My name is Charles Walden and I am a Senior Portfolio Manager at NJC, responsible for a key customer and a portfolio of 26 buildings in London. My priority is delivering the highest standards of cleaning and customer service across all the sites, and ensuring that we are continually looking to bring the best technology, process and latest innovations to our clients.
How long have you been at NJC and how has your career progressed?
I joined NJC in 2013 as a Postroom Manager, responsible for leading a team and managing 5 post rooms. We managed mail and parcels entering and leaving the buildings, ensuring full security and compliance checks, and an audit trail of all items. I also completed a structured training programme, to broaden my technical knowledge, personal skills, and understanding of the NJC business.
In April 2016 I was promoted to Portfolio Manager, responsible for cleaning services at a portfolio of prestigious buildings in the City of London. I was responsible for ensuring high cleaning standards, Health & Safety compliance, budgets and driving innovative approaches to improve our services. Working collaboratively with other service providers ensures that customer service is always at the forefront for our customer and their building tenants.
In July last year, I was promoted to my current role of Senior Portfolio Manager, responsible for all vertical and horizontal cleaning for a multi-building key customer. My top priorities are providing the best cleaning standards and customer service, in a safe working environment, and I ensure that my team have the correct training, equipment and support to deliver this.
What does your current role involve?
There are many aspects to my current role and working with my team to deliver the highest service standards is paramount. Leading, developing and supporting my team takes up a large part of my week and ensuring that we are following best practice and always looking for ways we can improve. I work closely with customers on joint initiatives, such as evolving cleaning strategies and charity events.
I am heavily involved in the development and implementation of innovative NJC technology. This is enabling us to work smarter, as well as ensuring that evidence of cleaning standards is available to our customers.
What are your favourite things about your job?
My favourite part of my role is developing, nurturing and supporting people to be successful and I am very proud of the progress that members of my team have made in their careers. NJC is very much a family and everyone wants to do a good job and contribute to the team. This is evident in the contributions we make to our communities and charities, such as The Passage Charity, where many colleagues volunteer to help.
What is the most challenging aspect of what you do?
People are the favourite part of my role, but can also be the most challenging, as their expectations can lead them to want to run before they can walk. It is my responsibility to ensure that my team have the correct training, mentoring and equipment, and to manage their ambitions when required. The Covid pandemic was particularly challenging at the beginning as I had to rapidly adapt to remote working and ensure continually evolving best practice recommendations were implemented.
What do you anticipate will be the greatest changes to commercial cleaning and support services as a result of the pandemic?
Cleaning is an important factor in peoples’ willingness to return to offices and high standards of both cleaning and customer service are more important than ever. We need to ensure that we have the correct resource in place to meet evolving customer needs and changing levels of occupancy. Our data-driven approach allows us to rapidly change our cleaning solutions and verify their effectiveness.
The pandemic has heightened awareness of mental health issues and wellbeing at work, which I believe brings opportunities for people-centric businesses. At NJC, we have increased our focus on health and wellbeing and we have a group of employees from all levels of the organisation enhancing our strategy and approach. We want to ensure that all our colleagues are supported, whatever challenges they face, and are working on the best ways to achieve this.
How would you sum up NJC in 3 words?
Innovative, Passionate, People-orientated.
Where will we find you when you are not at work?
Mainly participating in family events and watching my sons play football. My personal escape is an hour in the gym!