Andrew Hulbert: A Case Study – Implementing an employee engagement strategy to aid start-up

Andrew Hulbert from Pareto Facilities Management discusses how his company has achieved an effective and successful employee engagement strategy using ‘Pareto personality’.

n August 2014, aged 27, I left my job of six years and set up a new facilities services provider. I’d become disillusioned with the failures of the larger service providers within the property services sector, and felt that there must be a better way. I had a vision of a facilities services provider that would thrive within the property services sector. The growth story of Pareto FM acts a case study for how employee engagement strategy can aid business growth and create competitive advantage.

The basic principle idea was to start a ‘great’ organisation. An organisation which would simultaneously be enjoyable to work at and have exceptionally high expectations of its teams. The key for this would be a high employee engagement strategy. Ultimately, the aim of this strategy was to differentiate Pareto by offering a working environment to teams which could not be found elsewhere. This would enable us to attract great talent, retain it and deliver unrivalled levels of service to our clients. We’d give our team members the processes, flexibility and working culture they’d always wanted to enable them to deliver on their terms. I held the fundamental belief that team members are the most important aspect of any business and if we looked after them well, they in turn would look after our clients well.

Three years on, and as Pareto has matured, our high employee engagement strategy has formed our business culture. We call this Pareto Personality. Pareto Personality is about working extremely hard to deliver exceptional customer service to our clients, but enjoying a work environment completely tailored to the needs of the team members. Our employee engagement strategy is based on the concept of doing all we can to enhance the working lives of our teams and ensuring we give them all the tools needed so they as individuals can operate most effectively.

We’ve achieved this in a number of ways:

Processes – Finance, HR, Helpdesk, Purchasing processes can be tailored to the team’s needs. Removing all unnecessary bureaucracy and administrative burden.

• Training – All team members are offered external tailored training at no cost to themselves. We offer management courses to all operative level team members who wish to move their careers forward. We’ve even funded non-facilities related training for those wish to progress to a different career.

• Mentoring & Coaching – Our management team all go through Insights Discovery full psychological profiling and follow up training. This enables our teams to develop their emotional intelligence in relation to themselves and others. We also offer free external business coaching to all levels of the business.

• Recognition – Within our online HR software, we have a public recognition page. Any time we receive any positive feedback, it goes on to this public board. Teams can also award badges to each other. These badges then lead to £50 vouchers.

• Food – Our management team provide chocolates, cakes, fruit and treats for our teams during their site visits building an emotional food-based connection.

• Fair Pay – Pareto has operated as a Living Wage provider since inception.

• Interest free loans – Pareto provide standard travel loans but also extend to personal issues such as visa expiry, purchasing new cars and even helping to fund IVF.

• Charity support – Pareto now supports five charities annually, four of which are due to team members requesting funds to aid the causes they personally support.

• Access to the Board – Pareto operates a non-hierarchical structure ensuring that anyone can communicate with the board. All team members have at least monthly access to the Managing Director, most have weekly.

• Social Media – We use Twitter to demonstrate our Pareto Personality and attract new talent to our business. See @ParetoFM and #LoveWhatWeDo

For Pareto, this high engagement strategy has aided our start up success. After three years we have a turnover in excess of £8.5m, with over 80 team members that operate across three countries and serve some of the most exciting workspaces in the world. We have exceptionally high staff and client retention, and are beginning to dislodge some of the most established service providers in the sector. For the leaders of Pareto, we’re only just getting started. Our challenge is to continue to develop the culture as the business grows, which will continue to deliver this high employee engagement strategy. Ultimately, we believe, our employee engagement strategy is differentiating Pareto in this sector and delivering competitive advantage.

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