When two cultures become one team

Jane LemonAn interview with Jane Lemon at Channel 4

Jane Lemon discusses what it’s like to run an FM service in a busy media environment, and how Mitie Client Services has become an integral part of the delivery team.

Jane Lemon says that she fell into her facilities management career, but in reality it was an industry she was destined to work in.  A qualified building surveyor, and a career history including managing Armani’s shop portfolio, the operations manager at Epsom Downs Racecourse overseeing the build of the new stand, and group head of property for the Ambassador Theatre Group; facilities management was surely the next logical step.

Jane joined Channel 4 in 2011 to help complete its refurbishment project, and she hasn’t looked back.  Which is just as well because as Jane says: “In the media industry, you always have to look forward. It’s fast-paced and we have to be super adaptable, it’s a creative and inspiring space we’re managing – not an office block.  We’re always creating new environments that move with the needs of the business.  We have to hit programming diversity targets every year, so we can only look two to three years ahead.  That’s fine from a creative perspective, but in FM where people work to ten-year strategies, it’s challenging because few people in media think ten years ahead!

“Our core in-house team consists of just three people.  Everything else is outsourced.  We have direct relationships with our contract caterer, AV and health & safety suppliers but all other on site services are managed through our contract with Mitie Client Services.  We have a very strong relationship with Mitie and our on-site Account Director provides the leadership and direction for all service lines.  I know where I want us to be, and Mitie share that vision and help us deliver it.

“Mitie work in many highly corporate organisations, where the front-of-house teams are always immaculately presented.  At Channel 4 we need something very different, and Mitie has been chameleon-like, adopting our culture, values and ethos to create a one-team approach. While they’ve beautifully blended with us, we’ve been able to take the very best of their skills and knowledge to create an exceptional experience for our staff and visitors.

“If we take front of house, our security team aren’t at-all intimidating, they’re helpful and interact with visitors.  The receptionists have to deal with a huge footfall of people, but they’re always pleasant, attentive, and friendly. They have an innate knowledge about what every single department does, know everyone in the building, what they do and where they sit. That’s quite an achievement.  They’re completely committed to what they do, and it shows in the feedback.  The compliments about our security and reception staff are always exemplary.

“We once had a power outage, and everyone, regardless of their role – engineers, cleaners, catering teams – got involved to mobilise the floor and get it working again. It wasn’t Mitie’s responsibility but they did what it took to fix the issue.  We pull together, and we do it well.

“I want to build on that.  Generally service providers work well on big estates, and multi-tenanted buildings, because they’re detached and don’t need to buy in.  For us, buying into the culture and helping to formulate it, is a massive ask.  But we’re doing it, and I think that together we can come up with something innovative.  This whole business is based on communication.  If you get it right you can achieve anything.

“We’re all unique and in media you have to be super flexible; regimented approaches don’t work.  Mitie has got this right.  They get my vision, they listen, and now, with this team, we really can achieve my goal to be a centre of excellence for facilities management.”





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