Facilicom trainee has her eye on a management role

4th of May 2016
Facilicom trainee has her eye on a management role

Attracting and retaining talented people can be a major challenge for many businesses whatever industry they are in. The recent CBRE European Occupier Survey, reported that 42 per cent of the world’s leading companies see labour and skills shortages as key issues. Anna Boss, a management trainee, gives the inside view on how the Facilicom Group’s trainee programme has opened her eyes to the world of management.

Facilicom’s management trainee programme for recent graduates is well known in my native Netherlands and I was one of over 300 initial applicants for a place. I had just graduated from a Global Studies Master of Science and was a research assistant for the associate professor, but was keen to move into management and to join the renowned scheme at the only full service facilities management (FM) provider in the country.

As you can imagine, there’s strong competition for a place on the programme. If you are successful in the application process – there were just 14 people who started the programme along with me – there’s a ‘Masterclass’ where you get the opportunity to learn about the different sections of the business and also meet members of the senior management team. That gives you a real insight into how the company works and what area you’d like to work in. It’s a
great way to assess whether this is the right career path for you, and of course for the company to judge if you’re right for them too!

From there you begin a two-year journey of management training. I spent my first year as a project manager in Facilicom’s healthcare division working with a variety of public and private stakeholders developing proposals and projects.

Being a multinational company, Facilicom is able to offer placements in numerous countries. Having met the UK managing director, Jan-Hein Hemke, at the masterclass – and wanting to test myself abroad – I applied to work in the UK and was accepted. I am only the third person on the programme to have taken this step, most people remain in The Netherlands or Belgium where Facilicom has bigger operations.

I’m currently halfway through a year working as an area manager in London for Facilicom UK’s cleaning division, where I’m responsible for 17 clients and manage the operational side of the business, including cost control and new business opportunities.

Moving between countries gives the opportunity to learn and share best practice ideas, although the different cultures and nature of the businesses in the Netherlands and the UK mean it’s not just a case of transposing working practices. Working with some of the other trainees, I am engaged in a project focusing on customer satisfaction which is an excellent arena for developing ideas from the different nations.

Not the easy option

The trainee programme is not an easy option and you have to work hard. It’s been a real challenge, but it’s also the best way to learn as there are always opportunities to develop and test yourself.

The management programme comprises working in a position at Facilicom for four days a week, with the other day used to develop personal competencies and also take part in company-wide projects. For example I have been working as part of a team to assess the impact of Facilicom’s ‘Hostmanship’ training on their end customers.

The scheme has helped develop my understanding of the business world. Whereas before I might always have looked for the best social outcome in any situation, I now appreciate the fact that financial viability is vital for a business to be sustainable.

I have always been customer orientated with a desire to give good service, but the management programme has developed my skills and I can now better prioritise and ensure I set realistic expectations of what can be delivered. It’s very easy to say yes to everything that is asked of you, learning to say no at appropriate times is a valuable lesson everyone should learn.

I feel I’ve developed twice as fast as I would have done, if I’d just taken a straightforward position somewhere. It has opened up a whole range of possibilities.

A fresh eye

Being a trainee isn’t all about what you take out of a business. As we are new to the organisation, we are also expected to ask questions and query why things are done the way they are and identify where there might be a better way. It’s easy to get into a rut and continue to do things one way as ‘that’s how they’ve always been done’. The trainee programme allows Facilicom to audit and improve its practices on a regular basis.

The scheme is an excellent way of attracting new people to work at Facilicom and making sure they have the right skills and attitude to move the business forward.



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