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Performance Management System for Housing Associations

Pickering and Ferens Homes is a registered social housing provider, a registered charity and a member of the National Almshouse Association. They aim to provide a comprehensive range of housing services to enable residents to lead full and independent lives and to promote greater awareness of the housing needs of older people.

Originally, Pickering and Ferens Homes had a very traditional approach to performance management, consisting of one annual appraisal combined with a six-month review. What the company needed was a much more agile, cloud-based and continuous approach. Likewise, it needed a system that enabled managers to hold conversations about performance with office-based people as well as those in mobile roles who worked with residents across their property portfolio such as surveyors, scheme managers and area coordinators.

An Agile Solution

In October 2020, a time in which teams had become even more separate due to the effects of the pandemic and home working, Pickering and Ferens Homes turned to Actus to manage all their performance management needs in one place. This eradicated the need for multiple paper-based appraisal documents and spreadsheets and ensured the company’s evolving needs were met.

Since implementation, Actus Software has allowed Pickering & Ferens Homes to administer the employee performance cycle. This includes the administration of key conversations such as the initial planning meeting during which objectives are agreed and development needs and career aspirations are discussed to the frequent performance check-ins held throughout the year. The system has made many tasks much easier and quicker such as setting an association wide development need or a department-wide objective.

System Benefits

“We initially implemented Actus to manage our employee performance cycle. This included planning meetings at the beginning of the year and frequent check-ins. However, we quickly realised that we could broaden this to other conversations as well. For example, we now manage probations for those new to the association and capture our work-space risk assessments using the system” shares Debbie Murgett, HR Advisor at Pickering and Ferens Homes, on the immediate benefits of the software.

Likewise, Pickering & Ferens Homes can now access data swiftly and in a much more visual way. “With a paper-based system, I didn’t have access to data at the push of a button. The employee performance cycle was very time consuming and involved passing documents back and forth via email and capturing information via spreadsheets. Whereas now, we have access to key performance information around the frequency of check-ins, progress against training and development needs as well as progress against objectives.  Now, I can run a report within a matter of minutes.” shares Debbie.

“Our experience of how Actus supported us during implementation and afterwards has been really good. Working with us as though they are part of the organisation has been great…Actus are really interested in working with you as an organisation, and also on improving the product going forward”.

– Debbie Murgett, HR Advisor at Pickering and Ferens Homes

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Bridging the gap

As a social housing provider, the association has always operated in various locations – some working with residents in our properties and others more office-based. This could lead to some colleagues feeling more separate than the rest of the team, which could have a damaging effect on employee engagement and the company culture as a whole. “Actus Software helps with that, as it allows teams to have the necessary support and consistency in process, regardless of their location.”

The situation was amplified when the pandemic hit. Although Pickering & Ferens Homes had decided to implement a more agile solution prior to the outbreak of COVID-19, having the software in place also ensured the transition to home working and now a more hybrid approach to working is seamless. The Actus team has supported the organisation through this difficult time – not just during the implementation of the platform, but beyond this too. Debbie explained how working with Actus is “almost like working with people from within your own organisation”.

The Actus team has been adaptive to Pickering & Ferens Homes’ organisational needs, improving our use of the product on an almost continual basis. With Actus the team can focus less on how they provide employee performance processes and more on the quality of support provided.  “The system allows us to be as agile as we want, as it will still work the same, wherever we are,” Debbie concluded. Actus helps bring everyone together.