The interviewee: Andrew Hulbert, Pareto FM
The issue: Challenges of growing a small FM business
13 February 2017 | Herpreet Kaur Grewal
What are the advantages of having a smaller business?
Our board and 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 very specifically what needs to be delivered. Smaller businesses are able to be entirely bespoke in the way finance, helpdesk, H&S, HR, operational delivery processes are delivered.
And the disadvantages?
Smaller businesses can struggle to attract certain candidates as they are concerned about longevity of the business … and in some procurement measures for tenders they don’t score highly on things like financial history.
How have you manoeuvred Pareto to achieve 300 per cent growth at the end of FY2?
The main tactic has been employing exceptional people and focusing 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 10 times our size. We have also been 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 focusing on quality customers who want to advance their workplace with us. We’ve also grown a great Twitter account @ParetoFM, which documents what it’s like to work with us.
Have you learned any new tactics ‘on the job’ over the last year (especially given shocks like Brexit)?
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… With political issues such as Brexit and US politics, we feel it’s important to promote this type of philosophy within our business. I’ve also learnt to allow our staff to shape how we do things and give them free rein to be disruptive in a business context. Some of the best ideas, initiatives, and client feedback have come from our staff being creative and trying new ideas without fear of repercussions.
What are Pareto’s plans?
We are strengthening our board and looking for clients to partner with who, perhaps, have become frustrated with the old-fashioned approach to FM and like the sound of the ‘Pareto Philosophy’. We are increasing our apprentice programme and formalising our graduate programme in the next 12 months and adding to our recent accreditations.