Homelessness charity Broadway employs 180 staff and works with more than 4,000 socially excluded and vulnerable people every year.
Its employees provide support and advice to homeless people, helping them leave the streets for accommodation in which they can live independently.
Broadway's people management skills were first recognised in 2006 when it was selected to deliver a two-year pilot project, called Beyond a Helpline, to help develop the HR capacity of small homelessness agencies in London (those employing between three and 35 members of staff).
The project, funded by the London Housing Federation, was a response to consistent problems emerging in small agencies and the realisation that the common cause was poor people management. The project ran until March last year.
An independent report evaluating the project points to the clarity of leadership from Broadway and its high calibre of staff, who were described as confident, knowledgeable and experienced. Broadway's HR employees were also regarded as having business sense and professionalism.
Broadway provided draft policies and written procedures; ran five training courses covering recruitment, performance and managing difficult people; delivered an indepth agency audit; offered regular surgeries; and allocated helpline hours each year.
Broadway has not just helped small organisations develop a framework for HR, but has also been able to use the income generated to provide better services to its users and shore up its own HR staffing structure. It has now launched social enterprise consultancy Real People to help other charities.
The judges said the work highlighted Broadway's sector-leading approach to HR, and described it as "extremely innovative". They liked the clear measures of success, not least that the government has commissioned the charity to provide a national version of the scheme and that it has been asked to design and deliver the first-ever postgraduate leadership programme specifically for managers of homelessness hostels and day centres.
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