Why listening is as important as our tenants’ and customers’ voices

How often do the people who will be using our services get to influence them before they’ve been set up?

Our customers do!  A huge part of the work we lead within our Co-design and Improvement Team at South Yorkshire Housing Association is led by customers’ voices. Our Over 2 You network is dedicated to improving services within our LiveWell care and supported schemes, and we do that by listening to people and putting their feedback into action.

We visit our services multiple times throughout the year, and in between those visits we have regular interventions to make sure that customers always have the opportunity to have their voices heard.

We’re really proud of the fact that we are able to work with customers to find ideal solutions suggested by them, and we ensure that people know what we’ve done differently using our “you said, we did” feedback. Even if we can’t necessarily provide the absolute perfect solution, customers know that they’ve been heard.

And recently we’ve been able to use customers’ detailed feedback and improvement suggestions to inform a brand new tender for a service – their voices truly have influenced the work we do!

One question that came up in the #IHChat earlier asked how Housing Associations can be better listeners to ensure that tenant and customer voices are met with the right responses. It’s a vital point.  Listening to what our tenants and customers have to say isn’t just hugely important to us – it’s an essential part of the way we work.

That’s why we have members of staff who are trained by the Thinking Project, and why Nancy Kline’s Time to Think book is one of the most popular reads on from our library shelf. It’s why the people on our LeadWell programme are developing the skills to be leaders who listen, and it’s why we hold workshops for staff, customers, and the local community about how to nurture listening skills.

We know that the best collaboration, equality, and the highest standards comes from a mix of voices, and for those voices to come through we have to first: listen properly, and second: take action that reflects that listening.

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