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Housing and Human Resources

Within the framework of the European Responsible Housing Initiative (ERHIN)

Brussels, 1 October 2014 | Urban

In the fifth part of our blog series on the notion of "responsible housing in Europe", we focus on the role of human resources.

Three representatives from a total of five projects that made it as finalists in this category of the first edition of the European Responsible Housing Awards 2014 to share their views around the importance of human resources. Is there a secret recipe?

Habitat 62/59 Picardie, France

As a responsible employer, Habitat 62/59 Picardie pays particular attention to its staff’s safety and working conditions. This implies adequate working environment and equipment, but also awareness-raising and training.

To take a step further in preventing risks for building caretakers, we have co-developed, with employees and stakeholders, an innovative pedagogical tool: a video based on staff’s expertise, their feedback and “real-life” situations, in which the first roles are played by caretakers themselves. Relying on employees as key players in awareness-raising helps us improve prevention’s effectiveness, while contributing to staff’s empowerment. 

Sogemac Habitat, France

More and more, a good work-life balance is becoming a major expectation for employees. In the Paris region, where Sogemac Habitat is located, commuting is one of the key issues affecting this work-life balance, as the average commuting time is over 1 hour. 50% of our headquarters’ employees spend over 2 hours a day to go to work and come back home.

We therefore decided to experiment teleworking. And we are proud to be one of the only social housing providers in France to offer teleworking to all headquarters’ employees (except those working at the reception desk), with proper procedures, agreements and tools. Of course, it implies a big change in our management culture and practices; but this is also an opportunity to rethink and renew our way of working, to be more in line with the younger generation…  and help us attract and retain young, qualified workers! 

DAB (Dansk Almennyttigt Boligselskab), Denmark

Our employees are DAB’s most valued resource, which our CSR efforts clearly indicate. Employees in DAB are encouraged to develop their skills on an on-going basis – either through external programs of varied lengths or thorough some of the many mini-courses held in-house.

DAB has developed a program for particularly able employees. Nine men and women are currently improving their skills in management, personal development and communication.

Work-life balance is a top priority in DAB. Our family policy enables the employees to work flexible hours, reduced hours or part time if circumstances dictate it. We seek to accommodate employees whose working ability has been impaired. In 2013 DAB employed five persons with chronic disabilities in the administration and 31 in the local housing associations.

We value the opportunity to contribute to the education of young people and currently have five trainees, who are employed at a rotation system.

A survey conducted among the employees in the DAB headquarter in spring 2012  showed that employee satisfaction was very high. 95 percent answered they were thriving in DAB and when asked whether they felt their contribution mattered, 96 percent answered “Very much”.

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