Paul AinsworthPaul AinsworthNovember 6, 2019
image2-1280x1594.jpg

12min802

It’s not your average job interview, but a description from Luke Murfitt, founder of Integrity Cleaning, of how one woman kick-started her career after a chance encounter shines a light on the ethos of his business.

Picture the scene: a dark, damp evening at a London train station, and after disembarking, a mother struggles with her children and bags as she attempts to scale steps up to the pavement and begin the long walk home.

“No-one else was offering, so I asked if I could help get her up the steps,” says Luke as he explains exactly why ‘supporting mothers back to work’ is more than just a media-friendly slogan for his firm

“We got to the top and I asked if I could help her further. She said she lived about a 20-minute walk away, so I offered her a lift in my car. During the drive I was able to ask her where she worked. She said she didn’t work, and that people didn’t want to employ her.

“I asked her what she would want to do, and she said she would like to be either a carer or a cleaner. I said ‘happy days, I have a cleaning company – would you like to start this week?”

Working with Integrity: Luke Murfitt, founder of Integrity Cleaning Ltd

It sounds like the happy ending to a feel-good film, but this was reality for the mum in this story. She was able to work as a cleaner, fitting her duties comfortably around school hours, and as a result was able to move into a larger home than the one-bedroom flat she had before. Thanks to her income from Integrity, was able to start planning for her future.

“She’s now a full-time carer, in the career she wanted,” Luke says.

“She calls me her angel, but she was pretty good to me too, working hard and driving Integrity forward.”

Integrity Cleaning has been shortlisted in the Best New Business category of this week’s 2019 UK Business Awards, and this achievement is part of the ongoing success story for a firm that was born out of personal adversity.

Luke is a former high-flying salesman at a blue-chip company, who in 2015 was handed a life-changing diagnosis of Parkinson’s disease.

But rather than allow this to limit his scope for life, Luke decided to challenge himself and use the diagnosis to spur a career change that has led to a current total of 85 cleaners signed on for employment through his company, ranging in age from 19 to the mid-60s.

“After the diagnosis, which was obviously a bit of a challenge, I realised I didn’t want to wallow in self-pity, and so I used it as a catalyst to springboard me on to do greater things, and here we are,” he says.

That route first took him to his local job centre where he was told to seek benefits following his diagnosis, but his hunger for something more led him instead to seek advice on starting his own business.

“I felt I had a lot more to give. I told the staff at the centre ‘there are people over there who are looking for jobs, and I’d like to employ them’. I wanted to set an example of what can be achieved, and they said ‘fine, go for it’. So they sent me upstairs to the next level and a department that assists in setting up businesses.”

From the window of that same building, Luke gazed out at London’s ever-sprouting skyline, with gleaming new buildings taking shape.

What was simultaneously taking shape was his own business future, thanks to Luke “turning adversary into opportunity”.

He continues: “I looked into the cleaning industry, and spent six months planning. I was careful though, as I had seen people who set up cleaning companies and ended up cleaning themselves out!”

However determination, and the hard work and support of wife Diana, pushed Luke towards realising the recession-proof nature of his chosen sector, and what it could do for them as a family, along with the wider community.

“Cleaning has grown and grown and is a massive employer. I saw it as a chance to impact many more lives and provide better opportunities, rather than with, say, an office of five people.

“With around 33,000 cleaning companies in the UK, with 700,000 cleaners, there’s plenty of scope. I knew I needed only a small portion of that to be successful, and not to fear the competition, but actually be better than them.

“And also be something that they are not, because what I realised was – not many people actually choose to be a cleaner. Instead they often ‘resort’ to being a cleaner.

“I thought to myself, these are the people I want to help. They’ve found themselves in a situation they didn’t choose to be in, but I could at least assist them and make the area of work they’re in as pleasant as possible – give them opportunities and ensure they feel respected and are able to grow, move on, and not just remain cleaners forevermore.”

Mum’s the word: Integrity cleaning offers mothers a chance to get back to work in a supportive environment

Integrity continued to take shape, and the ethos of assisting mums at a crucial time of their lives grew from Luke meeting fellow parents at the school gates while waiting to collect his daughter.

“There comes a point when a lot of mothers want new working opportunities, but there are often few firms offering that. This was part of my plan – to offer such opportunities, and make a success of it.”

The company got off the ground when Luke secured a significant contract with a hotel in London’s Bromley borough, having first garnered a workforce ready and willing to put the hours in.

Low start-up costs and lots of hard graft helped Integrity gain momentum, and as the journey continued, so too did the cleaning contracts with churches, community groups, and other eager clients.

However, it was a return to the skyscrapers of central London that saw Luke land the firm’s most significant contract.

“I was at a training event and I looked out the window at these apartment buildings which were going up, 41 storeys high, and I thought ‘they need cleaning’. I had no experience of construction cleaning at all, but I walked over to the site, which had around 600 people all milling about.

“I was wearing a suit while they were in their construction safety gear, so I got some looks. I found a door saying ‘staff only’, walked in, and eventually located the project manager. I said to him, ‘Hi, I’m Luke from Integrity Cleaning, you’ve got some great buildings here, and we’d like to be the company that cleans them’.

“He told me my timing was interesting as they were just three days away from tendering for a cleaning company, so he took me to the senior management in order to apply.”

Several months later, having seen off competition from some of the biggest companies in the market, Integrity was offered the contract.

“They could see I wanted to do a good job, and we ended up replacing a company they had used for the last 25 years.”

Luke’s bold approach to securing employment for his team provided many months of solid work, cleaning 1,000 or so million-pound apartments, over four thorough stages each, to make them ready for residents.

And so Integrity rose to its current position as one of the UK’s most caring and community oriented commercial and construction cleaning firms.

“My primary goal isn’t about making money, it’s about helping other people,” Luke states.

“This year alone I’ve helped 25 mums back into work. Of course, helping mothers doesn’t just help them, it helps their children, families, husbands, and whoever else. It impacts lives.

“We help with their training, and we look towards assisting with transport costs, and being flexible with working hours. We’re also there to provide references for when they’re ready to move on. We work as a team, and they love it. To me, each of them isn’t merely a cleaner – they are a person; something they never normally hear in this industry.”

From year one to year two, Integrity has grown by 650 percent, and his nomination for a UK Business Award tops a hugely successful year that has also seen him share his story with thousands of listeners on radio station LBC.

“I have appeared twice on LBC’s The Business Hour, and plan to return to answer questions from listeners in the near future and share my advice.”

On the subject of advice, Luke leaves us with one final inspiring message.

“Never let a challenge – in my case my diagnosis – stop you from doing what you want to do. Never limit yourself.”

 

.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


Paul AinsworthPaul AinsworthJuly 19, 2019
032-compressed-1280x854.jpg

3min900

The finalist line-up for the 2019 UK Business Awards has been unveiled, with a host of firms preparing to compete in  London for a title this November.

Hosted by Awards International, which brings events including the UK Customer Experience Awards to the capital each year, the UK Business Awards is a celebration of excellence and innovation in British business, with 18 categories that will see firms present before an expert judging panel in a bid to win.

Among those shortlisted as finalists are Manchester United FC, EDAM Group, HSBC UK, Virgin Trains, and many more. For a full list of shortlisted finalists, click here.

Categories for 2019 include Disruptive Business Model, Team of the Year, Entrepreneur of the Year, and the Well Being at Work Award.

Known as ‘The Dons’ in honour of Awards International Chairman Don Hales, the even is celebrating its fourth anniversary in 2019, and the ceremony on November 8 at the Park Plaza Riverbank is set to be the biggest to date.

All the biz: The UK Business Awards is celebrating its fourth year

Those keen to attend can take advantage of an Early Bird Discount offer until September 27

Awards International CEO Neil Skehel said: “We are all about celebrating and rewarding business excellence, and the UK Business Awards have become one of the country’s premier platforms to do just that.

“This will be the fourth year of The Dons, and will be the most significant to date, with a wide range of categories across B2B and B2C disciplines. As ever, the event itself will be a fantastic opportunity to network with business peers and share best practise, as well as celebrate our category champions, and I cannot wait to welcome our finalists and guests to London. A huge congratulations to all those shortlisted.”

 

 


David BovisDavid BovisJuly 18, 2019
car-repair-362150_1280-1280x853.jpg

12min895

The author of this article, David Bovis, is a judge at the 2019 UK Business Awards.

 

 

 

 

“We cannot reasonably expect that any one should readily and obsequiously quit his own opinion, and embrace ours with a blind resignation to an authority which the understanding of man acknowledges not. For, however it may often mistake, it can own no other guide but reason, not blindly submit to the will and dictates of another. If he you would bring over to your sentiments be one that examines before he assents, you must give him leave at his leisure to go over the account again, and, recalling what is out of his mind, examine the particulars, to see on which side the advantage lies; and if he will not think over arguments of weight enough to engage him anew in so much pains, it is but what we do often ourselves in the like case; and we should take it amiss if others should prescribe to us what points we should study: and if he be one who wishes to take opinions upon trust, how can we imagine that he should renounce those tenets that time and custom have settled in his mind that he thinks them self-evident, and of an unquestionable certainty…” 

John Locke (1632 – 1704)

“You cannot impose anything on anyone and expect them to be committed to it.”

Edgar Schein, Professor Emeritus, MIT Sloan School

“Those who have a ‘why’ to live can bear with almost any ‘how'” 

Viktor Frankl (1902-1997)

Isn’t it time to take this wisdom, apparent across centuries, and introduce leaders to the biology and psychology that can now deliver the facts to support such observations?

The paradox is this: the neuroscience and psychology at play, which interprets the presence of anything ‘new’ (e.g. language) as a threat (to status, ego, ID), cannot be understood and addressed by those unaware of the principles they themselves are subject to, via their own brains.

In other words, if you don’t understand the transition a human brain goes through in a change environment, you can’t hope to adequately plan, manage, or lead change effectively (i.e. address the barriers to change), in yourself or others.

The bottom line is that this significantly impacts the bottom line.

Change initiatives go over budget, over time, deliver less than expected, and fail to develop internal teams. Knowledge transfer is superficial, based in logic and tools. This doesn’t provide the catalyst for a shift in a leaders beliefs. We look at only a part of a system (process/technology) and fail to re-define ‘good’ when considering a broader system (people/process/technology).

In practice, we see leaders express an interest in knowing more about effective and efficient organisational change, but the pre-conditioned expectation within the market, is that ‘change’ is something done by consultants and teaching tools.

When it’s suggested there might be more to it, which requires a higher level of engagement and understanding, the coping strategy in an already busy, intellectually challenging, politically charged, full-time role – that also challenges the work-life balance of the leader – is denial/avoidance.

The problem with this is that a leader’s brain (despite multiple claims to the contrary) is still an adult-mammalian brain and it doesn’t adapt (form new wiring patterns…i.e. learn) by letting other brains have an experience. It ‘learns/adapts’ in response to it’s own sensory stimulus.

I truly believe it’s time we raise the bar and introduce language into the mainstream which allows us to have informed conversations about ‘change’, where people are recognised as the primary and major part of the ‘complex system of complex systems’.

We can put this subject under any banner – OCM, HR, Leadership, Systems Thinking, or Lean – but the label is less important than the change of action urgently required – globally!

So, how do we break through the psychological barriers that stop leaders assimilating knowledge from current experience to use as justification against the need to know more?

It’s a bit like diagnosing a fault in a car. When the basic mechanics and relationships between the various parts is understood, the driver’s approach toward the driving and maintenance of the vehicle is more likely to change than it is in the case of a driver who cannot comprehend cause and effect throughout the system (including their own attitude and behaviour).

The driver might notice certain quirks of the car – i.e. it won’t start when cold – but if they knew about the viscosity of oil and the drop in capacitance in a battery in lower temperatures, they wouldn’t have to talk in loose terms about the issues, and they could be much more effective in addressing problems.

It’s like that with people – if we can talk about dopamine and the triggers related to its presence (tangible, evidence-based science), we don’t have to talk about ‘motivation’ and ‘engagement’ as if those words in and of themselves are enough to inform corrective action.

So, let’s unpack the car analogy a little.

If a person drives fast and erratically, it might be for any number of reasons. They might be a young man aiming to impress and attract a mate (peacocking), or, the driver might be insecure in themselves and therefore lacking confidence behind the wheel, leading to an inner narrative that reinforces their inadequacy, which manifests in them trying to get the journey – any journey – over as quickly as possible.

Driving whilst fearful/panicking, in response to a low self-concept, can lead to different parts of the brain engaging and reducing the energy available for the parts required to drive well, and diverting glucose energy away from the pre-frontal cortex and executive function, leading to a lower level of awareness and a failure to indicate at roundabouts or perform the mirror-signal manoeuvre.

This is because mirrors and other drivers don’t feature in the mind of someone acting from a position of insecurity/fear.

Now, if that person is one of your drivers (i.e. is in charge of company equipment that has to perform a task as part of a process, like a lathe operator in a factory or computer operator in an office) and your focus is on fuel efficiency, tyre-wear rates, and the amount of brake pads you get through each year (i.e. KPIs), do you address the design of the metaphorical wheels, tyres, engine or fuel?

Do you look at the route the vehicle has to follow? Do you provide the driver a new set of tools to analyse the route or change the tyres and brake pads faster?

Or do you understand the emotional predisposition of the human behind the wheel and what is causing them to respond/act the way they do, and if they will be able to adapt to the presence of the new tools or integrate the principles of those tools into their world view, such that they are able to apply them for a sufficient amount of time to allow their use to become natural?

The popular approach in the market for the last few decades has been focused on the application of Tools and Techniques, keeping Process and Procedure in focus, often in stark contrast to the realities and requirements surrounding the transition people are required to make in an environment in which they perceive change that is imposed upon them.

The populist logical approach just doesn’t address the need to shift an individual’s belief before you can expect a shift in action (behaviour), or the fact the imposition of anything ‘new’ is a primary fear trigger, often resulting in the dreaded ‘resistance to change’ at a cultural level (group think/herd behaviour).

Isn’t it time we stopped driving our companies and people as if they are cars and openly acknowledged the biggest change follows a change in the person behind the wheel?

With significant advances in neuroscience and psychology, it’s now possible to explain every aspect of Locke’s, Shein’s, and Frankel’s observations with science – to move the conversation away from generalisations that only a few come to understand, into hard and fast action for reasons that not only make sense, but translate into top line and bottom line benefit.

Let’s raise the bar and replace the assumption that we can understand things, but everyone else needs it dumbed down; we don’t need issues surrounding ‘transition’ dumbed down…we just need to include them in the conversation.

For too long we’ve been dealing with Process, Procedure, Policy, Strategy (Hoshin), Structure, and Systems as if they are detached from the people expected to adjust to their presence.

It’s always been about people and that means the starting point has to be Brain, Mind, Change, and Culture before we can do a better job of introducing strategic deployment models and tools and techniques.

Lets stop defending the past and move into the future with the language the present provides us.


Paul AinsworthPaul AinsworthMay 29, 2019
Margaret-McLay-1280x1707.jpg

4min719

Multi-award-winning water supplier Business Stream has appointed a new Director of Business Transformation to help the company deliver its ambitious growth strategy.

The Edinburgh-based firm has enjoyed recent awards success, including at the 2019 UK Complaint Handling Awards, where it won Gold in the Innovation in Complaint Handling category, along with two runner-up gongs; the 2018 UK Business Awards, where it secured two Gold category titles; and at the inaugural International Customer Experience Awards in Amsterdam last autumn, when it was victorious in the Best Digital Transformation Strategy shortlist.

The Business Stream team pictured at the 2018 International Customer Experience Awards in Amsterdam, with CX consultant Ian Golding (left), and Awards International CEO Neil Skehel (right).

Now Margaret McLay is on board as Director of Business Transformation, and with a proven track record in change and IT, will be responsible for leading the effective delivery and coordination of the company’s transformation programme. She will report directly to Business Stream’s Chief Executive, Jo Dow.

Speaking of her new appointment, Margaret said: “I am really excited to be joining Business Stream at a time of significant growth.  In my new role as Director of Business Transformation I am looking forward to working in partnership with the executive team to enable the business to maintain excellent customer service levels and to achieve its strategic goals.”

New Business Stream Director of Business Transformation, Margaret McLay.

 Jo Dow, added: “I am delighted that Margaret will be joining the company. It’s an exciting time for the business as we look to expand our market share and deliver a market leading level of service to our customers in Scotland and England. This latest appointment will strengthen our leadership team and help us drive forward our ambitious plans for the future.”

Earlier this year Business Stream bought the customer base of its competitors Yorkshire Water Business Services (YWBS) and Three-Sixty, both part of the Kelda Group, doubling its market share and cementing its position as one of the top three retailers in the UK water market.

Business Stream expanded its operation in April 2017 by acquiring the non-household customer base of Southern Water when it began competing in the new £2.5bn English water market. The new market has enabled 1.2 million businesses and public bodies in England to choose their water supplier for the first time.

Scotland’s non-domestic market, which covers all premises across private and public sector organisations, opened to competition in April 2008. Since then, Business Stream customers have saved more than £242 million on their water bills and conserved over 43 billion litres of water.


Paul AinsworthPaul AinsworthMay 10, 2019
032-compressed-1280x854.jpg

3min562

The deadline to take advantage of the special Early Bird discount offer to enter the 2019 UK Business Awards is fast approaching.

Potential entrants in this year’s event have until May 17 to save £100 off the standard entry price, ahead of what is shaping up to be the biggest year yet for the awards known across the UK business landscape as ‘The Dons’, in honour of Don Hales, chairman of event hosts Awards International.

The overall entry deadline is July 5, with finalists set to be announced on July 12. Those shortlisted will then attend the Finals on November 8 at London’s Park Plaza Riverbank, where they will give presentations before an expert judging panel with the aim of securing a win at the day’s gala ceremony.

This year’s UK Business Awards full judging line-up is still taking shape, and among those scrutinising entries will be Resolve owner/Manager Mark Ashton; Managing Director of onefourzero, Fleur Hicks; and consultant, coach and author Janine Woodcock.

Finalists will compete across 17 categories, including Entrepreneur of the Year, Best SME, Innovation of the Year, and Best New Business. The finalist with the highest judges’ score will also be crowned Overall Winner.

Speaking ahead of the Early Bird deadline, Awards International CEO Neil Skehel said: “We are all about celebrating and rewarding business excellence, and the UK Business Awards have become one of the country’s premier platforms to do just that.

“This will be the fourth year of The Dons, and will be the most significant to date, with a wide range of categories across B2B and B2C disciplines. As ever, the event itself will be a fantastic opportunity to network with business peers and share best practise, as well as celebrate our category champions, and I cannot wait to welcome our finalists and guests to London.”

For further details on entering the 2019 UK Business Awards, click here.

 




Inform. Inspire. Include.
A free way to improve your business.

Customer Experience Magazine is the online magazine packed full of industry news, blogs, features, reports, case studies, video bites and international stories all focusing on customer experience.


CONTACT US

CALL US ANYTIME



Contact Information

For article submissions:
Editor
Paul Ainsworth
editorial@cxm.co.uk

For general inquiries, advertising and partnership information:
advertising@cxm.co.uk
Tel: 0207 1932 428

For Masterclass enquiries:
antonija@cxm.co.uk
Tel: 0207 1937 483

Awards International ltd
Acacia Farm, Lower Road,
Royston, Herts, SG8 0EE
Company number: 6707388

JOBS IN CUSTOMER SUPPORT

Find a job in customer support with Jobsora


Newsletter