Rubbish role for housing group boss
Published by Max Salsbury for 24dash.com in Housing and also in Communities
The boss of a large housing group has been stripped of his position and forced to become a caretaker.
Not really. Actually, Tom Hopkins, CEO of WATMOS Community Homes, ditched his smart office suit for overalls as part of a staff exchange scheme on a Walsall estate.
WATMOS is the UK's first tenant-led housing association and has eight estates in Walsall and three in the London borough of Lambeth.
Over the next two months, 27 staff from the Walsall central team and nine from the Lambeth central team will reverse roles with receptionists, grounds maintenance staff, repair technicians and housing officers.
Meanwhile, Walsall's latest addition to the caretaker community found himself putting the rubbish out.
Caretaker Hopkins, who joined WATMOS at the start of the year, said: “Our organisation has so many different departments on the 11 estates and I wanted our support staff to have a better understanding of what happens on the ground.
“I thought having staff swopping roles for the day would be a good way to improve communication and give people an insight into what different duties involve.
“The intention is to give non-frontline staff a real chance to see what working life is like for colleagues who are out maintaining our homes and estates.
“It is up to each individual to contact the Tenant Management Organisation and devise their own frontline job role for the day.”
It is hoped the job swap scheme will lead to benefits such as:
• Getting an insight to what the impact is when decisions are made away from the frontline.
• Helping everyone to keep in touch with the real business of WATMOS i.e. maintaining homes, estates, community engagement and empowerment.
• Helping staff understand how to deliver the best possible customer service.
• Uniting the frontline and office-based sides of the business and strengthening working relationships.
As well sorting the rubbish, Mr Hopkins had to inspect properties and respond to any faults or problems tenants reported during his shift.
He added: “I’ve never done anything like this before but I am confident getting on the ground experience will bring big benefits."