How ISS helped a client adapt to the changing global workplace

How is ISS helping clients to stay “in front of the curve” as workspaces change worldwide? Global Account Director Mike Feeman shares how one successful contract transformation project helped to prioritise Workplace Experience with a global technology company.

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When a partnership has been in place for more than 15 years, change can be surprising—but also liberating. So, when a client requested a new type of contract, the ISS account team tackled the challenge with relish. 

The result? A five-year contract extension designed around a future-proof and complex new commercial model.

“Currently, the client has around 170 locations in 51 countries across the globe, equalling some eight million square feet of property,” explains Global Account Director Mike Feeman, who is based in New York, US. “Within that, we perform a broad spectrum of facilities management services—from cleaning, engineering and food services to workplace experience and security infrastructure.”

With such a large and complex account, the work needed to transform the basis of the contract was substantial. It began with a focus on the customer’s key objectives: redesigning the service agreement to address the current and future state of the client and enabling efficiencies and cost savings. “The client's primary motivation was to achieve a strong level of transparency in the cost of operating its properties and occupying and maintaining its estate,” explains Mike.

It was crucial that ISS worked closely with the client, overhauling its approach and processes to match the new commercial model. “That required a lot of IT work to create new types of reporting and new dashboards, as well as briefing our finance team in great detail,” Mike says. “Now, the new system relies on processing a large amount of data very quickly—and getting that over to the client within strict timelines.” 


As global workplace teams evolve, at ISS, we have to become the guardians of connection, collaboration and culture for our organisations

Mike Feeman, Global Account Director, ISS

Adapting to a worldwide shift
Another key development within the contract was an increased emphasis on Workplace Experience—a timely response to global post-pandemic changes. “Effectively, we had two transformations happening at once,” says Mike. “One is this huge contractual change. But at the same time, we are all operating in a world where the workplace is being radically transformed.” 

To tackle this challenge, Mike sat down with senior leaders at the client to discuss how the workplace would stay relevant to their organisation. 

“As global workplace teams evolve, we at ISS, have to become the guardians of connection, collaboration and culture for our organisations,” he says. “We have to consider how we evolve if office spaces are not going away but being repurposed. How do we make sure we are in front of that curve? And how do we figure out the next wave of value for clients?”

If ISS does that, the value workplaces provide will be very different, says Mike: “We will no longer only be managing the physical assets, but developing tools to establish, nurture and grow a connection and collaboration culture. That has been a big part of our dialogue with the client.”

Transforming the workplace experience

Mike considers ISS’s insight into the global industry a key strength in its partnership with the client. “The account really turned a corner when the client started making new, experience-based spaces. In fact, its new headquarters is now a flagship service location for ISS in the US—so it has been a huge change.”

He also believes that ISS’s Workplace Experience programme, a service for clients that provides strategic advice and an integrated management model , has contributed to the transformation’s success. “Our insights into how the client can become more of a hospitality- and experience-based workplace have been very beneficial. That has become a key differentiator for the client, and it is one of the things that has made their colleagues look like heroes within the organisation.”

Thanks to the efforts and enthusiasm of the client’s account team and workstream leads from both ISS and the client, the results are already impressive. Workplace Experience, as a service concept, is now in place at 20 key sites, while 20 new Workplace Experience managers have been hired. Nearly 1,900 ISS employees have completed placemaker training—and the new financial model has been implemented wherever the client operates.

“I cannot overstate how important collaboration has been to the success of this relationship. It is probably the most highly collaborative client relationship I have experienced,” says Mike.

“To mobilise this level of commercial redesign, service uplift and expansion of scope was a truly challenging task. The management teams and the placemakers who accomplished this are all to be commended.”