With an exceptional headcount growth and 3,907 new hires in 2019 alone, Kiran Jacob, Head of human resources, Ejadah, gives an insight into the vision behind these hires and why it is imperative that HR and facilities management team work together. In these times of downsizing and re-organising, flexible working, job-sharing and hot-desking, the term ‘workplace’ has become somewhat inexact, encompassing far more than just where you sit your staff.
This means the job of a Facilities Management (FM) team is no longer a department that is just concerned with physical buildings. What is becoming increasingly clear is that the Human Resource (HR) can help with this ever-intensifying challenge.
After all, any organisation is as good as its people. And when it comes to a facilities management industry the driving force, reputation and growth are the people itself. Last year, Ejadah witnessed an exponential manpower growth with 3,900+ new hires. With this regard, the key vision behind the workforce that steered this success was engrained in driving the idea of becoming and being a world-class organisation with people focused on creating holistic success for their stakeholders by implementing four important people practices that align with its mission.
95% customer retention, 94% Customer Satisfaction Index and positive results in revenue and margins are testaments to vision being realized through effective people practices.
HR & FM work hand-in-hand
It is imperative that HR and the Facilities Management team work together because “people” are the common denominator. “Ejadah is a highly people driven organization. Nearly 50% to 60% of project cost and profitability depends on people costs. Therefore, resourcing, mobilizing, on-boarding, training, and deploying, people with the right skillsets are some of the pivotal tasks that run through our day-to-day operations,” says Kiran Jacob, Head of HR, Ejadah.
At Ejadah, HR and FM Management Team work handin- hand right from the point of a contract win. “The FM team work along with the HR team to fix project manpower cost, structure, budget, etc. from a compensation perspective to ensure we are profitable. All recruitments are initiated only when an online RRF (Recruitment Requisition Form) approved to ensure manpower requirements fall within project scope and budget,” explains Jacob.
Manpower planning and mobilisation are done as a collective to ensure that they recruit the right people with the right attitude, skill, and competencies, knowledge to perform the job. Once onboard, the key to revenue generation is time to deploy and HR works closely with the FM Team to ensure this is done in 5 days’ time.
That’s not all. The HR and FM teams have worked together to develop technical training modules for MEP trades. Close to 35 technical trainers from operations have gone through the ‘Train the Trainer’ certification and are currently training staff at various site locations.
Jacob also points out that the teams together have created a dedicated Soft Services Training plan in order to train cleaning operatives. “This is released every month with new joiners going through 5 days of rigorous training as per BICSc standards. In addition to COSHH Awareness, BICSc LTP for Site Managers. Over 40,000 hours of training has been delivered for soft service operatives,” he adds.
Changing workplace concept
Post the pandemic, people across various industries have been facing a completely different view of a workplace scenario. However, at Ejadah the concept of the workplace has undergone an enormous change over the past 2 years. “Our workplace has moved from being an externally stimulated reactive to an internally stimulated proactive. We have come to realize the simple truth, “Happy Employees, Happy Customers”. Since then, we have consistently employed enablement and engagement strategies within the organisation that now we are witnessing a workplace that is fun and exciting, a place where people learn and grow, and where people are challenged with new opportunities regularly enabling high performance,” says Jacob.
They have ensured that it is a workplace where technology is harnessed to enable communication, learning, and collaboration within the organisation. Microsoft Teams is used extensively for meetings, communications, knowledge sharing, etc. They have implemented e-learning for people to learn anytime and anywhere, 24x7, at their own pace without disrupting business operations.
“We have created a workplace where leadership encourages openness and champions feedback which is actioned upon. And one that rewards and recognizes high-performing employees regularly to ensure a motivated & committed workforce. Ejadah is a workplace where the CEO takes a personal interest in people development and growth within the organisation,” adds Jacob.
HR Best Practices
With a forward-thinking approach, Ejadah has truly implemented international best practices between their HR and FM teams. Listing them out, Jacob says that to secure key contracts, a robust recruitment strategy that delivers in terms of numbers, time, quality and cost was identified as a significant driving factor. “Key components of this strategy were to build a structured yet agile staffing plan, the choice of Tier 1 recruitment partners and optimizing our on-boarding process. This plan enabled us to recruit and efficiently onboard 3,900+ staff without compromising on contract mobilization timelines in 2019,” adds Jacob.
A Holistic learning and development strategy and plan was implemented through the year covering Technical, Non-Technical, Functional and Behavioral Training needs gathered by an effective Training need analysis.
Nearly 90% of the employees trained vs. planned in a month became an integral part of Ejadah’s scorecard. And the Personal Development Goal by default was mandated as an individual KPI for all staff with 10% weight on performance.
“With the launch of ADVANZ, Ejadah’s award-winning eLearning solution we were able to offer flexibility & convenience to learn while ensuring business continuity,” adds Jacob. Embrace Survey by Gallup and Let’s talk (Internal Engagement Survey) were effected to hear from employees and take action based on feedback received.
“Employee engagement has always been a part of our DNA and a series of right OD interventions ensured our engagement levels remained high. Recognizing the good work that our people do continues to be a high priority for us, 600+ employee recognition awards, including CEO awards were given out in 2019,” added Jacob.
Investment on Workforce
One cannot emphasize enough on the importance of investing in staff. And Ejadah has truly seen the results through their various investments, especially in terms of the high impetus on internal mobility ensured career progression for performing employees with the organization. “Close to 400+ internal promotions were given and over 10% vacancies closed through internal mobility with upward and lateral movements,” says Jacob.
High volume mobilizations were executed by partnering with Top Tier Overseas agencies that met Ejadah’s standards & requirements. Every staff are selected after rigorous assessments by Ejadah HR and Technical representatives. HR collaborated with the Business Heads for a robust Training Need Analysis to ensure trainings are aligned and meet business requirements. Increased focus was given to Technical Training, Customer Service Centricity and language proficiency.
Initiatives such as daily toolbox talks and structured site-based training plans were introduced to enable continuous learning. And now, dedicated internal trainers are delivering tailor-made sitebased training to all technicians. Customer Service Centricity champions are currently training and monitoring customer experience and service delivery levels at sites. The Smart Reading Program helped 100+ staff improve their English language proficiency and is being continued.
Careful attention is paid to Employee Turnover and measures are taken to ensure that good people are retained and HR does everything in their power to see if needs can be met to enable change in decision,” explains Jacob. As a result of these, Ejadah won the well-deserved Gold Award in “Employees at the heart of everything“ category in the Gulf Customer Service Awards 2020.
The vision of Ejadah in the coming years is to build an organization where people are developed to be experts in their domain with the capability to plan and execute services to clients with speed and accuracy. “We will be moving forward with this plan thereby create a culture that develops people to embrace our focus on quality, service delivery, and customercentricity. Our vision is to create an organization with ‘experts, making places perform’,” sums up Jacob.