Although facility management is a relatively new concept in Hong Kong, the industry is burgeoning as companies and government organisations increasingly outsource their facility management sectors.
In spite of the short history, the industry is different from a decade ago, says Landy Hung, director, facility management, ISS Facility Services Ltd (ISS). "In the past, facility services providers supplied building owners with trained caretakers, cleaners and gardeners. These workers were only expected to perform their own particular tasks and were not required to possess many soft skills.
Today, however, building owners expect a more integrated, well-organised and flexible service from us," Mr Hung explains. "With a vision of providing the highest quality facility services, we emphasise integrated facility services (IFS), covering all the peripheral aspects of facility management."
Eye on service
As one of Hong Kong's largest IFS companies and with a workforce exceeding 13,000, ISS facility management portfolio comprises major clients such as Hong Kong Cyberport and Lingnan University. The Hong Kong Science Park has also signed up for ISS' services recently.
The company has its own facility and asset management professionals, cleaning and security divisions, professional and technical services teams, finance and human resources supporting professionals, as well as infrastructure and materials divisions. This comprehensive range of services makes it possible for ISS to provide corporate clients with the highest quality of IFS.
Facility management companies essentially provide corporate clients with a wide spectrum of support services. These include security and property management, crisis management, human resources coordination, and building asset and facility management. The industry is increasingly competitive and some industry players now help clients to streamline their business operations by providing an integrated service, which includes total facility services and quality control in addition to basic facility management services.
Business growth in recent years has brought tremendous opportunities to the sector, but it has also led to a severe shortage of quality staff, Mr Hung points out.
The company plans to hire more than 200 new staff for its Hong Kong Science Park project. This is a challenge, however, as the completion of a number of other mega-buildings around the city, such as MegaBox and the gigantic International Commerce Centre, has escalated the demand for skilled people in the field. Mr Hung says, "All these properties and projects require large numbers of quality staff. We therefore expect salaries to escalate along with demand."
In a bid to retain and attract quality employees, ISS has developed a highly efficient working environment and culture, Mr Hung adds.
The company is looking to employ high-calibre candidates with knowledge in this specific field. Prospective recruits should be able to work independently with minimum supervision and follow up assignments carefully and independently in a timely and cost-effective manner. In addition, they should possess analytical skills, Mr Hung says.
He stresses the company's belief that outstanding service starts with attracting quality people and investing in them. "Work experience is not the most important factor that we look at when recruiting. Personality is of even greater significance. When we conduct recruitment interviews, we assess candidates in order to make sure that they are responsible individuals who are also willing and able to to take ownership of their jobs. We want them to go that extra mile to do their jobs to the very best of their ability," Mr Hung explains.
ISS is actively exploring potential merger-and-acquisition possibilities in order to maintain its leading industry position and enhance its competitiveness in the market. Mr Hung believes there is still great potential for further development of Hong Kong's facility management industry, as outsourcing benefits both service providers and clients.
"Clients can boost their operational efficiency by employing a well established facility management service provider," Mr Hung notes. "This in turn offers opportunities for our staff to develop industry expertise and facilitate career developments."