“We’ve heard plenty about Cofely before the transfer itself, but it’s nice to see smiling faces on day one it makes a difference to know that you’re joining a company that has thought about us.”
David Willis, Senior Engineer, GSH transferee
In August 2013, Telereal Trillium (TT) began consultations with a range of FM providers. TT’s aim was to find a new service partner to deliver facilities management services across the DWP estate.
- To deliver appropriate TFM services across a 1,500 premises estate covering the entire UK
- To successfully TUPE transfer 4,000 employees from four separate organisations into one cohesive organisation
- To create significant cost-savings for DWP by blending regional teams into more effective units.
- We held one-to-one interviews with all 4,000 affected staff
- We communicated with teams and larger groups using ‘town-hall’-style meetings, digital channels and webcasts to engage the workforce in the forthcoming transfer
- We successfully transferred over 350 engineering staff, including a fleet of over 250 vehicles, on day one of the hard services contract
- IT systems remained fully operational throughout the transfer, delivering ‘business-as-usual’ services to over 10,000 helpdesk users across the contract during the transfer.
The Challenges We Faced:
Geographical Scope and Complexity
Our teams were required to mobilise across over 900 sites, including corporate offices and JobCentres, and to deliver a seamless transition into ‘steady state’ operation. We’ve operated large-scale TFM contracts of similar size in the past – such as the BBC and EDF Energy – so our teams were aware of the pressures and unique challenges we would face.
Cofely’s mobilisation and transition approach follows a ‘hub-and-spoke’ model, with large-scale, ‘Town Hall’ meetings taking place in eight locations around the UK at the outset of this process. At these meetings, senior figures from the operational side of our business met their counterparts and other operational staff from all of the stakeholder organisations, and discussed the steps they could expect to see as we made the transition into a Cofely-led model. During this phase, we started a programme of one-to-one meetings with each individual transferee. Over 4,000 hard and soft services personnel were interviewed, making this initiative the largest of its kind in our history.
In order to deliver a seamless mobilisation and transition into business-as-usual service delivery, our Human Resources teams had to integrate staff from three similarly complex organisations – GSH, Mitie and Telereal Trillium – while forming our own senior management and operational teams, which were then integrated into a combined workforce of close to 4,000 people.
This created several potential conflicts, and situations where some teams would be restructured to work alongside personnel who had previously occupied senior roles. Communication, cultural alignment and a shared sense of the long-term aim – to create a cohesive, unified ed workforce – would be key to the success of this approach.
We were also acutely aware that the right people had to be at the forefront of the operation. Cofely are lucky enough to boast very experienced team leaders, such as Paul Cooper, Mobilisation Director for Hard Services, and Denise Thompson, whose experience of the DWP contract extends to almost a decade. The ‘cultural integration’ side of the mobilisation project was really boosted by their leadership and experience, and our teams’ existing knowledge of the DWP estate, having delivered FM services there for several years. This knowledge of the physical estate and its unique challenges enabled us to plan the expansion of our work across the additional sites, and gave us a great insight into the cultural impact of our actions.
One of the biggest challenges we faced as a business was the integration of diverse IT platforms into a cohesive and reliable whole. Prior to the award of the contract, our FM delivery systems were underpinned by Maximo 7.5, but as a result of Cofely’s takeover of Balfour Beatty WorkPlace in late 2013, we needed to integrate these systems with GDF’s preferred platforms, SAP and Planon.
While this work was taking place, our IT team, led by Steve Parrott, also had to integrate the systems needed by the new Project Med contract with ours. As a result, Cofely’s ‘Business as Usual’ IT team expanded to cover the additional workload, and thanks to their ingenuity and perseverance, we were able to deliver a stable, reliable work-order management solution for Go-Live on the Project Med contract. Our solution, which is further enhanced by all 300 engineers on the contract receiving new Galaxy Note 4 PDAs, means that work orders can now be effectively completed across the contracts 1,000-plus sites.
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