The Power of Listening: Why Our Colleague Engagement Survey is Essential

Embracing global perspectives

Every one of our OCS colleagues is valued, and as the Group Chief People Officer at OCS, in a company as diverse as ours and spread across numerous countries and embracing many languages and cultures, it’s imperative to truly listen to our colleagues. This understanding forms the bedrock of our strategy to become the world’s leading facilities service company.

The significance of every voice

In an organisation as vast as OCS, the insights and experiences of our colleagues, particularly those on the front lines, are invaluable. These team members are the eyes and ears of our operations, interacting directly with our customers and experiencing first-hand the daily challenges and triumphs. We must not only hear their voices but actively listen and engage with them.

Beyond the survey: A commitment to action

Conducting a colleague engagement survey is vital in this engagement process. However, the true essence of these surveys lies in what we do with the information we gather. It’s about turning feedback into action, ensuring every suggestion and insight raised is addressed, not just acknowledged. This approach isn’t just about improving our operational efficiency; it’s about fostering a culture where every colleague feels respected, valued, and heard.

Creating a stronger, unified OCS

Our ambition to be the best in the world is deeply intertwined with our internal culture. Engaging our colleagues through these surveys is more than just gathering data; it’s about empowering them to shape the future of OCS. Their insights are pivotal in crafting policies and practices that resonate with our diverse workforce, driving us towards a cohesive and inclusive organisational culture.

Conclusion: Cultivating a culture of continuous improvement

In our journey towards making people and places the best they can be, the engagement and satisfaction of our colleagues remains a top priority. Through our engagement surveys, we’re not just collecting opinions but inviting our colleagues to participate actively in our journey towards excellence. By listening and responding to them, we are enhancing their experience at OCS and reinforcing our position as a global leader. Together, we are building an exemplary OCS in service, colleague satisfaction, and engagement.

Sean Fisher’s OCS Journey to Cleaning CEO

Summary

  • Sean joined Servest UK in 2003, and his first role saw him become a regular at Sheffield’s famous Gatecrasher nightclub
  • Treating the business as your own is an important mindset for success, Sean believes
  • Success for Sean is OCS becoming synonymous with being the best
OCS’s newly appointed CEO of Cleaning, Sean Fisher, has a long association with both the legacy OCS business and cleaning as a profession.

It was back in 2003 that Sean, who originally hails from South Africa, began working for what was then Servest UK as a site supervisor, after studying IT in his homeland.

Over the two decades that followed, Sean led retail and cleaning divisions, and served as Chief Operating Officer at Atalian Servest, before being appointed to head up the new OCS cleaning division.

“To take on that first role with Servest, I needed to move to Sheffield – so I moved in with our cleaners,” says Sean.

“I moved into the house they were sharing, and they taught me how to clean. I started with Gatecrasher nightclub and Bed nightclub, before moving into an area management role, and then moving to the head office in Bury St Edmunds.”

The attributes for success

Since then, Sean’s played a key role in a business that’s experienced sizeable organic growth, but those early experiences cemented in his mind the attributes that are needed to succeed.

“People need to be passionate about what they do, believe in what they do, and treat the business as if it was their own.”

Sean Fisher

CEO of Cleaning

“You’ve got to have the energy and the edge – the pace at which we operate is relentless, but at the same time, it’s good fun.”

The new OCS TRUE values – Trust, Respect, Unity and Empowerment – sit well with Sean, who believes when you find the right people, it makes everything else significantly easier.

“That’s everything we stand for, as a business, as a cleaning business, and myself as an individual,” he says.

“When you get the right people, who are true to those values, you have a successful business – and I think those values suit us perfectly.”

Putting values into practice

In practice, for Sean, those values look fairly simple – but the impact they can have is seismic.

“You’ve got to be professional, polite and well-mannered – that’s a given,” he says.

“At the start of every shift, you’ve got to be on site before the shift starts. I expect all of my operators to be visible on site, engaging with customers, and making sure they’re getting the best out of their team in terms of productivity and standards.”

And that engagement with customers – which builds unity and trust, as well as demonstrating respect – is essential to building partnerships that truly help people and places be their best.

“It’s important to build those relationships because, together, we’ll achieve significantly better outcomes,” says Sean.

“We do a lot of relationship mapping, from site level all the way to procurement and CEOs, and if you get that right, you can have the right conversations with the right people – you’re not forcing a relationship, but building something that will be beneficial for both parties in the longer term.”

Building solid foundations for OCS

A successful relationship can deliver a number of strong outcomes,  made possible by the successful day-to-day delivery of services. Those longer-term outcomes are something Sean is focused on in his new role as CEO of Cleaning.

First, however, comes a period of building the foundations that will serve the new OCS business well over the decades to come.

“My main objective this year is to get things like budgets, succession plans and performance management right, ensuring we have the right people in the right roles, and are giving the right opportunities to those people, too,” he says.

“That will create an incredibly solid foundation from which we can build upon and deliver on our overall business mission.”

That mission is, of course, to be the best facilities management business in the world, making people and places the best they can be – and it’s a mission that enthuses Sean as looks ahead to the coming months and years.

He says, “OCS needs to stand for quality, and I want to help OCS become synonymous with being the best.”

Valerie Dale, OCS Group Chief People Officer, Attends Back to the Floor Visit

Valerie Dale, OCS Group Chief People Officer, recently attended a back to the floor visit at one of our laundry facilities in Feltham.

Valerie’s day began with a tour of the site where she saw our fantastic colleagues and machinery in action. During the tour she learnt some impressive stats about the facilities, including that from January 2023 to August 2023, our dedicated team washed 74,675,556 kgs and processed 46,414,728 pieces of laundry, a true showcase of how exceptional our colleagues are at what they do!

Valerie’s first job of the day was ironing and her skills were put to the test as she aimed to meet the hourly ironing targets our colleagues achieve.

She then got stuck in with the laundry sorting where she worked with the team to make sure each item was put into the correct bag before it was prepared to be washed. After only 45 minutes, Valerie and the team managed to sort through an impressive 2.2 tonnes of laundry!

OCS Foundation: People into Work programme

What is the People into Work programme?

People into Work is a unique UK programme, developed by the OCS Foundation, which aims to change individuals’ lives for the better by bringing sustainable employment opportunities to local individuals who have been in long-term unemployment, are ex-serving personnel, or face specific mental health or physical challenges.

Our people are the heart of everything we do as a business and our people-centred approach is what allows us to deliver not only the best practices and best experiences for our customers, but the best place of work for our employees.

The programme has already supported over 290 people with their own employment journey, and over 50 people have been brought into sustainable employment within OCS to date.

Jeffrey’s story

OCS helped Iraq and Afghanistan veteran Jeffrey Akrasi return to work. With support from The Forces Employment Charity, Jeffrey obtained the necessary qualifications and is now a Deputy Contract Manager at WLNT NHS Trust.

“I came into the West London contract on January 22nd after serving three tours in the army. I transitioned my employment into OCS from FEC, a well-known forces employment charity. I’m looking forward to remaining in the OCS family and working to the company’s values.”

Group CEO, Rob Legge, outlines the OCS Best Strategy and Approach

The international facilities management landscape has been dominated by the same global players for a number of years. However, when OCS Group and Atalian Servest’s operations in the UK, Ireland, and Asia merged, it created a new company which had the potential to act as an industry leader and disruptor.

I have been involved in facilities management for close to three decades and it has become a real part of my DNA. Our merger earlier in 2023 was an opportunity to drive forward not only the business, but the entire industry. With our newly expanded, critical scale, we saw the opportunity to take stock of our purpose and values and ensure we were building the most compelling offering for our customers.

Our approach

When formulating a plan for the next phase of OCS’ journey, we established a collective vision of wanting to be the partner of choice in the industry, providing the most valuable service to any customer we worked with across each of our geographies. The culmination of this work was the formulation of OCS’ new strategy, BEST. It has been established to enhance how we serve our customers, empower our workforce, and contribute to the well-being of the communities we touch.

Today, our mission at OCS is clear: to make people and places the best they can be. We’ve embarked on this journey with the aim to create exceptional experiences, enhance productivity, refine our practices, foster communities, and ultimately, deliver outstanding outcomes. These aspects form the core of our strategy and are reinforced by our TRUE values.

Trust, Respect, Unity, and Empowerment—these values are the foundation of everything we do.

They guide our interactions with customers, colleagues, partners, and the communities we serve, ensuring a cohesive approach to our mission.

In an ever-evolving world, we believe that creating exceptional experiences is paramount. We understand that the value we bring is not just in our services but in the experiences we create. From a well-maintained office space that enhances productivity, to a clean and safe healthcare facility that promotes well-being, OCS is dedicated to improving every aspect of the human experience within the spaces we manage.

Our business is powered by best practice, consistency and our unique attention to detail. Ultimately, we will look to set the benchmark for our industry, harnessing the power of technology, innovation, and human expertise to create efficiencies for our customers.

However, this is not a one-step change but rather a continual process. To succeed in our mission, we must consistently look at improving our practices and ensure that our work aligns with the highest ethical and sustainability standards. Our commitment to best practices guarantees that we are not just compliant, but we set the standard for excellence in our industry.

Empowering our workforce

Overall, OCS is made up of 120,000 individuals, most of whom are workers on the frontline. These are the people who sit at the core of our business, and it is only by empowering them that we can truly thrive. We encourage our colleagues to take ownership, make decisions, and shape the future of our business. This not only elevates the service we provide, but also gives our workforce the opportunity to progress their careers in our business.

As a business we have a fundamental commitment to social mobility. We ensure we recruit from the widest possible talent pool; we offer each of our colleagues ongoing training to support their career progression and we foster and invest in a diverse and inclusive culture.

Serving communities

Last but not least, we consider ourselves integral parts of the communities we serve. Our goal is to create a positive impact on the people and places we touch, fostering a sense of belonging and well-being. We aspire to be responsible and sustainable members of every community we serve.

We adopt this mindset right the way through the business and are continuously looking to evolve our approach to each of the ‘E’, the ‘S’ and the ’G’. It runs from our 2040 net-zero commitment, down to the work we do to supporting the individual communities we work in across each of our geographies.

OCS’ BEST strategy and TRUE values are at the heart of our mission to make people and places the best they can be.

We also believe they will be fundamental to our future growth as a business and industry leader – our commitment to this strategy and our values sets the stage for us to set a new standard in the industry. OCS is in a unique position and is primed for growth. We are a dynamic business and it is my ambition to make this company the market leaders in the facilities management industry. Reflecting on the first 6 months of my role as Global CEO, I believe we have the team to deliver on this ambition.

 

Rob Legge, Group CEO

Ann-Marie Conlon-Taylor – helping OCS deliver genuine social value

The career path of Ann-Marie Conlon-Taylor has, by her own admission, been a bit ‘squiggly’.

OCS’s Public Sector Social Value Manager has always taken the attitude that when opportunity knocks, you open the door – and that attitude, combined with a deeply ingrained belief that you need to have ‘people on your side’, has seen her help countless people into work over the past three decades.

“I want to enable people to fulfil their potential, and be the best they can be for themselves,” she says.

“That’s what drives me – that belief and the knowledge that we have some great talent out there just waiting to be given the opportunity.

“None of us were born into the roles that we do – we didn’t just appear and say, ‘Hi, I’m a CEO!’. We’re in the roles that we are because, somewhere along the way, someone gave us a break, believed in us, mentored us, and supported us.”

And that’s what Ann-Marie is focused on doing for others in her role at OCS.

The winding road

Before joining OCS in October 2022, however, Ann-Marie’s ‘squiggly’ career saw her work in recruitment and life coaching before teaching in further education.

Working in recruitment led her to engage with candidates who were very privileged and frequently highly paid, with no concept of what difficulties others in society may face.

Finding this soul-destroying, Ann-Marie began looking for a more fulfilling and rewarding career and began working for local councils as part of their adult education provision – especially supporting those in society who faced additional barriers and challenges, covering everything from language barriers, learning difficulties or the circumstances life threw at them.

“For example, with Milton Keynes Council, I did a lot of work with young mums, helping them understand their life hadn’t ended just because they’d become a parent, help them, get qualifications and get into work.”

This led Ann-Marie to work in partnership with Milton Keynes College – firstly on a project to help young mothers, and then with the National Offender Management System to help reduce reoffending.

“When you look at the factors that make people re-offend upon leaving prison, unemployment is one of the three key reasons,” she says.

This led Ann-Marie to work in the world of prisons and probation services, which, while tough and challenging, was, she says, one of the most rewarding experiences of her life.

“I hadn’t had any exposure to people coming out of prison, so it was a whole new world for me, understanding the barriers they face, and what had led them to where they’d got to.

“Of course, some people absolutely deserve to be in prison and deserve to be locked away for a very long time. However, there are a lot of people in prison who, through life choices, or the hand that’s been dealt to them, have ended up in prison. When you get to hear their stories, you often think, ‘there but for the grace of God’ – things happen to people that are out of their control and shape the way they go on to behave.”

Benchmarking social impact

The projects helping people into employment after prison were a huge success, winning awards from the Ministry of Justice, and in 2016, at Milton Keynes College, Ann-Marie then found herself leading employer engagement, working with employers to develop employment opportunities for offenders, and creating a benchmarking system to enable all stakeholders to measure the impact.

“The college tendered for the Prison Education contract, and as part of that, we needed to help people better understand social value.

“This was six years after the Social Value Act was established, but the Act and the social value movement as a whole was still relatively unknown,” she explains.

After much thought and evolution, The Employment Academy was established, bringing businesses into prisons to co-deliver alongside tutors. Employers from hospitality to retail and warehousing were brought in to deliver education and training – and subsequent employment opportunities – and it was a resounding success, despite widespread doubts.

“It was an innovative approach, which wasn’t without its challenges or dangers,” she says.

“Governors and prison staff were saying, ‘this is never going to work’, but it evolved in a really good way.

“We worked with companies including Timpson, who are amazing to work with, Greggs, Boots, Greene King and RMF, who actually helped us get into HS2.”

The impact of helping offenders into employment

One of the moments that made Ann-Marie stop in her tracks to appreciate just how much of an impact they’d made was when Laing O’Rourke delivered an HS2 induction alongside course enabling candidates to gain their PTS (personal track safety) card and qualification in HMP Hewell Grange.

“We trained guys to the standards they needed for them to come in and deliver the induction,” she says.

“Men were released on ROTL (release on temporary licence) – which means they go back to the prison every night after work – until they were released. This enables them to be fully equipped to gain and sustain employment upon release, one of the key factors that reduce reoffending.

During Ann-Marie’s four years leading the project, more than 700 people had been helped into employment – something which has naturally made a long-term impression.

“Even the other day, I had a message from a guy I’d helped into employment from prison,” she says.

“He’d been in the academy through that got a job with Timpson – and he sent me a message to let me know he was now an area manager.”

Helping OCS deliver really social value

After 12 years in the prison system, during which Ann-Marie also developed volunteering pathways as well as ‘careers in custody’ for long-term high-security prisoners, it was time for a change – which is when she saw the opportunity with OCS.

During her time helping offenders into employment, Ann-Marie had worked closely with facilities management companies, so had a good understanding of the sector.

That, combined with the importance of social value in contracts, the work OCS delivers, and the guiding belief of the organisation that every human being deserves the right conditions and opportunity to thrive, convinced her this was the right next move for her ‘squiggly’ career path.

“Social value can and often counts for around 20% in contracts, and there are measurable KPIs we must deliver on, whereas previously it was ‘nice to have’,” she says.

It’s important that companies develop a workforce that is reflective of the communities they work within as well as adding value to the local communities by supporting them to improve their environment and develop skills that enable them to improve their lives and develop more vibrant local economies.

In her role here at OCS, Ann-Marie says while it’s still early days, momentum is building, with recruitment pathways being established and people successfully placed into work.

“We’re really starting to positively impact our social value, our customers’ social value and the communities we work with,” she says.

And you get the very real sense that, with Ann-Marie helping shape the future of OCS’s social value initiatives, the impact is only just beginning.

OCS welcomes Jacky So as ESG Director for the UK & Ireland

OCS are pleased to announce that Jacky So has been appointed as the Environmental, Social, and Governance (ESG) Director for the United Kingdom and Ireland.

In his previous role as Head of Sustainability Reporting at THG (The Hut Group), Jacky led the ESG reporting initiatives, ensuring compliance with critical sustainability reporting regulations. He also set high standards for transparency and accountability by overseeing THG’s first external assurance of non-financial data.

Before these roles, Jacky made significant contributions at British Airways, Siemens AG, and Network Rail, where he demonstrated his ability to drive sustainability initiatives across diverse industries.

Jacky’s extensive experience and passion for sustainability align perfectly with our commitment to ESG principles. With his leadership, we look forward to elevating our ESG efforts and making a meaningful impact on the environment, society, and governance.

Nick Ackroyd re-joins OCS as Divisional Sales Director for Cleaning

We are delighted to announce that Nick Ackroyd has recently re-joined OCS as our Divisional Sales Director for Cleaning.

Nick brings a wealth of experience and expertise in facilities services, spanning Aviation, Cleaning, Security, and Facilities Management. With a career that includes significant roles at ABM UK, Virgin Atlantic Airways, and previous positions here at OCS, Nick’s extensive background makes him a valuable asset to our team.

“We are pleased to welcome Nick back to OCS. His depth of industry knowledge, commitment to excellence, and past contributions to our organisation make him an exceptional fit for our new vision and mission.”

Andrew Sugars

Chief Commercial Officer

Nick’s return to OCS comes at a pivotal time for our company. As we have recently merged and established a new vision, mission, and a set of core values, Nick’s experience and industry knowledge will be invaluable in helping us navigate this exciting phase.

Leading international facilities service provider OCS appoints Gary McGaghey as Group Chief Financial Officer

OCS, a leading global facilities service provider, is delighted to announce the appointment of Gary McGaghey as Group Chief Financial Officer (CFO).

Gary brings a wealth of experience and expertise to OCS, having successfully built market-leading finance teams for private and publicly listed companies. His appointment – which follows the successful merger of OCS Group with Atalian’s UK, Ireland, and Asia operations in March 2023 – comes at an important time for the group, representing another significant step towards OCS realising its mission of becoming one of the world’s best international facilities service providers.

As the Group CFO, Gary will work alongside OCS’ Group Chief Executive Officer, Rob Legge and the group’s supportive investors, Clayton, Dubilier & Rice, to deliver an ambitious organic and acquisitive growth agenda.

Gary has over 30 years of experience leading finance teams across the FMCG, Beverage, Pharma and Digital Marketing industries. He joins OCS from Williams Lea Tag, where he was Group CFO and successfully delivered an ambitious international M&A strategy under a private equity ownership structure similar to that of OCS.

On top of his expertise and track record, a key factor in Gary’s appointment was his alignment with OCS’ culture and values. OCS is committed to supporting businesses and wider society by improving people’s lives at the most fundamental levels.

Rob Legge, Global CEO of OCS, commented: “I’m delighted to welcome Gary to the OCS team at such a pivotal stage of our growth journey. Gary’s impressive background and extensive experience in building market-leading finance teams make him such a valuable asset for us as we strive to achieve our ambitious growth targets and deliver on our ambition of being the best for our people and the places we serve.

“Our people are at the heart of our business, and our success will depend on a leadership team whose stewardship reflects this ethos. Gary’s alignment with our values and his impressive financial expertise makes him a perfect fit for OCS. We are delighted to have him on board!”

Gary McGaghey, Group CFO of OCS, commented: “I’m very excited to be joining Rob and the rest of the team at OCS at this pivotal time for the group. It has always been clear to me that a business’s success lies in its employees’ collective effort and working together. I’m only at the start of my journey with OCS, but I’m very encouraged to see how our 100,000+ colleagues are at the heart of our customer success.

“The facilities services industry plays an often underappreciated, but critical, role in keeping businesses operating, people safe, and entire communities running. I’m hoping that my previous involvement in delivering growth across a range of industries which OCS serves will help us achieve our ambitions.”

Our first 100 days: An update from our Group CEO

It’s been 100 days since we set out on our journey to bring our two impressive teams together to form the new OCS, and I’m encouraged and excited at the progress made so far and the opportunities ahead for us. I am pleased to reflect on our progress so far and check in on our vision and mission towards becoming the best facilities services business in the world, making people and places the best they can be. As we develop our plan, the main areas of focus and prioritisation are investment, team collaboration, cultural integration, our responsibility towards ESG initiatives and the continuation of excellent service for our customers and end users.

Bringing our two previously family-owned businesses together closely will be the key to our success. We have enormous experience and expertise within our newly formed organisation, and we’re focused on bringing those teams closer together physically, technologically and above all, culturally. Part of our brand launch (later this year) will help to embed our TRUE Values throughout the organisation. Our values guide what we do, how we operate, how we interact and, importantly, how we show up and deliver each day. Trust, Respect, Unity and Empowerment (TRUE) are at the heart of OCS, and I’ve made it my mission to deliver that message at every opportunity.

You may have heard the term ESG. It’s a widely used term in business and stands for Environmental, Social and Governance. ESG is an accountability mechanism on which we are measured as a business. ESG covers every aspect of sustainability, from environmental to financial sustainability, all things people and community and how we, as a business, are aligning to global initiatives such as the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals – as well as the governance of our organisation and how we ensure that we’re operating in a way that aligns to our values. Look out for further updates on our ESG strategy and progress which will include our Net Zero targets.

Investment in our organisation is vital, and we’re looking at all business areas to see where investment is needed and how that investment will help towards our vision and mission. Making people and places the best they can requires real effort in areas from training and development to innovation and technology – and you have my word that we’re committed to this being part of our ethos and an essential ingredient for our success.

Speaking of success, I’ve already witnessed much of this during the first 100 Days of our transformation, be that teams working together, contract awards, the continual progress of our Apprenticeship and Learning and Development schemes – or the positive feedback that we’ve received from a wide range of customers, which pleases me hugely. But we’re not always judged on our successes. More likely is that we’re judged on what we’ve not done well or where we could improve – and so I’d ask you all to continue the good work in bringing our teams together and doing all you can to help us come the best facilities services business in the world.

I want to thank everyone for their efforts so far, and for what we’ve achieved in such a short space of time. I look forward to updating you on further progress and key milestones of our exciting journey together.

Rob Legge, Group CEO