“Maintaining growth is all about employees,” said Jeff Gravenhorst, CEO of ISS, at PA Consulting Group’s Executive Seminar in Copenhagen on 21 February, 2013.
While the Danish business community has been at a standstill over the past few years, ISS – a leading global provider of facility services – has doubled its turnover to DKK 77.6 billion and hired a quarter of a million employees. How was this possible in a time of crisis?
“Our strategy has been clear throughout the entire financial crisis. ISS has restrained itself from making a lot of drastic changes. We have held on to our strategy and kept focus on the direction of our company and on our management,” said Jeff.
He points to the company’s values-based motivation and focus on employee engagement as key factors in ISS’s sustained growth during the crisis:
“Since the beginning of the financial crisis we have been focusing on organic growth. Vision and values have been imperative for our success, and we have ensured that our employees have been familiar with our targets and values. If the employees of a company are not committed, the company will end up losing clients. Every single employee needs to know the purpose of the tasks they work with, and management needs to be able to understand how the employees operate. It may seem like a cliché, but this strategy has been a success at ISS.”
Global mindset, local presence
During the seminar, Olaf Valentin Kjær PA’s expert in business transformation, commented that ISS is a fine example of a global company with local presence in Denmark.
“ISS is a global company with local presence. It is imperative for such a company to have a global mindset, even though you are still striving to enter the global markets. The international dimension in relation to both management and products can be a decisive factor in the struggle to create growth,” said Olaf.
Olaf referred to a global study carried out by PA Consulting Group, which shows what the most successful companies did during the crisis:
“The most successful companies reacted faster than their competitors, they implemented quick but also cautious and moderate saving plans, they strengthened management and they used the opportunities that emerged from the crisis.”
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