Saturday, 13 June 2015

A Land Down Under

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We sometimes forget how social housing is a worldwide phenomena. Wrapped up in our own fears of further sell off of valuable truly affordable housing for the poor and low paid, getting tenants to interact with us etc, it's good to think outside the UK box.

I recently had the great pleasure of doing some work for an Australian social housing association, around tenant engagement, self service and reward schemes. It's fair to say that down under, Canada and other countries are often just finding their feet with our notion of social housing. It's different though. Where our chief exec's fret about hitting 12 monthly CP12 gas services, in other parts of the world it's a 6 week -15 degree C freeze or dangers of late summer bush fires.

The work I did looked at how our housing management systems can help with tenant engagement, most of the same things that many of my clients grapple with here in the UK.

A recent survey on tenant self service portals here that about 100+ social landlords completed for us, showed take up is actually quite poor. It revealed we are dissatisfied too with what our suppliers provide us and even our own staff attitudes to channel shift. A detailed post on the survey will be coming soon.

In Oz much like here in the UK, my client struggled getting tenants to connect and engage online. Older ones the worst, older blokes too, the worst of the worst, just like here. Age of tenants and thoughts they 'Don't need it' all came out in the self-service survey.

Guess how down under a very innovative method is being used to coax tenants online?

With their remote elderly they are undertaking a project to test and measure use and uptake of digital technologies. The key was finding a hook to help channel shift them to the new platforms. That was the question 'Where did you grow up'. The first place tenants were then led online was Google Maps. A very clever Aussie 'device' that must work with over 80% of those elderly. Once that barrier was tackled, the job of getting them to Skype, buy on the web and connect with their landlord there, is much easier.

That idea came out of some Phd work by a chap named Steve Baker, his project is ' The Supportive Network: Rural Older People, Social Workers and ICT ', completed with the assistance of 'Haven, Home, Safe (HSS), based in Bendigo, VIC. I will be pleased to share a link to the work wider when its officially published.

I think there is a lot that Australian social housing can teach us. Maybe we can use techniques like this in reverse. How many of our tenants have relatives they no longer see, across the world, or in the next county, we could help them reach out to? After that, we can see if we can persuade them to reach out to us too!

Related Post: Do your staff email too much? Maybe they should collaborate instead using a tool like Yammer?


I would be pleased to connect with you on LinkedIn - Message me with any issues or queries, you would like to be explored in this blog. We generally receive a couple of suggestions each month.

Men At Work - A Land Down UnderMen At Work - A Land Down Under.
(c) Tony Smith, Acutance Consulting 07854-655009

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1 comment:

  1. Good stuff, Tony.

    These techniques are exactly the sort of approach I have been taking for some time, e.g.

    As I often say; nobody goes online for the first time because they want to fill in a benefits application