Excellence Awards: Going the extra mile

Excellence Awards: Going the extra mile

Congratulations to the 25 employees who have won Novus Excellence Awards this quarter! The awards acknowledge and highlight those employees who go above and beyond in their role. In this blog, four Novus employees from across the country share their Excellence Awards stories.
James Riley – Wrexham

I joined Novus as an apprentice painter a year ago and have come a long way in that time. I was delighted when I was selected to represent the UK at the Uniep Legacy Event in the Netherlands earlier this year. The event involved a team of painters and decorators from across Europe coming together to develop their skills and test the latest painting products at Akzo Nobel’s head office. We also took part in a charity project to refurbish a school. Mike Demattia, my line manager, said he cannot speak more highly of me and that my attitude, work rate and willingness to learn are all first class, which I’m really proud of.
James is on the far left of our photo.
Mick Morgan - Romford

I’m a senior contracts supervisor and have been with Novus for five years, working on decent homes and refurbishment contracts. I live in social housing, so feel that I’m in a unique position of being able to relate to this type of work from both a customer and contractor point of view. Working for Novus is all about going the extra mile, which results in repeat business. I went the extra mile recently when a vulnerable elderly lady had a new kitchen fitted by us. She took the opportunity to purchase some new kitchen appliances, but was struggling to get them installed and was also very worried about not knowing the people who would install them. As me and my team had built the trust up with this resident, we collected and fitted the appliances meaning she could start enjoying her kitchen straight away.  
Randolph Simpson - Preston

Having worked for Novus for about 40 years, I’m one of the company’s longest-serving employees. My line manager has described me as a first-class tradesman, a nice guy, honest, hardworking and a great role model, which I find very satisfying! An example of when I went the extra mile was when I got speaking to a resident at a housing scheme I was working for. I discovered that she sat on a bench outside her house every day and noticed it was looking a bit tired. So even though I was on a tight schedule to complete the contracted works, I spent my lunch time to repaint the bench and bring it back to its former glory!
Kevin McGee - Bathgate 

On a key contract I was working on, some problems were experienced on site and I took it upon myself to lead the rest of the painting team working on that job. I ensured the programme of work was completed smoothly and ahead of time, while meeting Novus’ usual high standards. My operations manager said he was impressed with my commitment and drive and I’ve received my Excellence Award for my hardworking, professional and modest attitude to work, which I’m delighted about!

How Eagle-eyed Contractors Can Help Landlords


Kevin Rhone, head of social value at Novus, explains why housing associations can glean new insights from contractors working in their communities and use them for more than completing building works. The social housing sector faces unending challenges. Not only are they tasked with regenerating communities, pressured to provide high quality homes and services, and challenged to increase their build rates, they’re also looked to as a key stakeholder in ensuring the safety and security of people in their communities. Having eyes and ears on the ground in these communities to make sure customers are safe and well is a bank-breaking investment, however. This is particularly true of national organisations borne of the spate of M&A activity in recent years. Monitoring communities more deeply than they’re obligated to do is almost impossible over their geographic footprints. Particularly since, for these organisations, huge amounts of capital have to be spent solely on maintaining stock. However, many RPs are missing an opportunity. They’re not using contractors’ insights, yet these businesses can offer a wealth of understanding about local communities. Construction and Maintenance Teams’ Positive Impact Of course, customer care officers can’t be everywhere at once. Construction and maintenance teams interact with housing associations’ customers every day. They see it all first hand and can be friendly faces on estates while also helping associations to identify solutions to regular issues. Many on-site professionals are keen to engage. They aren’t simply there to fix and repair homes, they build relationships with communities and in some cases, can be vulnerable people’s most frequent visitor while they’re around. They will regularly help elderly residents with their shopping and can be the first to discover if they’ve had an injury. Housing associations can also ask these teams to be vigilant for signs of violence and abuse and can ask them to keep their eyes open in areas where there are suspicions of drug use. While, yes, any responsible person would report illegal activity, contractors can help further by identifying trends too – how or why certain issues may be cropping up frequently. Using them in this way can help housing associations think up new ideas of how they might be better addressed. CSR Programmes It’s not just about pointing out the problems too. Many contractors have CSR programmes and housing associations could also use these to proactively address challenges in their communities. We run a national CSR programme called Changing Lives. So far, we’ve changed over 33,000 lives since 2015 through community projects that provide work opportunities or skills development or regenerate certain areas to help improve aspirations. One of our projects in the last year saw us work with a national housing association to provide temporary accommodation for homeless young families in Sheffield, for example. Advice for Landlords Landlords can do this by opening the channels of communication. Contractors and their on-site teams can provide regular updates or join team meetings to discuss issues on estates. They can also work in conjunction with customer care teams during their day-to-day work too, offering opinions, advice and useful context before officers contact residents. Contractors are a resource often under-used in this respect. However, landlords could not only get a better understanding of the real issues in their estates, but get the insight needed to help them solve them, by involving the people who are in their communities every day.