European Cleaning & Hygiene Awards 2018 Winner - Principle Cleaning Services

16th of July 2019
European Cleaning & Hygiene Awards 2018 Winner - Principle Cleaning Services

Principle Cleaning Services account manager Ben Swinbourne worked tirelessly to address the challenges on his cleaning contract. His success earned him the Rising Star prize in the 2018 European Cleaning & Hygiene Awards.

Ben Swinbourne started working for Principle Cleaning Services as account manager at Paddington Central - a mixed use, commercial, residential and retail estate - in London in November 2018. It was a very difficult time on that account.

The team was disengaged, unmotivated and working in silos. The client, meanwhile, was frustrated with levels of service delivery, the high rate of staff turnover and the resulting declines. Those frustrations were expressed via KPI scores and during monthly meetings.

Swinbourne immediately created a six-month plan to develop the contract into a ‘lighthouse’ account for Principle. “Lighthouse accounts are the accounts all others in the business look up to. They showcase new innovation and are the standard bearers,” explains Scott Fitzgerald, associate director at Principle Cleaning.

The fundamentals of that strategy were to create a team that was ‘engaged, empowered and working with purpose and pride’. To do this, Swinbourne created an engagement plan based around communication. There is now a monthly whole account team meeting, a weekly team leaders’ meeting and a daily ‘huddle’ called the 10@10 where the account management team get together for 10 minutes each morning. They discuss the challenges and successes of the previous and upcoming day and that has resulted in better communication and engagement.

Fitzgerald continues: “Ben also created a Reward & Recognition programme, quarterly ‘GEM’ (Going the Extra Mile) awards, Employee of the Month awards and Thank You cards for the team members to recognise a job well done. This meant that he was not only able to communicate the client’s needs to the team, but it allowed the team to communicate with Ben and other members of the team.”

Quarterly GEM awards are issued to team members who support the client or the team in a way that is above and beyond their usual remit. It could be helping out after hours or carrying a suitcase for a client – any kind of positive behaviour. Employee of The Month, meanwhile, recognises an employee who is always punctual, smart in appearance, always willing to help the team and the client, and displays a positive can-do attitude.

Thank You cards are issued by the account management, the team and the client. Collecting five cards is rewarded with a voucher bonus.

Since Swinbourne joined Principle client KPI scores have reached record highs – above 95 per cent. Not only that, the contract has been extended for a further two years, a real testament to his efforts.
Having graduated in criminology and earned a qualification in accounting and finance, Swinbourne gained extensive experience of account management for a diverse range of properties around London.

Now his key responsibilities include P&L accounting; financial efficiency and performance; health and safety compliance; monthly KPI meetings; HR performance management and disciplinary procedures; and sub-contractor management.

So what does a typical week look like for him at Paddington Central? Swinbourne does daily tours of the campus to ensure standards are being maintained and to address any issues that have arisen. Client relationship building is a key part of the role and there are five clients on the site, all different. Keeping in touch with the team in order to ensure cohesion and contentment is vital  too, as it helps to lower attrition rates and maintain standards.

Part of Swinbourne’s remit is finance and budget management, as are health and safety reviews so they take up part of his working week. He also delegates reactive tasks to the team and ensures this impacts positively on service levels and customer satisfaction.

What are his ambitions for the future? “To grow and continually progress within Principle, always adding value to the company and to constantly be learning new skills and broadening my knowledge of the industry,” replies Swinbourne. “I would like to rise through the ranks within Principle as it is the leading soft service provider in London. Awards such as the European Cleaning and Hygiene Awards demonstrate what a fantastic company Principle is and I am proud to have won the Rising Star award.”

Scott Fitzgerald concludes: “Since joining the company Ben’s passion, quality, and the many innovations he has introduced to this contract have really stood out. He has been a great addition to our management team.”

The 2019 European Cleaning & Hygiene Awards ceremony takes place at the Church Hall, Westminster, London on October 17. For details of how to reserve your place visit


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