EMH Group

Developing and Unlocking Leadership Capability

The Challenge

The organisation underwent a transformative period, merging four housing associations into one provider and rebranding as EMH Group. A primary business objective was to cultivate a commercially-driven, business-minded focus while staying true to the organisation’s roots by preserving its social heart.

An integral component of this metamorphosis was the aspiration to adopt a fresh approach to leadership development, collaborating with a provider as a true partner to drive lasting change in behaviour and performance. Though the organisation lacked defined leadership behaviours, they firmly believed in the need for specific leadership qualities in future leaders.

In a synergistic partnership with Innovation Central, EMH pinpointed these critical requirements:

  • A leadership competency framework that aligns with the organisation’s future growth plans and desired leadership
  • A method for assessing leadership capability and potential
  • A cost-effective strategy for nurturing and unlocking leadership talent and potential.

The Solution

Creating the leadership competency framework involved engaging senior leaders within the business to understand daily organisational behaviours and other key leadership priorities. The leaders themselves needed to develop the framework to ensure ownership and alignment. Their input shaped the draft framework, with validation exercises conducted to confirm the accuracy of content and language.

The resulting framework shaped the leadership assessment and development process. Development centres and 360 feedback offered practical and challenging benchmarks for current capabilities against the leadership framework, highlighting gaps and development opportunities. Coach-facilitated debriefs delved into the outcomes and established an agreed-upon development path for each leader.

Insights from the development centres and 360 feedback facilitated the design of tailored learning programs to address each leader’s specific needs. Consequently, besides a few core modules, colleagues only attended development programs that targeted their unique learning requirements, optimising EMH’s L&D budget.

The leadership behaviours underscored the suite of programs, emphasising their significance and role in propelling the business forward. A final wrap-up 360 was provided to each leader, highlighting the behavioural improvements resulting from the development they had undergone.

The Results

The approach has generated several notable achievements:

  • Statistical growth in strategic and long-term thinking among business leaders
  • Increase in the frequency of behaviours related to understanding the EMH strategic plans
  • Improved clarity in creating plans and defining accountability for those being led
  • Increased focus on coaching and mentoring behaviours
  • Two internal promotions to Director roles

Following the initial assessment and development’s success, the development centre and 360 feedback approach have been expanded to all colleagues with line management responsibilities, accompanied by tailored learning suites to address each leader’s needs.

Moreover, initial cohorts of delegates now serve as ‘support assessors’ for development centres, demonstrating the lasting knowledge transfer and Innovation Central’s dedication to partnership working.

“A language of accountability, expectation setting and culture of performance has supported rent arrears – 2.19%, voids falling from 47 – 33 days and void loss down £373k”

Nikki Chawda, Director of Housing and Neighbourhoods

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