AmicusHorizon take centre stage transforming from good to ‘stonkingly great’
AmicusHorizon have been polishing their trophy cabinets recently. Not only have they won Business Transformation of the Year at the UK Housing Awards but the Southeast-based housing organisation swept the board at the prestigious HR Excellence Awards, scooping six awards. The gongs included: Best HR Team (not-for-profit/third sector), Most Effective Use of Internal Communications, Outstanding Employee Engagement Strategy and Best Use of CSR in HR. Plus they walked away with the overall 'Gold Award' celebrating the best of the best. Steve Walker, AmicusHorizons’ Chief Executive was also awarded the Most People Focused CEO (public and voluntary sector).
On top of an overflowing trophy cabinet, AmicusHorizon have seen customer satisfaction rise by 35% to 93% and have seen arrears and staff absence decline. The metamorphosis of AmicusHorizon was no mean feat. Only a few years ago they were a housing organisation in the grip of a financial crisis, with poor staff morale and a declining performance to match. In 2007 AmicusHorizon was placed in regulatory supervision. The board, residents and the regulator wanted change. The new Executive Team needed to inspire staff to make the housing organisation a success.
They started by asking staff for their perceptions of what ‘great’ meant to them. They really listened to staff and embarked upon a business change programme that involved a series of learning events. AmicusHorizon are one of the growing numbers of housing organisations who are using theatre to inspire, engage and transform their staff. AmicusHorizon turned to Theatre& with a challenge - they wanted to transform the organisation from good to ‘stonkingly great’. It was a challenge Theatre& relished. Since they launched in 2005, Theatre& have worked with over 70 housing organisations making them the go-to provider of theatre-based training.
Theatre& developed a learning programme to inspire AmicusHorizon’s 900 staff. The events were delivered in two phases, across 20 training days and included a supporting DVD and voting technology. The objective was to inspire staff to take the organisation from good to truly great, allowing employees to deliver fantastic service every time. Using theatrical scenarios, facilitated learning exercises and interactive workshops, Theatre& provided examples of customer experience, showing the tangible difference between good and great. The learning tapped into the desire to be ‘stonkingly great’ and built upon the learning that had already begun, creating lasting change.
Following the training there was a 50% increase in delegates who had said they had an excellent understanding of what ‘great’ customer service looked like and 100% rated the training as good or excellent. The impact of the overall programme has been impressive; satisfaction in handling complaints is up from 57% to 92%, empty homes are let twice as fast as they were before, rent arrears are down and days lost to staff absence are down, from 7.07 to 5.16.
Fiona Deal, Executive Director Corporate Services, AmicusHorizon, said: “The training allowed staff to understand the impact of really great service, the language to use, and the energy that staff can bring to make a real lasting, genuine difference to our external and internal customers.”
Fiona continued; “I think seeing it for real, with a live theatre training company is as close to reality as you can get without dragging in real people off the street. It has transformed our vision into something real, meaningful and lasting that has pulled all the training into something that people can really now deliver.”