Staff feel right at home with Vicinity Group and give the company a 76% positive score for being proud to work in an environment where they have a voice and feel like family (75%). They say the organisation, one of the largest non-profit providers of social housing in Merseyside, is run on strong values and principles (another 76% positive score). Christian volunteers who wanted to improve Merseyside housing conditions first formed the organisation in 1965. Today the group manages almost 16,000 homes and has more than 420 staff working within five subsidiaries. Vicinity aims to be a quality housing provider that improves the communities in which it works
— in our survey staff returned a 71% score for feeling that the organisation makes a positive difference to the world we live in.
Offshoots such as its new Jigsaw Neighbourhood Solutions focus on working with residents and other group partners to help tackle antisocial behaviour, create employment and training opportunities in their areas, and to deliver clean, safe, well-managed and inclusive communities to residents. The group also funds projects that help with the training, education and support of vulnerable and excluded local people. This includes grants to those who would like to study for a recognised qualification.
Communication is strong within the housing association, offering staff an informal and relaxed atmosphere in which they are encouraged to participate in business and social activities. David Bebb, the chief executive, leads by example, sending out personal messages of thanks and support for a good job done. Senior managers always attend meetings in the interests of visibility and approachability and to make sure that workers have the opportunity to ask questions. Conferences, roadshows, workshops and appraisals all go to towards making employees aware of the integral part they play in achieving the objectives of the association. Away days and workforce participation in organisational planning encourage further team development.
Such endeavours are paying off. Colleagues give each other an 80% positive score for being fun to work with and an 81% rating for team members going out of their way to be helpful, ranking Vicinity Group 12th.
Employees feel they make a valuable contribution to the success of the company (76%) and say that managers talk honestly and openly with them (also 76%).
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