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Best British Workplace – Meet Our Finalists: L&Q

L&Q staff conference

The announcement that L&Q has been shortlisted for the Best British Workplace award follows a busy month for the charitable housing association – in April they raised £300 million in 10 year bonds, began merger talks with The Hyde Group and East Thames, and committed to building 200 new homes after buying a £150 million development site near Wandsworth Town Centre.

Standing Apart

L&Q stands out from the other finalists in a number of ways. ‘Creating places where people want to live’ since 1963, it is by far the oldest, while the 1,500 staff it employs also makes it considerably larger than most of the other finalists.

Ready for some even more impressive numbers? The initial investment of £64 by 32 people has spawned a £12 billion not-for-profit social business working across 18 locations that owns and manages more than 70,000 homes across London and the south east. Not bad for an enterprise whose first office was a room at St. Mary Magdalene Church in Woolwich. (And if you were wondering, the entry for the Best British Workplace came from L&Q’s central office in Sidcup, Kent).

Merging Values

L&Q has become the largest landlord in the capital and one of the largest residential property developers in part because of its numerous mergers over the years. While mergers can have a habit of makings staff on both sides feel out of place, L&Q have handled them expertly, with employees that had come from other registered social landlords praising the welcoming transition and recognising the housing association’s commitment to helping them realise their potential.

This smooth transition is helped by five people values that all staff are expected to hold: to never stop learning, embrace diversity, take responsibility, build trust and work with passion.

These clearly defined values were praised by staff who were also engaged by L&Q’s social mission. Beyond the social mission of providing social housing that is at the core of L&Q, money is regularly raised for other charities that embody its values, such as Stonewall, while staff are given three days a year to volunteer for a charity of their choice.

Spotlight on the CEO

While many startups are known for having approachable CEOs, that inevitably becomes more difficult as companies grow. Yet CEO David Montague, like the rest of senior management, is noted for making an effort to get on the front line and keep all staff informed with what’s happening in the company.

Montague, who himself grew up in social housing, started working at L&Q in 1989. Montague has been an employee of the housing association before certain founders on the shortlist were even born, but he is probably not alone at L&Q in that regard. Many employees spoke warmly about their long careers at L&Q, which is no doubt one reason why there is such low turnover at the company.

Roles at L&Q

As you might expect, in a company the size of L&Q there are plenty of job opportunities for the right candidate. Could you be the PR Marketing & Events Manager to promote developments delivering 13,000 homes, the Land Buyer that will help L&Q build more homes in the future or perhaps the Health & Safety Officer that ensures compliance while homes are being built? If you’re interested in working for one of our Best British Workplaces you can do a search of all L&Q jobs here.

So what type of person is L&Q looking for? While the ideal candidate might have experience in the property sector, HR Manager Chris Gillam was keen to stress that a great candidate for L&Q should live the company’s values of learning, passion, diversity, responsibility and trust, and ultimately really care about delivering an excellent customer service, whatever the role.  It’s worth mentioning that while all applications are considered on merit, L&Q are encouraging women to apply for senior roles where they are currently under-represented.

Once again, congratulations to the shortlisted finalists and good luck!

The winner of the Best British Workplace award will be announced on June 6. 

Jobs at L&Q