Case Study: Employee Engagement at West Kent Housing Association 

Housing Associations are facing a challenging time. Through focusing on employee engagement though, West Kent, a small Housing Association in the south east is continuing to succeed.

The enablers of engagement at West Kent

There is a clear, coherent and well-understood strategic narrative which guides everything that West Kent does, with ‘residents at the centre’. The narrative is regularly and consistently communicated to employees who demonstrate an impressive understanding of and commitment to the organisation’s values. Individual targets are aligned to organisational goals so staff understand how they can contribute to the success of West Kent.

The organisation always endeavours to act with integrity, ensuring there is no gap between what it says and what it does. This is recognised by staff who acknowledge that, even in tough times, West Kent acts in a way that is consistent with their stated values.

There is a culture of employee voice, with staff encouraged to contribute views and suggestions as to how the organisation should be run. The vibrancy and impact of employee voice at West Kent is due both to a variety of channels for staff to speak up and – equally as importantly – a culture of openness that encourages staff to have their say and get involved.

Finally, West Kent has well-regarded engaging managers who involve and support their staff, building engagement across the organisation.

Outcomes of engagement

The high levels of engagement are seen as vital to offering high quality customer service. West Kent have found that engagement is also important in enabling them to adapt quickly to change. Finally, by engaging staff at West Kent, they are also able to make the most of their workforce, unlocking their full potential.

Engagement is integral to the organisation’s success. Employees at all levels understand the importance of engagement, and they recognise the benefits; for residents, for the organisation, and for staff themselves.

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This IPA Case Study was produced by Joe Dromey, Head of Policy and Research at the IPA

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