31st January 2019
Welcome to the final blog post before the Equal Housing event on 07.02.18, we’ll have follow-up posts from the other speakers, but this week we speak to Chan Kataria about his views on Housing.
Chan Kataria is the Group Chief Executive of EMH Group, a housing and care group with a turnover of over £100m, over 1,000 employees and around 20,000 homes in management, Chan has been in this role since 2004. Prior to this, he worked for various local, regional, and national housing organisations. He is currently a Board member of a regional Hospice and Further Education college and also an Honorary Associate at De Montfort University. Chan was awarded an OBE in the Queen’s Birthday Honours list in 2017 for his services to Housing in the East Midlands.
NP: What are your thoughts on the figures that have been published around the level of diversity within senior leadership roles?
CK: It is interesting, we were having discussions and debates about this 20 years ago and in many ways, things appear to have got worse and you’ve got to ask yourself why; part of the reason has to be that we have lost our focus as leaders within the sector. We live in a more diverse society, yet the sector has become less diverse, part of the reason has to be that we have lost our strategic focus. We have failed to sell the Housing sector as an attractive sector to work, if we compare the Housing sector to other industries such as Banking, IT and Accounting, people have become more attracted to those sectors. We need to sell our industry to attract the right talent.
NP: What is it that you and other leaders can do to tackle these statistics?
CK: We need to ensure that there is a strong strategic focus and that this continues, not least because there will be other issues such as development and new builds that we will be obsessed with as it is a Government ambition to deliver new homes across the country and we as sector need to do a lot more to deliver that. Having said that, we must not forget the issue of diversity because there is a strong business case for diversity and we all know that those with diverse work organisations generally perform better than those that do not. One of our values at EMH is diversity, so we need to convert that into actions and we try to do that through our leadership programme where we convert all of our values into actual behaviours for leaders and strategically at the board level we need to ensure that this continues. We also have a sector leadership role, as CEO I see myself as leading the sector through different projects such as the NHF, CIH and PlaceShapers and we need to use our influence in those bodies to ensure that there remains a focus within the sector.