Sunday, 14 August 2011
A day in the life
It will come as no surprise to you I'm sure that there is no typical day in my job. Every day is different, which is why I love it. Last Thursday wasn't a typical day but it was a pretty busy one.
It started at 9.20am. I got to work later than usual (we work flexi-time) because I was shattered from the previous day, when I'd gone into work early to see if our shop was ok after the riots (it was, just one broken window) and then driven to Trafford and Stockport to visit other organisations which have great employee engagement (Trafford Housing Trust and Stockport Homes).
First thing I had a meeting about our annual garden competition ceremony which is taking place in September. With a colleague, we're planning a larger event than last year thanks to sponsorship from our grounds maintenance contractor Continental Landscapes.
Following that meeting, another colleague came over to my desk chat about employee engagement. We had a debate for two hours (yes, two hours!) about how best to engage our trade staff. Typically they are the least engaged group. They are generally less well-informed about what is going on in the business yet they have the most contact with our customers so should be best placed to help us improve the business. It was two hours well spent because we explored the issues fully and now we're in a stronger position to move forward.
After that my Senior Communications Officer briefed me on where we're at with our latest newsletter production. Tenants Update is due out in September. It will include a summary of our annual report and, in line with TSA requirements, it has to be out by 1 October. It's looking good and on track to meet schedule.
Then I proof read our E-bulletin, an internal publication that we issue every Friday afternoon. It features all the hard need-to-know news of the week, plus compliments by customers/colleagues for our staff and a section on 'in the media'.
I then whizzed through my emails. Typically I get a couple of hundred a day. I'd usually read them as my first job of the day but on this day the time had ran away. I scan them and flag them for follow up or forward them to delegate the work. I get nervous when the flagged emails get over 50. They're hovering in the 60s at the moment - eek!
The next task was writing an article for Homes News, our staff magazine. My colleague is project managing it's production and this time we're having a fresh look to bring a theme to our employee engagement work. The article was about how and why (because of the Equalities Act) we are publishing equalities data on our website. You can see it here. I ate my lunch while writing it.
Then I drove into town for a meeting at the civic centre. Wolverhampton City Council (the authority which owns Wolverhampton Homes) is adopting systems thinking and one of my colleagues there gave a presentation on it. It was fascinating to see how they're using it and in particular the culture change that it is stimulating. As I understood it, systems thinking is about changing the way you think about something using the redesign of a system as a learning process and catalyst. The learning is the key to it.
Ultimately it should result in more empowerment for staff, better service for customers, less bureaucracy, more partnership working and generally a better, more efficient organisation. As the presentation went on, I kept thinking about the link with employee engagement. I want to learn more about it and I'd like to trial it in my team. It was a great end to a busy day that left me feeling inspired.