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19 January 2018
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KENNEALLY REVEALS GAME PLAN FOR CORDANT GROUP’S SOCIAL ENTERPRISE 

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Cordant will fill 'gaps left by government' © Shutterstock


14 September 2017 | Herpreet Kaur Grewal


Cordant Group’s decision to become a social enterprise will result in “a happier and more productive” workforce, says its CEO.


Chris Kenneally, chief executive of the Cordant Group, who spoke with FM World ahead of the official launch of the company’s social enterprise status last night, said the move would mean “we will be able to engage the workforce”, many of whom were migrants.

 

The company, which is a labour recruitment agency and provides facilities management such as security, concierge and other services, says that within a five-year plan it will reinvest most of its profits into social programmes across education, employment, and healthcare.

 

“We can develop [the workforce’s] skills far better [with this model]”, Kenneally said. “A huge number of facilities management staff are migrants. With this model we will have access to those people to recruit them and keep them engaged.”

 

Kenneally said the company would aim to fill the gaps that the government was not filling.

 

“People come to work and tend to leave behind communities. We are aware of the lack of funding from government into communities. My hope is we can work with them and around them to make their lives better.”

 

Kenneally believes the traditional business model is “out of synch with what people want, and we want to be pioneers – to make people see it’s not just about fat cats but about people who want to live and get out of poverty traps”.

 

He said it had been “a journey” to convince shareholders of the idea.

 

“We sat down with them to decide. We had to take them on a journey about the risks, challenges and what it would mean for them.”

 

In the end they agreed, he said, partly because “even if the dividends are being capped, they still own the business and the assets could grow in value”.

 

Kenneally said he hoped other companies would follow suit, but he added that it would be “much harder to get listed companies with hundreds of shareholders to cap dividends” compared with a family-owned company such as Cordant.

 

The company is still devising the exact parameters of how the model will work.

 

 

In 2015 the Cordant Group launched Cordant Services, comprising of four service provider divisions in cleaning, security, technical and specialist services.