Patrick Hunter 

Patrick Hunter was no stranger to Ireland when he moved to Drogheda. It was his love for the sport of Basketball that bought him to these shores. Previously, while in England, he played Point Guard for the Watford Royals and Hemel O’s basketball teams.  He had regularly been visiting the country for years as a coach and referee. It was through a friend that he met his wife, prompting him to make the move permanently in 2016. 

Patrick Hunter ISS Dublin_850x720
Until then, Patrick had worked for a local authority in London for 14 years. “I thought getting a job in a similar area would be quite straightforward,” he remembers. “In the end, it took a few months to find my feet.” 

Having left behind his role in recycling operations management, when Patrick saw a job advertised to manage cleaning operations for the national rail operator, he could immediately see he had transferrable skills.   

I did an interview, and I was excited,” he says. “It was all the sort of work I know I can do well – working with large groups of people, empowering them, and delivering results.” 

That was over five years ago now, and Patrick hasn’t looked back. With oversight of eleven sites and a team of 10 supervisors nationally, he has set to work unifying a team that often feels separate from the waking world.  

A few years ago, there was an employee survey,” Patrick says, “and we couldn’t get our night cleaners interested in filling it in. They felt like nobody appreciated the work they did… that nobody saw them.”

Through greater engagement with his team of supervisors, and regular visits to the sites themselves when colleagues are at work, Patrick has started to change that.

Working on the night shift, there’s a real sense that you’re not seen. That the job isn’t valued. And that’s part of my job—reminding my team that they do make a difference, and the work they do is important.

Patrick Hunter, Night Cleaning Operations Manager, Irish Rail
Part of delivering the change has been being clear with his top team about where accountability lies and encouraging them to take ownership of local issues where they can. And part has been encouraging greater engagement with employee support – like People & Culture and Health & Safety – that are there to ensure frontline colleagues are heard.  

Moreover, Patrick has proof that his actions were making a difference. “We had a client audit, and I could tell from the feedback that things were going in the right direction,” Patrick explains. “They said colleagues were happier and more relaxed. And if that’s the case, and our quality keeps improving, then I’m happy!” 

Further motivation from Patrick and the team comes from the bigger sense of purpose that goes hand in hand with working with a nationally recognised company.  

Patrick explains, “sometimes my team say to me they’re “just” the cleaners. They forget that during the pandemic, they were the ones making sure that everything was clean and disinfected for rail customers. They gave them peace of mind during a difficult time. I remind them of that. And I remind them, if they didn’t turn up for work, my inbox would be full the next morning. That’s proof, I tell them, that the work they do is noticed, and it matters.”  

Looking ahead, Patrick is excited for the future and hopes to still be working with Irish Rail as the trains are electrified, carriages get bigger, and the team looks to resolve the associated issues of more customers and more waste.