Podcast: How Sovereign Housing Association takes a total reward approach to supporting employees

Listen: In this episode of the Employee Benefits podcast, Marie Wood, head of reward, discusses Sovereign Housing Association’s approach to benefits.

Wood explains how the organisation responded to the Covid-19 (Coronavirus) pandemic and subsequent lockdowns by reviewing its benefits package and making adaptions where necessary, as well as considering its longer-term approach of supporting the wellbeing of employees.

At a glance

Sovereign Housing Association has around 2,100 employees working in roles that vary from carpenters, plumbers and electricians to housing specific roles such as income, housing, anti-social behaviour, community investment and lettings officers. It also has housebuilder roles like development managers and sales advisers as well as the usual corporate roles in HR, finance, IT and health and safety.

The average age of employee is 44 and the average length of service is seven years.

Primary business objectives that impact employee benefits
To continue to attract, retain and develop talent, and so keep up-to-date with changes in the benefits market and the impact the pandemic has had, in order to continue to offer a total reward package that is modern, competitive and inclusive.

Career history

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Marie Wood joined Sovereign Housing Association in 1999 and has since moved around roles within HR. Wood started in HR administration, then HR advisory and partnering roles, HR projects and policy before moving into reward as reward analyst. She progressed to reward manager and then into her current role as head of reward.

In her career so far, Wood has successfully implemented new systems and frameworks such as HR self-service, flexible benefits, pay and grading structures, corporate recognition schemes, new benefits, as well as being part of several harmonisation projects to harmonise terms and conditions. Wood says: “All of these have meant that I have continued to personally develop my skills and knowledge and play a key role in helping to make Sovereign a great place to work.”