Podcast: Together Housing Group ensures its benefits deliver value to employees

Listen: Housing association Together Housing Group recognises the importance of delivering value for money through its benefits provision. Emma Tomkinson, assistant director of people services, explains how vital the employee voice is in ensuring benefits are well utilised and appreciated.

The employer has introduced a number of initiatives to ensure it is competing with the private sector in attracting and retaining key talent. One of its most successful initiatives has been the introduction of its flexible working programme, which was enhanced when the UK went into lockdown in early 2020. This scheme led to Together Housing Group being shortlisted as finalists for the Best benefits to support work-life balance award category at the 2021 Employee Benefits Awards.

In this episode of the Employee Benefits podcast, Tomkinson explains how the scheme was first implemented and the results it has brought to the business and its people.

At a glance

Together Housing Group manages more than 36,000 homes in the north of England. As a non-profit housing association, any money it makes is invested back into the organisation for the benefit of its residents and local communities.

The group builds and manages homes for sale through the shared ownership scheme, and as well as providing sheltered accommodation and extra care schemes and it funds a variety of voluntary and community project groups.

Its typical job roles include customer-centered roles such as neighbourhood officers, customer service staff, trades staff, community and youth engagement teams, development of properties, as well as support teams such as procurement, ICT, finance, people, governance etc.

It has around 1,500 staff, with an average age of 44. The average length of service is 10 years. 

Primary business objectives that impact employee benefits:

  • To support the organisation’s carbon reduction strategy through its benefits approach.

The people and performance strategy has four key people objectives:

  • Create a great place to work.
  • Create high-performing teams.
  • Create personal impact for employees through their ownership of what they do and how they contribute.
  • Provide a mix of hybrid working with when, as well as where, people work.

Career history

Emma Tomkinson first joined Together Housing Group in 2009, and previously held the position of head of change projects before becoming assistant director of people services.

Tomkinson is proud of many of the projects she has been involved in throughout her career including the relocation of three head offices into one at MyTravel, and the merger of MyTravel with Thomas Cook. She has also helped to reduce costs by £20 million at Together Housing Group and achieved £5 million in savings from staffing. Tomkinson also cites one of her achievements as “developing and implementing our current reward strategy at Together, and most recently our award-winning Smart working [programme], balancing high performance with flexible working for staff.”