Today, we’re in Athens to welcome and get to know Michalis Roussos, new Senior Operations and Business Development Manager for KEY Facilities Management (FM) International.
To start with, Michalis, it would be great to learn something about you, and your background and experience?
“Well as of March 2nd this year, I am the proud father of twin boys, so most of my free time just now is providing facilities services to them!
My academic background is in chemical engineering. I have a BSc from the National Technical University of Athens and an MSc from the University Manchester Institute of Science and Technology.
I first encountered the world of FM in my first job for Ecolab, where I was selling products, equipment and systems to cleaning companies. Then, in the early noughties, I joined ISS Greece. That was shortly after they decided to pursue a Total FM (TFM) global strategy. They were in the process of buying service companies around the world. I was brought in to help integrate their new Greek acquisitions into a single service proposition and culture.
The organisational challenges were completely new. This included a good deal of divisiveness. For example, the original team saw themselves as superior to their new colleagues. There were also the age-old differences between the cultures of North and South Greece. Furthermore, almost every change was met with hesitancy or resistance.
Achieving the goal took a lot of belief, courage and persistence but we got there. Moreover, I came out the other side with a rich knowledge of facilities services and change management.
Shortly after, I was appointed Managing Director of ISS Greece, and later also for ISS Israel.”
Tell us a little about your new role at KEY and what you bring to the international team?
“I’ve been appointed to provide management support for Jim (Yorston), KEY’s Chief Operations Officer, for international operations and business development.
For many years I’d been on the lookout for a new position which I needed to satisfy certain characteristics. When I met Jim and Stan (Mitchell), I was 100% convinced I’d found it! I see it as a golden opportunity to move up a level and learn about KEY’s unique international management system, and their related consultancy, technology and training services.
I also believe the knowledge I gained at ISS will bring a lot of value to how their international network operates at the local partner level. As well as helping to optimise service delivery and facilitate a positive shared culture, I intend to raise KEY’s onsite profile. I think KEY’s local customers often don’t realise the extent to which their hard work and thinking behind-the-scenes is responsible for the workplace improvements they experience. I want to change this.
I feel I was born for an international organisational culture like KEY’s. I’m organised, punctual and want a clear strategy and action plan to implement. I have an engineering system mindset, and take the view that if you prepare a plan properly, you’re clear on every action required to attain your goal on time and budget. When I set myself an objective, I always achieve it. I like producing results and the confidence this brings.
I don’t think these characteristics are typical of my home country. People here tend to be more emotionally-driven and less worried about whether something gets done today or tomorrow. In an appraisal once, a former boss told me “you’re not Greek.”. He meant it as a compliment, but that evening I did phone my mother to double-check!”
What’s on the horizon for International Facility Management?
For me, the most significant general trend at the moment is client-driven evolution. It doesn’t seem so long ago I was trying to sell TFM contracts, and clients just couldn’t grasp the concept.
Since then, clients have matured faster than most FM providers. Not only are they asking for TFM now, but they’re also sceptical that one company can deliver to their required standards. They’re looking for FM partners capable of managing an ecology of suppliers tailored to their specific needs, where each is an expert in their particular field.
Under tightening economic constraints, they also need a partner who is proactive in helping them work better for less. They want to increase staff satisfaction while utilising less square metres – that sort of thing.
I heard a keynote presentation by the CEO of Philip Morris at a recent conference where he stated his primary expectation for their FM partners was clarity on how to take his business to higher levels of productivity. Evidently, new workplace technologies and thinking are underpinning this, which is why we’re seeing a ramping up of developments in this area currently.
In short, I predict the next-generation of FM providers will have greater focus on the design of effective management systems, the integration of actual and digital facilities, and promoting staff experiences, wellbeing and productivity through workplace optimisation.
On all counts, I see KEY as being ideally-positioned and ahead of the curve. I’m thrilled to be part of a team who is playing such a big part in mapping and defining this new territory. What with this new role and becoming a father, 2018 really has got off to a great start for me. Unquestionably, this will be an exciting year, packed with new experiences, learning and achievements.”