Q&A interview for FM World Magazine - Asking the questions is Herpreet Grewal (HG) of FM World and responses are from Andrew Hulbert (AH) of Pareto FM.
See FM World (www.fm-world.co.uk) - February 2017 Edition p.16 - for printed interview
HG: What are the advantages of having a smaller business?
AH: For me the clients experience a significantly more tailored service solution and build a genuine partnership with the service provider. Our Board & Senior Management team is made up of some of the best talent within the industry, and they spend significant amounts of time with the team and the clients. This gives the client access to high calibre senior staff and allows the Service Provider to understand specifically what needs to be delivered and further developed to ensure success on the partnership. We call this Workplace Intelligence and effectively ensure that the highest calibre people within our team spend time with clients and staff.
AH: Furthermore, smaller businesses are able to be entirely bespoke in the way Finance, Helpdesk, H&S, HR, Operational Delivery processes are delivered and service provision can be built to genuinely meet the clients requirements. There is no rigid mould that says the client ‘must’ use this system or process. We have also designed entirely online based, effective processes, enabling our teams to deliver exceptional service without being caught up in unnecessary process. Each delivery set up can be considered, and tailored, to ensure that the process is most effective for site.
HG: What are the disadvantages of having a smaller business?
In terms of recruitment, smaller businesses can sometimes struggle to attract certain candidates as they are concerned about longevity of the business and a personal risk to their own career. There is also the disadvantage of being a young business, which means in some procurement measures for tenders, they don’t score highly on things like Financial History.
HG: How have you manoeuvred Pareto to achieve this 300 per cent growth at the end of FY2?
AH: The main tactic has been by employing exceptional people from the outset and focussing on Workplace Intelligence. We’ve specifically employed some of the best talent in FM from the beginning of the business and have the management capability of a company ten times our size. We have also been very specific in what we focus on service delivery wise. Workspace Management, Building Service Engineering and FM Consultancy are our three core strands which we deliver to a high standard. We are not attempting to diversify our self-delivered services and risking reducing quality, we are focussing on quality customers whom want to advanced their Workplace with us. We’ve also grown a great twitter account @ParetoFM which documents what it’s really like to work with us and shows our culture, philosophy and approach to work. We include behind-the-scenes pictures depicting our culture so people can get a real feeling of what we are about. The staff also enjoy their 5 minutes of fame and the recognition.
HG: Do you have any new tactics that you have learned 'on the job' over the last year [especially given shocks like Brexit]?
AH: The key tactic for me has been to embrace inclusivity and diversity. We specifically look to be disruptive in our recruitment and offer roles to individuals that wouldn’t fit the typical, old-fashioned, FM mould. FM is a people business, and this tactic alone, creates a unique selling point for us. Initiatives we have run such as Tomorrow Meet Today focus on the important of inclusive thought and embracing all levels of the workforce. With political issues such as Brexit & US politics, we feel, more than ever, it’s important to promote this type of philosophy within our business.
AH: Furthermore, I have learnt to allow our staff to shape how we do things and give them free reign to be disruptive in a business context. Some of the best ideas, initiatives, client feedback has come from our staff being creative and trying new ideas without fear of repercussions. We employ high performing people and teams, and want them to be creative and create waves. Our clients see genuine value in this and see a different approach than the same old FM. We define ourselves and our teams as pioneers of modern FM.
HG: How is the FM market changing? Is it moving in favour of smaller players or bigger organisations?
AH: We’ve seen significant acquisition across the industry with the bigger companies getting bigger. The large service providers now have the capability to do it all from finding the client a workspace, to writing a lease to maintaining the facility. We’ve also seen a greater number of pan-European contracts as these larger service providers go in search of the bigger contracts. I don’t believe the market favours either larger or smaller service providers, clients just have greater choice about the type of organisation they wish to partner with especially on the international stage.
HG: What plans does Pareto have for the future?
AH: We are continuing to experience significant growth and we are focusing on continuing to drive Workplace Intelligence and improving service quality. We are further building our senior management team and further strengthening our board. We are looking for further clients to partner with whom perhaps have become frustrated with the old fashioned approach to FM and like the sound of the Pareto Philosophy. We are further increasing our Apprentice program and formalising our graduate program in the next twelve months as well as adding to our recent accreditations.