Recruit now for a better future

    Recruit now for a better future

     What’s the point in running an organisation, or a business, if you are happy to give yourself a disadvantage?

    How many football teams, in a world where eye-watering amounts of money are available for the most successful clubs, would turn down the chance to recruit the best players?

    Those are two decent questions for a kick off.

    And here’s another: If things aren’t going quite as well as you want in your association, what good reason would you have to avoid shaking things up and making a few changes? One definition of madness is ‘doing the same thing over and over again and expecting a different result.’

    So do something different.

    These three questions, friends, serve to illustrate why, here at HDN, we are so enthusiastic about our Board Trainee Programme. We know, through study of data and decades of experience, that a more diverse board is a more successful board, better able to motivate staff and provide excellent customer service. So our aim through this programme is to help enhance the diversity of boards in housing associations across the land.

    The private sector won’t (often) do anything unless it makes financial sense, and leaders in industry know full well that diversity in senior positions creates a better economy and, in terms of individual organisations, better profit, morale and staff retention. In the housing sector now is the time to replace any lingering inactivity with innovation, and that is our raison d’être here at HDN.

    Take a look at some stats from the Inside Housing 2021 Diversity Survey, they show where we are now and how far we have to travel:

    • 62 of 101 associations who responded have all-white executive teams
    • 30 board members (2.6 per cent) identify as lesbian or gay
    • 4.9 per cent of board members are disabled
    • There is 1 (one) Gypsy representative at board level across the 101 associations
    • 27 housing associations have no tenants on the board
    • 97 board members are tenants (eight per cent)

    So over 60 per cent of Inside Housing’s respondents had no BAME representative on executive teams, the lesbian and gay presence on boards is less than three per cent and less than ten per cent of board members are actually tenants.

    But you can’t simply magic up the perfectly diverse board, it takes time because we are recruiting potential; albeit potential for the very near future. There’s a lot to be said for putting our faith in younger candidates who can truly reflect society and our tenants, and can bring the vibrancy, energy and practical experience that every board needs.

    One more question: How can a board successfully support its staff and serve its tenants if it doesn’t understand them?

    Answer: It can’t.

    The starting point is to effect meaningful change, and the end game will be when the talking has stopped, action has been taken and every available talent is recognised and utilised.

    * Inside Housing’s Diversity Survey 2021×681.jpeg

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