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New focus on FM recruitment bearing fruit

30 August 2017

Keith Glennister’s input into the Eden Brown recruitment process is ensuring the provision of a better service.

Following a long and successful career within the FM sector, Keith Glennister retired from his full-time role as ISS Facilities Services key accounts operations director last year.

In addition to his increasingly senior management roles with a number of companies over the preceding 35 years, he also served as chair for a selection of professional FM institutions and trade organisations, providing him with an in-depth knowledge of the industry and adding further to an enviable reputation for getting things done.

His wide-ranging expertise is continuing to provide benefits for the FM sector as Mr Glennister has accepted non-executive director roles with industry participants, one of which is for recruitment provider Eden Brown.

Having known the company for a number of years, he made the proposal at the end of 2016 to use his network and industry expertise to help develop Eden Brown’s FM business further and boost its profile in the sector.

“It made sense to me that my background could be used to work alongside a specialist partner and improve the way recruitment is approached within FM,” says Mr Glennister.

“I didn’t want to just walk away from the industry when I retired from full-time working and this is a good way to see my experience and knowledge put to good use.”

Having received an enthusiastic reception to his suggestion, he began working with the company’s FM recruitment team in the 1st quarter of this year.

His main role involves representing Eden Brown in the wider FM arena and upskilling the team’s expertise, whilst also supporting the screening and selection process – identifying the most suitable candidates and explaining to the team why others are less suited.

One of the aspects of assisting his colleagues to understand more about the FM sector has included encouragement to take part in the various networking opportunities that arise on a regular basis.

“I’ve explained that getting to know more about the industry can help them a great deal and attending networking sessions are a really important part of this, helping to increase the knowledge and understanding that will then help them in selecting the best people for the job,” he says.

“I can give a different perspective on the technical side and we’ve had a couple of clients ask if we can do some sort of technical assessment, as a result of me being part of the team. The idea is to add more value to the service and raise the credibility levels of Eden Brown by looking at each candidate to make sure they’re right fit for the role,” says Mr Glennister.

Eden Brown associate director Deborah Longstaff states that she was surprised at the speed with which customers reacted to Mr Glennister’s involvement.

“We thought this would take a while to be appreciated, but the feedback we’ve had in the first quarter proves beyond any doubt that we’re doing the right thing,” she says.

“It’s been a great learning experience for the team, too,” Ms Longstaff continues. “Keith has helped them a lot. It’s about developing our knowledge and becoming FM experts, ensuring we service customers’ needs with deep insight into the sector.

"It’s allowing us to be more focused in supplying a better service and it’s also saving our clients a lot of time.”

“Since we started, I don’t know of another recruitment company that’s done this – taking someone that’s not a specialist recruiter from the FM industry to reinforce their business and demonstrate to customers that they’re really taking this seriously,” says Mr Glennister.

He emphasises the point that he has no previous experiencing in working with recruitment companies and his role is entirely concerned with providing unbiased advice.

“I see my role as supporting the built environment team, looking from the perspective of a non-recruiter. It’s actually been much easier than I thought to get things up and running,” he says.

“Although I’m only contracted to work two days a month, I’m not a nine to fiver and encourage clients to call me at any time if they need to discuss something. We’re getting calls with companies dealing with staff retirement and others that are restructuring, but they all want to know that they’re talking to someone that can be trusted in the industry,” says Mr Glennister.

“Recruitment is seen as a necessary evil by some clients but I think we’re now doing it better, by offering a different service to the customers.

“I’m delighted that we’re doing it and we’re getting a good level of support and we look forward to it growing even more over the next year or so.”

Future growth potential lies with increased efforts with customers including major blue chip organisations, to extend its list of major accounts.

Mr Glennister is also looking to work more directly with clients, particularly those who require staff with a wide range of differing skill sets. He also believes that companies could benefit by improving the way they manage their recruitment processes, including engaging agency workers to fill in while permanent staff are being found for the role.

“I don’t think many companies have a clear idea of how much they really spend on recruitment and that’s something we can improve and help them save money on,” he says.

His efforts are not confined to the company’s activities around London, as Mr Glennister is increasingly involved with the Eden Brown regional offices. Following his meeting with PFM, he planned to travel to its offices in the North of England to further the company’s FM recruitment strategy.

The team’s activities have already been recognised within the nGAGE group of companies and proof of this was seen by Eden Brown’s FM division winning the Innovation of the Year category within its annual awards.

Having improved its service by raising levels of integrity, Ms Longstaff states that the company now plans more activities around brand promotion, with the aim of increasing the number of people on its books.

“We work on the basis that at any one time, only a fraction of the UK working population is actively seeking work and are listed on job boards,” she says.

“That means that the vast majority of people are not on job boards and are listed as ‘passive’ and the majority of these will be great candidates for other positions.

“We’re aiming to encourage more people to get involved by using all the means available to us. It’s all about providing a better service, which is something that the recruitment sector has not had a great reputation for achieving,” she states.

“We may well recruit more experts to work on a similar basis to Keith in our other divisions covering different sectors of the built environment,” Ms Longstaff concludes.

Keith Glennister’s FM industry experience

2009-16 ISS Facilities Services key accounts operations director

2005-09 Frankham Consulting Group business services director

2004-05 Nuffield Hospitals commissioning/operations manager

2003-04 Larch Consulting/Improveline commercial director

2002-03 Reliance Integrated Services executive director

1997-2002 Turner Facilities Management executive director

1993-97 Wasp Management managing director

1992-93 Symonds Facilities Management head of engineering

1990-92 Canary Wharf Management estate services manager

1979-90 Shell International senior services manager

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