Facilities Management Middle East
What does it take to prepare 3,000+ employees to support the “World’s Greatest Show”? Dr. Greg Ward, managing director, Transguard Group, reveals the company’s journey to 17 pavilion contracts and offers insight into what is next on the horizon
Seeing the global reaction to Expo 2020 Dubai has been exhilarating; it is even more poignant for us at Transguard because we have been an active part of Expo’s infrastructure since 2017 when we were awarded the Consultancy contract for the security design of the Expo site, which was swiftly followed by a contract for physical security (600+ security guards) during construction. These early wins allowed us to gain valuable intelligence about not only the event, but also about the organiser and the site itself, which in turn has enabled us to provide best-in-class services across our entire portfolio for the iconic event.
Fast-forward to 2021 and as of press time, Transguard has contracts with 17 pavilions, is providing security in many high-profile locations across the event and has deployed upwards of 3,000 employees in various designations and capacities. In short, we are playing a strategic role in the success of Expo, and it is thanks to the hard work of our passionate teams that we are meeting and every day we are exceeding expectations for both Expo itself and for its pavilions.
WINNING TRUST = WINNING CONTRACTS
While Transguard’s involvement with Expo began in 2017, our efforts began to gain traction in 2019; winning the New Zealand pavilion was our first major Expo announcement that year. As Covid-19 forced a temporary pause on the event itself, our teams did not stop winning work; on the contrary, they made a concerted effort to continue aligning with our partners at Expo and in the pavilions and offered creative, agile, customisable solutions as required.
With the global pandemic and its associated flight restrictions temporarily halting overseas recruitment, we
WE’VE CREATED A 360-DEGREE TRAINING EXPERIENCE TO ENSURE THAT EVERY SINGLE MEMBER OF OUR TEAM, FROM THE MOST SENIOR MEMBER OF PAVILION MANAGEMENT TO AN ENTRY LEVEL CLEANER, IS EMPOWERED WITH THE SKILLS AND KNOW-HOW TO PROVIDE EVERY VISITOR WITH AN UNFORGETTABLY POSITIVE EXPERIENCE.
redoubled our in-country hiring efforts while simultaneously cross-training upwards of 5,000 current employees so they could be utilised across Transguard (including Expo). In parallel with these efforts was our keenly felt responsibility to ensure that our workforce was vaccinated, not only for their own safety but to help protect the citizens and residents of the UAE. Within three weeks of starting this programme, more than 16,000 Transguard employees had their first dose of Sinopharm and within six months an impressive 94% of our site-based staff (including those working at Expo) had received both jabs. This has since become a requirement for not only Expo but other worksites throughout the country, and we are proud that we led the curve with our proactive efforts.
EMPOWERING TEAMS ACROSS OUR PORTFOLIO
Now that Expo is well underway, you will find Transguard employees in Security, FM, Hospitality, Catering, Guest Experience, Logistics and more, all of whom have been specifically trained not only to support their specific location, but also in advanced customer service training, health and safety skills, first aid and in some cases, pavilion-specific emergency evacuation procedures and fire drills. Our teams also produced and delivered bespoke training courses and other documentation to support these efforts. In other words, Transguard’s support of Expo is about more than dropping staff at an event site and picking them up at the end of the day. We’ve created a 360-degree training experience to ensure that every single member of our team, from the most senior member of pavilion management to an entry level cleaner, is empowered with the skills and know-how to provide every visitor with an unforgettably positive experience.
A WIDE SCOPE FOR INNOVATION
Innovation and efficiency are two of the hallmarks of Transguard, and our approach to Expo 2020 is no different: Whether it was installing facial recognition Time and Attendance systems on client pavilions, issuing specialised smart watches to allow instant data capture and alarm triggering, utilising web-based radio applications that can transform the functionality of a normal smart phone into what is essentially a walkie talkie or relying on other technological advances, Transguard has utilised a number of market-leading solutions to ensure optimal support for Expo. Of course, technology has not been our only avenue for innovation; one major example is our purpose-built accommodation for Expo employees. Our employee training has also been developed in the spirit of innovation, with a core team taking on the objectives of each pavilion and then cascading that knowledge to the on-the-ground teams through specific training we created for each pavilion.
EXPLORING NEXT STEPS
To be sure, there has been a fast learning curve for every company involved with Expo 2020 Dubai. As a global event, it sets a new standard not only for the UAE, but also for the world – all with the added complication of Covid-19! Expo has provided us with a remarkable opportunity to arm our team with not only a new appreciation for other countries and cultures, but also with new skill sets based on even higher expectations of customer service. Expo has also amplified our agility and challenged us to respond and react with greater speed. As a company, this puts us in an enviable position of being able to actively demonstrate that we can deliver large-scale event solutions on a global level. In fact, Expo has served to
further enhance our events capability to the point where we will be adding an additional business to our portfolio (so watch this space!).
Finally, it is important to note that we have always viewed Expo as a remarkable, though finite, opportunity, meaning that our involvement has always had one foot in current deployment and the other in future contracts. We are already setting relationships and contracts in place to ensure that as many of our Expo staff as possible smoothly transition into new employment once Expo concludes.