When we look back on some of our most powerful memories, both good and bad, we can likely link most of them to the group of friends we had at the time.
Family dynamics, friendship cliques, sports teams… there are many ways we become like the ones we spend the most time with. Ultimately relationships will either help us or hurt us. They will push us to reach our potential or will push us into choices that may have negative consequences. Thankfully, we get to choose, and it’s just a matter of choosing wisely.
It is no different for PHAs. We also need the right relationships to be successful, reach our goals, and become the best version of ourselves.
Let’s take a look at the 5 relationships every PHA should have.
#1- Your Staff
Our teams are the backbone of our agency and yet, way too often, they end up getting the short end of the stick when it comes to resources and recognition. Did you know only 12 percent of employees feel recognized for the work they do? Those same employees are more than twice as likely to be on the hunt for a new job, and it will cost you about 1/3 of their salary in turnover costs.
Beyond being hired to do a job, show up, and get paid, employees need to know you value and respect the time, effort, and energy they are pouring into your agency. Staff who have a great relationship with their employer respond with an increase in loyalty, productivity, and fewer conflicts.
A great way to ensure this relationship grows in a way that benefits the agency is to be intentional about the culture of your workplace. Honor your team for their efforts, pay attention to special occasions, create time and space to connect as a team through things like team building exercises, and make sure you are listening when they express concerns or grievances.
Our relationship with landlords is based on mutual benefit. We need them and although they don’t always know it, they need us. This isn’t simply a transactional relationship though, which is the mistake many PHAs make in interacting with landlords. They are partners alongside us in serving our communities. Mistakenly, we tend to approach landlords as if us paying them is all we need to do.
Fewer and fewer landlords are showing interest in signing on with PHA programs. As a result, our communities suffer a lack of quality housing options. There is a rather unknown, but wildly effective method for growing solid relationships with landlords in our communities. This can happen when PHAs develop and implement a landlord incentive program at their agency. It is a VERY under-utilized tool that any agency of any size can put to good use.
Offering an incentive package communicates to your landlords that you understand their needs, care about what is important to them, and are self-aware enough to offer options that offset the risks of working with HUD programs.
Lucky for you, we here at AMA Consulting Group have developed a fantastic guide laying out exactly what incentives you can offer to landlords, and how to make them a part of your regular PHA operations. It is a great resource of information, ideas, and examples of how to kickstart your incentive program. To get your copy here, click the button below.
#3- Participating Families
Let’s be honest. We don’t spend a lot of time or effort building much of a relationship with our families because… well, it’s not necessary to keep things running. It’s not because we don’t want to, it’s just because we are stretched thin on time and resources, so we tend to just leave well enough alone. Our families are lined up, sometimes on waiting lists for years, to get to us. We move them through and process their requests and paperwork as they come in. And we do all of this without ever really investing any more than that.
The interesting thing about building a great relationship with your participants is that it doesn’t take much:
- Treat all participants like a person and not like a number.
- Stay current on the unique needs and struggles participants in your jurisdiction may be facing.
- Make callbacks and emails a priority so families stay informed and know you care.
- Provide a feedback loop for your participants… and then listen to their feedback.
- Do what you say you will do.
Building a great relationship with your participants will increase their willingness to offer patience and understanding whenever they may have questions, frustrations, or must endure change. This cultivates a desire in both parties to do our best for each other and in turn makes our families ambassadors on behalf of the agency.
#4- Your Peers
Did you know statistics show that most people are unable to resist when faced with peer pressure? And although many people think of peer pressure as a negative, it can also have a positive impact.
Something magical happens when we establish relationships based on common ground and then push each other to do our best. We have all been scenarios where we were elevated to our full potential because of the influence of the people around us.
Growing in a community of your professional peers can be invaluable. Find local collaboratives and other organizations in your area who have a similar mission and focus. Then, join forces. If you take some time to develop a community of peers, you’ll be surprised at how much support you’ll receive when looking to accomplish goals.
#5- Your Community
Listen. None of the other relationships we’ve talked about so far will flourish if you don’t make this one a priority. Your staff, landlords, families, and peers all need more than you alone can give them.
Imagine the difference we could make if we took pride in being the go-to authority for housing in our communities. Imagine the resources we could ensure for families and those who reach out to us for help. How would the perception of who we are and what we do change if we stopped hiding and truly became part of the community we are serving?
Several years ago, there was an organization who hosted a monthly support group for foster and adoptive families. Every year, they would set up a booth at a wildly popular town event. And every year, they were shocked to discover they were one of the only organizations like theirs to do so… even though there were many similar organizations in the community. For some reason, nobody else took advantage of becoming part of the community they were in. They sold drinks to help support their work, talked to the so many individuals in the community, passed out fliers, and got the word out about who they were and what they were doing. As a result, they saw tremendous growth! People wanted to be a part of what was happening in their organization, partner with them, and offer resources and support. From the simple act of setting up a booth, they were able to do so much more than would have been possible alone.
Get out into your community. Be a part of what is happening in your town and watch your impact grow!
“You are the Average of Your 5 Closest Friends.” ~Jim Rohn
You get to choose who you want to be and an agency.
If you decide to keep to yourself, you will never grow to anything other than what you already have. But if you surround yourself with positive influences and develop these 5 relationships you will have access to a never-ending supply of opportunity and success.