5 Minutes with Helen Stevens

There have been many changes at City West Support Services as we prepare for the next stage of our growth. Over the coming weeks we’ll be introducing some of our colleagues who have either been promoted or recruited to our team to take things forward. Today, we have been speaking to our Operations Director, Helen Stevens.

How long have you been at City West?
The start of my journey with City West was in March 2018. What appealed to me most about City West was that as a family run business there is clear ethos of putting people first, and with a flat structure it’s easy for me to make impactful changes. My first role was as Account Director for Bloomberg, being responsible for one of our largest clients in the City, within a BREAM accredited, state-of-the-art working environment, where 175 City West colleagues deliver housekeeping services, office cleaning, window cleaning and waste management around the clock. In October 2021, my promotion to Operations Director was announced, giving me responsibility for service delivery across all of City West’s clients in sectors including professional services, property management, education, estates, and public realm.

What are the most important aspects of what you do?
We are a ‘people business’ and City West is great at developing successful team members. We are continually looking for the best, most engaged and motivated people, who want to add value to the team. We help them enhance their skill set and develop in their careers, to achieve their full potential. It’s essential for me to ensure that we continue to invest, train and develop our frontline teams and reward them appropriately. An important part of my role is to ensure a consistency in service delivery across all our clients. To achieve this, we make sure that the most efficient, effective and sustainable processes are implemented and maintained, which includes introducing technology that delivers value.

What do you enjoy most about working at City West?
I love the variety in my day-to-day role and the autonomy I am given to implement changes to make a difference and improve our service. Customer focus is high on the City West agenda and I enjoy the interaction with our clients and their teams, our front-line colleagues, and our service partners. Much of my career has been spent in large, multinational FM companies and I often felt that roles were prescriptive and didn’t get the same level of personal interaction. Working in a smaller business you receive more personal responsibility; roles are usually multi-facetted and require a wider variety of skills and collaboration.

Which 3 words best describe the company?

What would you say is your greatest professional achievement?
Leading the team through the Covid pandemic was a huge challenge, and reflecting on what we achieved at City West during such an unprecedented period, this stands out as a personal achievement that I am very proud of. We had to re-educate ourselves and we learnt quickly, supporting each other tirelessly through difficult times. The bespoke Health & Safety processes and procedures we developed at Bloomberg have been utilised not only across the City West business but used globally by our client. To be recognised in this way was a great success for me and my team. Unlike some of our competitors, City West managed to navigate through the pandemic without compromising service levels and managed to remain financially strong. I’m proud to have been a part of that journey.

What will the Cleaning and Support Services sector be talking about in 2024?
People are evaluating their home/work-life balance, which is reflected in office occupancy, and we can foresee this hybrid working model continuing. This means from a cleaning perspective, clients in 2024 will be looking for far more flexibility in service delivery, which will require a more ‘fluid’ approach to the frequencies of cleaning and levels of service.
The speed at which technology is moving, may mean robotic support for cleaning has reduced in price and improved in capability.
We will all still be talking about the ongoing need to invest, train and develop our frontline teams and reward them appropriately.

Where will we find you when you are not at work?
If I’m not spending time with my sons, delivering them to or collecting them from some activity! You will find me in the garden, looking after my collection of Acer specimen trees that have taken me years to amass or I will be collecting the freshest eggs from our free-range chickens that we hatched in an incubator last year.

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