The search for commercial minds and social hearts

By Steven Burleigh and Ruth Lane | 17 May 2017

It is clear housing associations (HAs) are really trying to become more commercial and remain true to their mission to help those in need of social housing.

No matter how commercial, they are still not-for-profit organisations and do not have the same salary and benefit attractions as private companies.

For many, this means that transferable skills – IT, HR and finance – make it hard for them to compete for talent.

To tackle the skills shortage and the competition, HAs need to look at their offering and find out what really sets them apart from other organisations to make them an employer of choice.

Growing your own must always be a key talent channel, and for HAs these are even more pivotal, as it is the passion and engagement which is created from day one in organisations which hold people in the profession for the future.

But if you need to bring in senior or professional managers, then you will want to see those with broader experience and varying backgrounds. While HAs don’t always have the big salaries to offer – although more are introducing performance-related pay – they do have great social and moral purpose and challenging work to offer.

HAs are making great efforts to change the way they look. They are creating modern, agile work environments and have more freedom than most public services and not-for-profit organisations to re-brand and set culture. They have the real advantage of offering an environment which is perfect for those with ‘commercial minds and social hearts’.

Steven Burleigh and Ruth Lane are consultants at Penna

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