Continuing this month’s Portuguese focus, we’re in sunny Lisbon for a conversation with Jim Yorston, KEY’s Chief Operations Officer, and our Portugal Facilities Manager: Jorge Diniz. Our aim is to learn more about Jorge, who is a cornerstone of the country’s operations.
Jorge is an exemplar of KEY’s capacity for spotting and nurturing internal talent. (A factor which helped us become the UK’s first Facilities Management business to win an Investor in People Award!).
Jorge’s story is typical of several members of our Management Team, who having joined KEY, have won promotion through their efforts and furthered their careers. When we first met Jorge, he was in a junior position. KEY had won a major new Portuguese contract, and he was working for the incumbent Facilities Management provider.
Speaking about their first meeting, Jim said:
“When I arrived in Lisbon for the contract mobilisation, I was appalled at what I found. I made my feelings known to the incumbent provider. I then parked myself in the same office as Jorge, to get a handle on things and develop our alternative corporate governance model. While Jorge’s English wasn’t great, his enthusiasm was clear from the outset. So too was his eagerness to understand what I was doing.”
According to Jorge, this interest was motivated by his frustration at the way the contract has been managed to date:
“I had a manual role, but could plainly see thing weren’t being conducted in the interests of the client or best practice. There wasn’t even a maintenance schedule. How can you claim management responsibility if you don’t even know what to do day-to-day, let alone how or when to do it?”
Over their 3-month office-share, Jim’s respect for Jorge’s talents continued to grow:
“Putting together the budgets, – for cleaning, security, lift maintenance etc. – , Jorge consistently produced excellent data on spend. He also proved a very effective translator, and was invaluable in negotiations with the existing provider and supply chain. My confidence in his potential grew and by the end of that period, I knew he was the guy I wanted to appoint.”
On his side, Jorge was also impressed by KEY’s approach:
“KEY had a very different culture to anything I’d been used to. It was clear that they were very much about sharing knowledge, delegating responsibility and empowering people. In prior roles budgets were always kept secret, so we never had any idea of the scope of what I could do. KEY’s openness meant the team always had the details they needed to deliver their very best for the client.
When KEY made me an offer, I was genuinely surprised and a little nervous. However, I had in my mind lots to do and a wide field to improve. I knew it was a great opportunity, that I’d get the support I needed and that I’d enjoy working with the team.”
However, not everyone shared KEY’s belief in Jorge’s abilities at first. As Jim puts it:
“There was a nervousness at our strategy from the client at such a bold move to promote Jorge and give him some significant aspects of responsibility within the contract, As the delivery of the contract was ultimately our responsibility we took the decision despite many voices suggesting it was high risk.
I am glad to say that we’ve been proved right! Jorge has become a True Facilities Manager who continues to grow and develop in his role and who we truly consider a safe pair of hands with whom we trust our reputation and contractual responsibilities. That we have retained the contract based upon our performance is down in part to the role Jorge has played on our behalf.
Particularly notable is the care and attention he gives to the employee experience.
On that first contract, Jorge quickly transformed a workplace in bad shape into one where staff enjoyed coming to work. On the way, he has become a fluent English-speaker and has demonstrated imagination and great people skills, –everyone likes him. There’s no question that his innovations, – from developing healthier canteen menus to radically improving air quality – , have promoted workplace wellbeing and productivity.”
Well done, Jorge! So, over to you for any closing statements you would like to make?
“For one, thanks Jim! For two, I would like to say that whilst working for KEY, it has become clear to me that ‘Facilities Management’ is a term used very inaccurately in Portugal. Many companies say they provide Facilities Management, when in fact they just provide workers.
Here at KEY, we provide True Facilities Management –a strategic management discipline which seeks to improve operations by optimising all dimensions of an organisation: people, place, process and technology.
My goal is for KEY Portugal to introduce True FM to more of my country and people: to demonstrate this difference, and the real savings and value it represents for any business.”
Hear, hear! If you’re located in Portugal or the surrounding region and think you might benefit from KEY’s True FM approach, then contact us now on email@example.com.