Monday 22nd of July 2019
Tpas Business Development Manager, Michael Hill reflects on the session he faciliated at the Tpas National Tenant Conference.
A week has passed since the Tpas National Tenant Conference and I have been thinking about the sessions I facilitated. The focus of my challenge was ‘So What?’ and it provoked some interesting responses. I was hated for about half of the session but once we elaborated on the point, things got a little easier. Fortunately that was the plan!
I’ve been in the engagement game for 20 years, and in that time I have been involved in lots of activities. I’ve created many good interactions, facilitated many conversations that were designed to gather the views of the participant.
It is only in this last few years that I have become a little frustrated. The events of the last two years have made me more determined to make engagement effective and purposeful – it’s time to draw a line under tokenism and create real challenge.
Where to next, what needs to change?
This is something that only those in the housing sector can affect. At Tpas we are going to be continuing our challenge to the sector to produce meaningful engagement that makes best use of time and resources. We will showcase the organisations that do the right things, at the right time, with the right people. What will you do?
You have the right to ask Why when your landlord asks for your opinions and ideas. Ask them to show the problem they looking to tackle and how will they know that it is solved? Don’t get comfortable attending meaningless events, find another hobby if your time is being abused.
If you do o along, make sure you use the opportunity to engage, and if you are bench warming, move over and let someone else in.
You have an obligation to utilise resources effectively and get value for money. Resident engagement is no different and we should use it sparingly and only when there is a clearly defined issue to resolve or need that wants meeting. Don’t ask residents to rubber stamp an internal process that you know will improve efficiency – get on with it but tell the story of what you have done.
Engage residents on things that make a difference to them or in plans that affect them in their homes or communities.
What will our legacy be, what will they say about us in 20 years-time? Will they say we had a chance to get it right but we chickened out, or will they say we took the bull by the horns, did the hard things with integrity and made a difference?
So to round up here’s my summary
- Residents, when you get the chance to be involved, take it
Make sure that you read any info you are given, research yourself and contribute. If you are not contributing, move over and let someone else have a go
- Residents, don’t be afraid to ask why
Your time is precious so use it wisely. Only get involved when there is a clear reason to do so
- Landlords, be good at saying what you are doing and why
Good information sharing is one of the best things you can do, it helps build trust and confidence
- Landlords, engage residents in plans and proposals that affect them, their families and their communities
Don’t play God with resident engagement options. Strategic planning and operational processes that impact on the service are important to residents, just as much as the colour choices you offer when replacing an old kitchen
- Landlords, engage only when there is a clear reason to do so – make sure everyone knows why
Have clear objectives and outcomes that show a business case for the engagement, plan it properly
- Time, Time, Time, Time, Time
You get out what you put in. Rushing is a waste. Put in the time to plan, prepare and deliver meaningful engagement. A hard-boiled egg takes around 10mins, don’t take it out after 5 and expect the same result
- Landlords, keep it neat and tidy and close the loop of engagement by feeding back what has happened as a result
Make sure that you show how the engagement has affected the decision. Explain where things cannot be actioned with clear reasoning – and thank them for their time