There is so much happening in the social housing sector at present. There is a much needed push to solve the sad and desperate situation of mould and damp in a great deal of properties. There is a growing need for landlords to get on top of compliance. Add to this the ever increasing debt and arrears mountains, the repairs and maintenance backlogs, the difficulties in maintaining services to tenants for ever tightening budgets, well, I could go on. And that is the problem. I could go on and on for a bit on the issues facing what some have called a crisis. I see daily from our customers the challenges they face. Nobody is perfect and I do not condone one bit the failings of some landlords that are quite frankly shameful. I also recognise that there are thousands of landlords, and tens of thousands of social housing employees who try. I know of one housing officer who has been in tears on a regular basis as she deals with situations that are simply heart wrenching. So, there is a problem, a big problem in that there is a great deal to fix, not a great deal of time to fix it, and not to mention the costs.
It has to get better, right. But how?
Those who know me, know that I am an advocate of utilising technology where we can to better the lives of those living in social housing. It doesn’t I will admit fix everything, but I will say this, we can use technology a great deal more than some think or indeed are aware of.
Here he goes again, selling the virtues of technology, of systems, of data management and so on. He would do that, as that’s his business. Well, you are right. I will do that as it is something I truly believe in.
However, I am not going to right now. I am going to talk about something else. Something that, yes, is linked to technology and is paramount to its success but not technology itself. I’m talking about people, yes, people. Skilled people. People with knowledge, expertise and talent are needed.
That’s easy I hear you say. Just throw together a job advert, put it in a magazine or two, your web site, perhaps even use a well-known recruitment company.
Here’s the thing. Are you truly going to attract the best possible talent doing that. I don’t think so, and here is why.
I have recently got to know Rich Wilson who founded a company called Gigged.AI. Rich spent 12 years in the staffing industry and 3 years at Gartner before founding Gigged.AI to help make hiring easier.
The War for Talent is in full swing, the term was coined by McKinsey and Company way back in 1997. However, hiring tech talent is harder than ever largely due to the increase in digital initiatives and the rise in remote work smashing down the usual geographical barriers.
The most in-demand tech roles for companies across the UK are software developers, web designers, and data analysts with AI skills quickly catching up. According to Adzuna in April 2021 there were nearly 10,000 vacancies for software developers, compared to 5,630 at the same time last year. Furthermore, the Gartner 2021 CFO survey found that 74% of CFO’s plan to permanently shift employees to remote work after the Covid-19 crisis ends which creates even more competition.
Traditionally when skills are in demand there are a number of tactics organisations deploy which include but not limited to:
- Create a long job ad and post on LinkedIn
- Create a new Preferred Supplier List (PSL) of agencies
- Hire contractors from PSL when perm hiring stalls
- Referrals schemes
- Recruitment open days
- Expensive PR Campaigns to hype up culture and opportunity
- Increase Salaries
Now these are all perfectly good solutions in the past. However, most digital initiatives have an end goal to generate revenue, transform businesses and reduce costs. With a lack of key talent then projects start to delay and so does the revenue. This is when most CEO’s and CFO’s start to get interested.
Social Housing in not immune to the challenges and must look at different models to hire and retain tech talent to ensure projects are delivered on-time and on-budget.
A different approach
The future of work is accelerating and there are new solutions which offer a faster and effective way to source and on-board tech talent. A recent Harvard Business School Report states:
“COVID-19 has only accelerated the move away from traditional, pre-digital-era talent models toward on- demand workforce models.”
Furthermore, Gartner published research last year that predicts 35% of the global workforce by 2025 will be gig workers. While in May 2020 the Mercer Global Talent Study Report that stated 77% of executives believe freelance and gig workers will substantially replace full time workers in the next 5 years.
Enter a new way to hire. Platform sourcing!
The well-regarded University of Oxford Report on Platform Sourcing stated there will be rapid growth in the next 5 years on how companies use Platform Sourcing including crowdsourcing and outsourcing platforms.
The report focused on research around how Fortune 500 firms are adopting online platforms. The following benefits were reported:
1. Providing easy access to a scalable source of manpower, skills, and expertise
Platforms provide access to freelancers with highly specialized skills and expertise, making them an attractive option for organizations to quickly and flexibly complement the capabilities of their in-house employees on an on- demand basis.
2. Reducing start-up and transaction costs
Compared to traditional outsourcing vendors and contracting agencies, platforms substantially lower the start-up and transaction costs of a contract. This allows enterprises to quickly hire freelancers to address project needs.
3. Eliminating conventional hiring barriers
Platform technologies eliminate or at least reduce geographical, informational, and administrative barriers in the hiring process. This allows their use for projects of shorter length and scope. It facilitates the hiring of freelancers on a more flexible, on-demand basis, and allows managers to bring in new skills and knowledge to the organization that would otherwise have remained outside.
Social Housing can win the war for talent by moving away from relying on traditional permanent and contract hiring by working with task based open talent platforms. Over the last 5 years NASA has transformed how they innovate by creating an Open Innovation Centre of Excellence which works with platforms such as Gigged.AI, Upwork, Innocentive and Guru to complete project work using talented freelancers.
Think differently, think creatively. You don’t always have to follow the old ways.