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Twenty great places to work

PlaceShapers member The SLH Group has topped this year’s Sunday Times 100 Best Not For Profit Organisations to Work For. With 19 other members in the list, PlaceShapers housing associations make up a fifth of the top 100.

The fourteenth annual Sunday Times list, which is published on Sunday 16 March, measures and acknowledges excellence in workplace engagement. Responses from hundreds of thousands of employee surveys are collated to produce an overall engagement score for each organisation. 

The Best Companies research is the largest of its kind. The surveys ask staff to rate their organisations across eight engagement factors, from leadership to pay and rewards. 

With seven new entries to the list, eight climbers (each gaining average of almost 11 places) and just five fallers (each dropping an average of just eight spots), PlaceShapers members have a strong presence, alongside 31 other social housing providers, with housing associations occupying nine of the top ten places. 

Other highly-rated non-profit organisations in the top 100 included UNICEF UK, The National Trust, the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development, The Royal College of Nursing, the Financial Ombudsman Service and the National Housing Federation.

The SLH Group’s win represents a dramatic rise for the 3,700-home association, which employs 90 people. SLH was at number 12 in 2013 and 89 in 2012. The organisation celebrates its 15th birthday this year, following the transfer of homes in Speke and Garston from Liverpool City Council in 1999. It is the only Liverpool-based organisation to appear in any of the Sunday Times Best Companies lists this year.

Chief executive Julie Fadden (who was also runner-up in the Best Leader category) said: “To reach the number one spot is simply magnificent! We’ve always known that SLH is a really special place to work and it’s great to have this officially confirmed.

“The accolade is testament to an exceptional team of people who are passionate about delivering outstanding services to our customers and reflects our commitment to creating a workplace that’s dynamic, unique and fun.”

Tony Russell, Executive Director of Corporate Services, added: “To say we’re proud of this achievement is an understatement. Four years ago, when we entered the survey, we didn’t even make it onto the list. But we used the results to focus our efforts on improving employee engagement.”

Almost 90 per cent of SLH staff said they are proud to work for the association, where giving back to the community and meeting tenants’ needs are the top priorities. During the recent bad weather, colleagues delivered ‘winter warmer’ packs and hampers to the most vulnerable customers.

PlaceShapers members featured in the list for the first time included Coast & Country from Cleveland straight in at 6, Norfolk-based Freebridge Community Housing at 55 and Bedfordshire’s Grand Union Housing Group at 57.

Among those that improved their position this year were Gentoo Group from Sunderland (19), Peaks & Plains Housing Trust (up 17 places to 21), Trafford Housing Trust (48) and Livin from County Durham (up 18 spots to 52)

The other top-100-listed members came from all parts of the country, B3Living in Hertfordshire (8), to Cestria Community Housing in County Durham (72), Isos Housing in the north east (61) and Two Rivers Housing in Gloucestershire (82).

Tony Stacey, chair of PlaceShapers and chief executive at South Yorkshire Housing Association said: “This is a fantastic showing by our members. The year-on-year improvement in results by many of them shows that local, human-sized organisations like PlaceShapers are not only effective at delivering excellent services, they’re also great places to work, where staff get real support and opportunities. It’s very pleasing to see our belief in and commitment to community focus being recognised like this and attracting national impact and attention.”

For the full list click here.

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