensure affected tenants are supported through access to welfare benefits advice – Extra Care
•Assist affected tenants to apply for discretionary payments
•Make provision for tenants affected by the spare room subsidy to downsize their home to mitigate the effect of the subsidy
The issues that we face:-
•Changing needs of customer base
•Lack of suitable stock
•Opportunity to ensure service and stock
•Enhanced support needs The Responses:-
•Partnership with Burnley Borough County Council to research future needs of local population
•Broaden access to aids and adaptations
ICT SystemsThe issues that we face:-
•Systems require modernisation
•Lack of CRM capability
•Lack of customer profile informationThe Responses:-
•Purchase and implement a fit for purpose Housing Management System in conjunction with a CRM (Customer Relationship Management) system •Develop a refreshed interactive website offering access to services
•Carry out customer profiling exercise to populate CRM
Court ProcessThe issues that we face:-
•Length of time cases are at court
•Reluctance to grants decree
•Counter claimsThe Responses:-
•Make use of Local agents (Solicitors)
•Improve arrears recovery process
•Update processes to ensure potential for counter claim is reduced
Organisation chart – Please see appendix 1b below
In a business as large and diverse as Accent Group, there are many different jobs. Its structure is complex, so to help individuals within the business understand their roles and responsibilities; Accent has a set of Business
Principles that demonstrate its commitment to operating ethically and responsibly.
•Below I have outlined 4 different functions within the structure of Accents organisation.
1.Marketing – by understanding customer needs, the marketing function can inform the overall business strategy and ensure that the Accent image and brand reflect its mission statement.
2.Procurement – is the acquisition of goods and/or services at the best possible price. Within Accent this function secures cost effective repair contracts and establishes long term partners to ensure business continuity.
3.Finance – to manage the flow of money across the business. Finance managers produce financial and management accounts not only to ensure legal compliance but also to contribute to the strategic decision-making process by forecasting financial performance. Budgets enable Operations to have the resources to carry out processes.
4.Human Resources (HR) – This includes planning and forecasting staff requirements and managing recruitment and selection. The HR team ensures that managers apply HR policies and procedures consistently across the business. The development of staff is a key priority within the Accent business. Without the right people, Operations may not be able to achieve targets.
•To optimise performance within Accent these functions work together in the following way:-
1.Finance works alongside HR to make sure that staffing/recruitment are at the right level for the business and at the same time delivering this within the budget.
2.Marketing works alongside Finance to make sure the company is working with the same brand image, promoting the company and delivering this within the budget. 3.HR works alongside Marketing to make sure job description, job adverts get full coverage and that the brand image is filtered through into the advertisements.
•Culture of Accent
The Culture of Accents organisation is a Regulated Organisation (Task Culture). Accent is a private, non-profit making organisation that provide low-cost “social housing” for people in need of a home. Any trading surplus is used to maintain existing housing and to help finance new homes. Although independent they are regulated by the Housing Cooperation and commonly receive public funding.
2 ways in which the culture can affect Accents operations if funding is reduced or taken away this will have an effect on the operations also how we are externally regulated.
•Below is a description of several ways HR activities support Accent and helps meet its goals and business objectives
1.Recruitment and Selection
The HR function offers technical assistance, such as writing job descriptions, classifying workers into proper departments and assigning a fair rate of pay. HR department also screens applicant pools and only recommend qualified candidates for interviews. Without HR support, managers would have to perform all staffing activities and manage their employees’ performance for reaching goals.
The HR function provides staff with adequate opportunities for learning, including ongoing training and managers who guide their development. These ensure that workers are placed on a path to making a bigger contribution to the organisation.
The HR function offers data that management can use to make decisions about employees. For example, management can review the latest results of an employee survey and decide what changes to implement in the workplace in response to employee concerns. Without such a decision-science approach to the working conditions for employees, management will miss an important chance to improve how talent is managed. Happy workers help an organisation achieve its goals.
•Below are 3 ways in which HR professionals support line managers within Accent
1.Recruitment and Selection
To streamline the hiring process and improve the selection of qualified applicants. Ensure that we have the right people in the right place and in the right time. Recruiters also examine processes for filling vacancies such as communication with line managers, assessing the accuracy and usefulness of job descriptions and whether pre-employment assessments are really helpful in identifying solid candidates. Assist screening, interviewing, conducting reference check and to the eventual placement of candidates within various positions within the group. Assist with the communication of employment offers and remuneration structures to new employees. Create and maintain database of candidates/ applicants with potential. Arrange and conduct employee induction which including office access and company information.
2.Compensation and Benefits
Provide payroll information regarding merit increases to managers as requested Maintain employee benefits data in automated human resources information system. Ensure of updating annual salary review and any promotions throughout the year. Ensure that the monthly payroll is done on time and accurate. Keeping record of attendance, and leave. Yearly analysis on salary benchmarking
3. Performance Management
Training and development is an HR function that prepares line managers for a number of leadership tasks. Handles appraisal, which forms the basis for decisions like incentive payment, increments, promotions and transfers. An effective performance management process enables line managers to undertake their people management responsibilities well and get the best from the people they manage.
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