Annual Report feature: A blueprint for change
Major changes underway at TCHC are transforming how the company delivers services closer to tenants.
Having the right resources and staff in the right places at the right time so we can do the best we can for tenants is something all of us at TCHC are passionate about. To accomplish this fully, we knew major changes were needed to shift service delivery to the local level and expand the services that matter most to tenants.
“Having come from a career in the service industry, I knew that good service organizations put the decision making as close to their customer as possible, and in our case our customers are tenants,” said TCHC CEO Kevin Marshman. “But when we started looking at where to make improvements, we quickly recognized that delivering service at the levels our tenants deserve was not possible with the structure, processes and protocols we had in place.”
Tenant engagement was a critical element of how we determined what the new structures and processes would look like and how they would be implemented. Understanding the impact of how thousands of tenant interactions are managed provided key insights on what we could do better and how it could make a difference for both tenants and staff that support them.
“What we learned and heard was that the way TCHC operated frustrated both tenants and staff,” Marshman said. “Local decision-makers needed to be empowered and accountable, and the frontline teams needed to be better resourced.”
With important learnings from the information shared by tenants and staff, our team developed a bold plan to restructure how the company delivers services, which it announced in September 2019. The plan identified four pillars of quality service: cleaning, maintenance, tenancy management, and community safety and supports. It added frontline resources, brought services closer to where tenants live, and empowered local teams to deliver better service while removing layers and duplication.
“By aligning all elements of tenant service under a common structure, the plan enables our team to deliver services directly and efficiently, with far greater accountability than under our previous model,” Marshman said.
The plan realigned the company’s operations into a single division led by a Chief Operating Officer. It created three regional management teams, each led by a General Manager reporting to the Chief Operating Officer, to monitor and manage local service delivery using new tools to ensure quality and address any gaps. We strongly believe that this model will provide tenants with excellent customer service that is at their doorstep with clearly defined accountability, replacing a fragmented service model that was a cause of frustration to tenants and staff.
As well, the plan created local tenant service hubs where tenants can access services closer to their home. At each hub, the prime point of contact for tenants is the superintendent, supported by a team structured to deliver cleaning, maintenance, tenancy management, and community safety and supports.
“Our new structure empowers superintendents and frontline staff to make decisions so that tenants can have meaningful conversations about their homes that don’t get buried in process.” Marshman said. “This will lead to better service while making staff and the company more accountable."
“Most importantly, we hope that tenants feel we’ve heard them, and that we care about them and the homes they live in,” Marshman added.
Guiding the implementation of the plan is a transition team led by Chief Operating Officer Sheila Penny. To monitor the plan, TCHC has developed service quality indicators (SQIs) with input from frontline staff and tenants. The SQIs will pinpoint where improvement is needed and help determine the tools and resources staff need to provide quality service.