In October 2022, Steve, my fellow director, and myself, along with our North Star client Sean Lawless, had the pleasure of visiting Yorkshire Housing’s new hub “The Place” and meeting with Nick Atkin, CEO and his team.
Some might argue that if you visit their Hub, this is a vanity project, but if you dig deep into the strategy and psychology of what they have done, you get a very enlightening insight into their strategy and why this is a key component.
As Nick mentioned, most associations have adopted a reactive customer experience model, i.e., we will wait for the call. Nick and his team are investing in a predictive Cx strategy, which means that ‘we will call you when we anticipate or can predict a problem’. That requires a very different mindset and working practices to achieve, and “The Place” fits in as part of that cultural change; it’s part of the ‘Hub, Home, Roam’ employee change experience strategy.
They claim that their ‘Hub, Home, Roam’ strategy gives their staff more freedom and flexibility to choose when, how, and where they work.
Nick asserts that “work is something you do, not somewhere you go. We don’t have an office, or as we now say, “the o word”. Instead, colleagues work from their homes, communities, local coffee shops, parks, or from our amazing hub in Leeds, “The Place.”
The era of being tethered to a desk from 9 to 5 is over. They believe that their ‘Hub, Home, Roam’ strategy gives them the flexibility to enhance the services they provide to their clients and the timing of those services. It is also seen as giving them greater retention and recruitment opportunities.
Yorkshire Housing’s new working environment
As you can see, ‘The Place’ is significantly different from the typical office. This is done on purpose to show and encourage another way of working and collaborating. The psychology and design of ‘The Place’ have been carefully considered, right down to the swish of the doors as you enter and the scent of the fountains that greet you as you enter to evoke a sense of goodwill. Everyone who enters the building is expected to be mobile, and from speaking with some employees, it is clear that they value the increased sense of teamwork and innovation that is necessary for the predictive Cx strategy to succeed.
We understand that not everyone will appreciate some of the subtle and avant-garde design, but what became apparent to me is that “The Place” is not a stand-alone initiative but rather a key component of a carefully crafted strategy centred on the idea of predictive Cx.
If you would like more insight on “Prediction—The Future of Customer Experience,” then check out the Mckinsey article. or check out my article below.