Mobo Quadri, HR and Personal Development Manager, Salvation Army Housing Association
The Salvation Army Housing Association (SAHA) is a registered social landlord charity that aims to support people to live independently by providing accommodation and education and employment skills. The Association aims to help and support vulnerable groups, especially young single homeless, in being able to live independently in a positive and stable environment.
As an organisation, SAHA is required to meet requirements set by two regulatory boards; the Independent Audit Commission and the Tenant Services Authority At their last inspection, SAHA achieved one star with ‘promising prospects’ status, which translates as a ‘fair service that has promising prospects for improvement.’ The organisation is working towards performing at three-star level and how to make the improvements that will take it from one to three stars, is one of the key challenges it needs to overcome.
SAHA is also about to outline its business plan for the next five years with an emphasis on performance, cost efficiency and customer service. As a charity, all training that SAHA employees undertake must have a clear business benefit and have a positive knock-on effect on the whole organisation.
To enable SAHA to overcome these challenges, one of its main goals is for all 20 of its management-level employees to achieve an externally accredited management qualification.
SAHA’s HR and Personal Development Manager Mobo Quadri explains: “We need to ensure we have the right skills to perform at a high level as an organisation. This will require good leadership and managers that can communicate the vision of the organisation and where we are headed effectively. We recognise that our managers must have the knowledge and experience to do this and may require additional support if we’re to succeed.”
SAHA operates in a competitive environment in terms of recruitment. It aims to attract and retain skilled people by positioning itself as an employer of choice and believes that being strong in areas such as training and development will make it stand out as an organisation when talented individuals are looking for prospective employers.
SAHA works with a number of external training providers and judged the CMI to be best placed to strengthen the skills, confidence and competence of its management teams. The charity commissioned the CMI to deliver its Management Development programme to the top two tiers of its management staff – senior and middle managers. This course combines tailor made programmes with modular assessments and leads to a Diploma in Management and Chartered Manager status, which is a nationally recognised award.
As part of the programme, managers complete an individual project which has to be relevant to an area they work in. This has clear benefits for the organisation leading to improvements in areas such as service delivery, resident participation or stock improvement.
The first tier of SAHA managers, who all began the Management Development programme in April 2008, are now almost finished. Tangible examples of how the course is already benefiting the organisation are evident. For example, the group are now able to work more closely together as a cohesive and unified team. In addition all participants have a wider and deeper understanding of the various priorities across each different department.
The training has resulted in a new top-level Senior Management Team being created at SAHA, each member of which will now undertake further CMI training and development as well as instigating a series of projects aimed at directly improving the business.
When the time comes to begin implementing the organisational changes resulting from the new business plan, Mobo is confident that now they are equipped with industry-standard skills things will go smoothly.
She says: “The senior management team will be tasked with delivering the vision for the organisation as it moves forward. They have all developed a strong portfolio of change management skills, including strong leadership skills and the ability to communicate the benefits and rationale for change, bringing the rest of the staff body on board. Operational change is something which rolls out day by day in business so it’s crucial that our people are adaptable, good at communicating with others, and can oversee the successful implementation of the changes we need to make.”