Back to the Floor to Boost Service

A manager grafted alongside the apprentice he taught 30 years ago when senior staff at Thirteen Group went ‘back to the floor’ for a day.

Back To The Floor2

29 Apr 2016

Keith Moulder, External Investment Contracts Manager, was reunited with joiner Phil Owens in the repairs and maintenance department where electronic tablets with scheduled jobs have replaced notes of paper and staff no longer have to carry their toolkits and travel on foot thanks to a fleet of vans.

From fixing a front door that wasn’t working to rehanging a sash to helping tenants locked out of their properties, Keith assisted on a wide variety of call outs to different locations across the Thirteen Group area.

“Going back to the floor was excellent, it gave me the chance to see how well Phil had matured into his role as a joiner for the Thirteen Group and I enjoyed all the different types of work we were allocated,” he said.

“As well as being able to identify and remedy any issues I saw, it was also rewarding to talk to various customers throughout the day. It made me realise that, for some, a visit by our friendly staff was the highlight of their day.

“It was a pleasure to go back to the floor with him, to see how things have changed since my days working back on the tools. It was nice to have a vehicle to travel round in, back in my day we didn’t have any transport and had to walk everywhere carrying your tool bag.”

Keith was one of many managers, heads of service and directors who took up the offer to spend a shift teamed up with Thirteen Group staff from across the business.

Keith started in the repairs and maintenance department as a 22-year-old in 1977, working his way up from a joiner to charge hand, foreman, senior supervisor and depot manager before moving to the investment team based at Hudson Quay, Middlesbrough.

Meanwhile, Phil began as a YTS trainee footballer with Middlesbrough Football Club in 1985 but when it went into liquidation the following year he secured a joinery apprenticeship.

Phil said he had also thoroughly enjoyed the experience of working again with his first boss. “The fact that worked so well together shows what a great teacher Keith was. I think it was good for him to see what we do on the frontline, not just how things have changed over the years but also how we help the public in different ways.”

Chief Executive Alison Thain also spent time working alongside the contact team members, who look after calls and emails from residents living in the Group’s 33,000 homes.

She added: “We actively encourage people to carry out job shadowing to build relationships and learn the value of other teams, as well as the pressures upon them. It also helps bring new ideas for more efficient and effective working practices between teams and across the Group.”