Think Act Report

Promoting gender equality in Tower Hamlets Homes

What is Think, Act, Report?IMG_1128

Think, Act, Report is a step-by-step framework to help organisations look more closely at gender equality in the workplace.  

Introduced by the Government in 2011, Think, Act, Report encourages organisations to learn from each other about recruitment, retention, promotion and pay through sharing knowledge and experiences.

 

Why we signed up to Think, Act, Report

We signed up to the Government’s Think, Act, Report initiative because we want to promote gender equality in our work place. It will also help us to deliver our corporate priorities as identified in our Business Plan and Diversity Strategy


Why gender equality matters

We believe that promoting gender equality will help us to engage and motivate our existing employees better and be an employer of choice for women in the wider community.

We are keen to reflect the diverse communities we serve across Tower Hamlets. And we want to build a culturally inclusive environment at Tower Hamlets Homes.

In an inclusive environment, people of all cultural backgrounds can:

  • Freely express who they are, their own opinions and points of view
  • Fully participate in learning, work and social activities
  • Feel safe from abuse, harassment or unfair criticism

By doing all of this we feel we can help employees fulfil their potential, which in turn will help us reach our organisational goals.

 

What we have achieved so far?

Gender equality review and pay audit

In 2012/13, we carried out a gender equality review and pay audit.  (The pay audit followed on from our first equal pay analysis undertaken in January 2011.)

We looked closely at the data relating to gender pay and average salary gaps and how women are represented at different levels within the organisation.

We also looked closely at pay and reward, and representation and structure of the workforce to see if differences in pay between men and women were driven by seniority.

The gender equality review identified a range of things we need to improve in 2013/14:

  • Ensure that women have every opportunity to develop and progress in our organisation
  • Improve the representation of women at senior levels, and those where there is historic occupational segregation

The pay audit highlighted that the average salary for women is lower than men (excluding Caretakers).

 

Staff Survey review

In October 2012, we launched our first Staff Survey.

This helped us to get better insight into how employees view:

  • The culture of the organisation
  • THH as an employer
  • Equalities within the organisation

63% of staff who completed the survey were women. Most said that they felt proud to work for our organisation and that they were treated fairly.

 

Stepping Up Programme

We recognise the importance of continually identifying, developing and retaining talent within our organisation. This process is known as succession planning. Succession planning will help us achieve our organisational goals.

The Stepping Up programme was one of the first succession planning tools we used. The programme was proposed by THH Board and by women working within our organisation.

The Stepping Up programme is accredited by the Institute of Leadership and Management (iLM). It has helped us invest in staff in leadership positions through:

  • Identifying talented BME and women staff in our organisation
  • Developing their leadership abilities  
  • Giving staff the skills and confidence to move up to into senior roles

It has also helped us to provide staff with a number of development opportunities within our organisation. This includes:

  • Shadowing senior managers to gain insight into the issues that senior managers often have to deal with
  • Building understanding of working at a strategic level and what it means in practice at THH
  • Coaching BME and women to identify how the can progress in their careers

60% of staff who took part in our Stepping Up programme were women.

 

Apprenticeship Scheme

We launched our first Apprenticeship Scheme in September 2011.
The purpose of the scheme was to:

  • Maximise local employment for young people by providing employment routes into THH for those not going on to higher education
  • Drive to improve the diversity of the workforce by recruiting apprentices that are reflective of THH residents’ profile
  • Equip local young people with the skills and knowledge to work effectively and thrive in a workplace environment

We offered a 12 month fixed term contract and access to NVQ Level 3 qualification to each apprentice.

At the end of the scheme, the apprentices gained transferable skills, knowledge and experiences that helped them improve their employment opportunities.

50% of the apprentices were women. All went on to secure employment either through THH employment pathways or through other organisations.

Testimonials

“It has been really hard juggling motherhood and a full-time job. But with the support from my team and management it has been made easy.  They've always supported me and have been very understanding. I can honestly say that given how nervous I was about returning to work after maternity leave, the support I received when I returned has been overwhelming and I'm very happy to be back.”

Halima Begum – Arrears Officer

I have been given the opportunity to work with the Chief Executive of THH as a Senior Executive Support Officer. This progression has given me the opportunity to understand how decisions are made on Senior Management level and to work with influential individuals such as Councillors and the Mayor.”

Shamima Begum – Senior Executive Support Officer

“I joined THH in 2009, with a background in private sector project management in the UK and Poland. At THH, providing development opportunities for women is an organisational priority, and I have undertaken a Chartered Management Institute Diploma with the support of senior management.  In my time here, I’ve had the opportunity to work with a number of service areas, which has given me experience of the skills and knowledge required to deliver excellent housing services.”

Aleksandra Jeruzel - Business Insight & Development Officer Business Development Team

 

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