Osman Ishal: Birmingham Regional Manager, Ashley Community Housing
Manager Interview video: https://media.coventry.ac.uk/player?autostart=n&fullscreen=y&width=0&height=0&videoId=18032&quality=hi&captions=n&chapterId=0%22
Ashley Community Housing is a housing association supporting homeless people, mainly the refugee community with housing, helping them to find employment and with health and training issues.
The organization has 3 regional offices with departments for finance, HR, management and customer facing. They have an outward focus with a plan for business development, subsidiary offices and training. There are currently 50 employees across the three offices.
Ashley Community Housing deals with a diverse range of people from landlords to refugees, so communication is very important. Requiring properties is one of the main challenges and negotiation skills are key. The company is usually their client’s first meeting with people in this country and cultural sensitivity is very important. Relationships need to be developed, sensitive questions have to be asked to make an assessment. There is a resident case worker in the office to prepare clients to maintain tenancies, find people of a similar culture etc. The case worker assists in aspects including claiming benefits and law.
Q. What is the biggest barrier that you would like to see removed?
A. Housing difficulties, finding accommodation for clients. We have hostels, but they need to move on. The private sector is difficult and the Local Authority counts them as ‘single homeless’, which puts them low on the list.
Q. What does the company do well and what not so well?
A. We are good at listening to our clients, and have been complimented officially on our service to them. Now we need to develop a team to improve assistance to them.
Q. What is your future vision?
A. We are hoping to expand. We need to make more contacts with Authorities, need to build training services and to explore social enterprise to provide employment to our clients.
1) From a strategic point of view I want to scale up the business so how should change management be implemented and what should be the marketing strategy?
Firstly, specify the strategic position by analysing Capability, Environment, Purpose and Culture, then evaluate the strategy to ensure whether it is realistic. A formal system should be set up for standardising the management model, and a planning and problems solving department should be added into the office.
– Product(service): staffs should have good communication skills for communicate landlords and clients. Suitable programs for the clients.
– Price: according to the house condition and expectations of landlords and clients.
– Promotion: advertising (newspaper, magazine, television, flyer, telephone)
– Place: set up distribution points, house exhibition.
2) How should we go about combining teams, bringing together housing and support, which at the moment are too divergent from the client’s point of view?
Keep good communication with clients, collect requirements from clients and classify the requirements to divide clients into groups based on the requirements, then assign different teams to services different groups.