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Think again

With clear expectations and a willingness to challenge each other, regardless of seniority, we maximise the chances of everyone going home safe and well. It’s like a well-oiled machine with moving, interdependent parts. It only takes one person, anywhere in the machine, to make the wrong choice or do the wrong thing for the machine to fail. That’s when people get hurt.

Implementation started with the leadership team and has now moved to the key influencers in the business – our managers and supervisors. As part of this process, each leader, manager and supervisor is required to undertake a self-appraisal of the extent to which they demonstrate the required behaviours today, and set themselves a personal action plan to close any gaps. This requires our people to start by shining a light on their own behaviour and to hold themselves accountable for their own improvement.

In addition, everyone who joins the business will receive a new Think Again induction to ensure they’re clear on our expectations, and what they can expect from others. Through the process, we are including our supply chain partners who are also crucial to the success of the programme.

To support this new way of thinking, we have also developed a suite of posters to act as conversation starters, each designed to challenge perceptions for specific issues (asbestos, live working, mental health and PPE). It all adds up to a different approach, one that the business is embracing.

FM is a broad church. The wider team of frontline people can be cleaning, guarding, cooking and delivering mail – soft services which are alien in the construction world, as they follow long after the job is done. Much more recognisable for those in construction would be the hard services such as electrical and mechanical work, although in FM it’s usually, but not always, more maintenance than installation.

Another big difference between FM and construction comes from the often peripatetic, even nomadic delivery model, with lone working being common – a cleaner here, a mobile technician there, often spread across significant geographies. Unlike many construction workers, frontline people in FM are usually working in public areas, often on customers’ own premises, as with the Canal Rivers Trust and The Royal Parks.

Recognising these differences presented VINCI with the challenge of making the programme as impactful in an FM contract as it would be on a large construction site or complex civil engineering project. The result was a programme with a ‘core’ that could be adopted and adapted in each of our business divisions.

A fundamental enabler to the implementation of Think Again into VINCI Facilities was the commitment of the MD, Tony Raikes, and those directly reporting to him, demonstrated through the visible adoption of the essential behaviours for leaders. This was followed by a nationwide programme of training sessions, delivered in-house, for up to 1,000 managers and supervisors.

It’s often said that timing is everything, and the decision to coincide the rollout of Think Again with the launch of a new suite of health and safety standards, designed specifically for and by our facilities management business, was certainly a conscious decision. This has created an exciting working environment where behaviours and standards are being leveraged to drive further improvements in health and safety under the direct control and influence of the facilities business, not the corporate centre.

This approach has resulted in some specific tactical focus, such as physical and mental health, lone working, managing asbestos, legionella and contractor management. The Think Again programme recognises that risk is best managed by those who are planning, managing and monitoring work, not faceless bureaucrats at corporate HQ.

We pride ourselves on being trusted partners for our customers. Think Again extends this principle to the interdependence that exists between our leaders, managers, supervisors and frontline people. We all need to be able to trust those around us to make the right decisions, and be ready to be accountable for our own health and safety. Successful facilities management is always a team effort. Think Again harnesses this energy to help us all deliver excellence in health and safety, together.

About Sarah OBeirne


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