Since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020, businesses worldwide have faced challenges and setbacks that have caused them to change their plans for the future. It’s easy to fixate on the economic impacts, but this means we can tend to overlook the emotional and human factors. Luckily, in the majority of cases, hybrid and remote working have been able to facilitate adaptability – so well in fact that a recent study by YouGov has found that 57% of British workers want to still be able to work from home, and one in five are considering moving far away from their workplace. But during the height of the pandemic, even with the new technology and styles of working, we still lost a lot of that human connection that many get from work and workplace events.
ServiceMaster Brands UK was no exception to this loss. In 2019, they held their last annual Summer Summit, unaware of the pandemic to come. But, after being postponed for two long years – the event was back this May, with renewed vigour and a whole new name: ‘ServiceMaster Live!’ was held at the Hilton East Midlands Airport from the 17th-18th of May. It saw franchisees from across ServiceMaster’s expansive franchise network gathered together to network and socialise, learn from each other, and celebrate their successes over the past few years.
The two-day event began with a social night on the 16th, where franchisees from ServiceMaster Clean: Contract Services, Residential and Commercial, ServiceMaster Restore, Merry Maids, TruGreen, and Rosemary Bookkeeping networks got together for a night of circus-themed fun. This included real circus acts from a juggler and even an appearance from a strongman! Franchisees also took part in wearing ‘denim for dementia’ and animal print in support of the charities Dementia Friends and Guide Dogs. Along with a raffle draw in the evening raising £550. The evening event was also scored by a fantastic performance from the live band, Mix’d Tape, who played an eclectic and groovy range of tunes from the 70s to today, before mixing it up with some with audience participation, pop, rock, reggae, funk, soul, ballads, and classic floor-fillers.
The next day, the event proper commenced with a rallying speech from ServiceMaster’s Managing Director Alan Lewin, where he outlined his new strategies for franchisee’s continued success. The theme of the event was ‘Play to Win’, which was focused on engaging franchisees on how to create maximum impact in their business. This included not one, but two, presentations from guest speaker Nigel Risner. An acclaimed motivational speaker whose methods have been employed by some of the nation’s top brands like ASDA, Marks and Spencer, BT, and Barclays to help motivate their staff to create a high impact in the work they do. Nigel’s two entertaining and informative talks got ServiceMaster’s franchisees to answer a few fundamental questions about themselves. One of these questions struck a distinct balance of being both unusual and insightful: “Which animal are you?”
Nigel’s ‘It’s a Zoo’ model posits that the workplace is just like a zoo, made up of four types of people, or four animals: the dynamic and highly motivated monkeys, the assertive and single-minded lions, the sociable and empathic dolphins, and the analytical and figure-driven elephants. To have maximum impact within your business, Nigel advocates transcending each of these categories and becoming an effective zookeeper by learning how to work with each type of person within your organisation to fully optimise your team’s performance. ServiceMaster franchisees were able to leave Nigel’s talks empowered in the knowledge of how to manage themselves and how they work with others for maximum impact.
Along with this knowledge, franchisees also took part in two panel sessions of their choosing from the ServiceMaster Brands Franchise Support Centre staff whose informative talks & workshops helped franchisees to develop their knowledge and awareness across a range of areas to support their business development. These ranged from creating maximum impact via video content to dealing with customer satisfaction, staff recruitment, the importance of mental health in the workplace, customer acquisition and more. Franchisees were then able to network with each other over a buffet lunch and during brand-specific meeting sessions for each member of the ServiceMaster brand family that allowed members of the network to get together and see each other for the first time in two years in person and not over a zoom call!
The day was capped off with an awards ceremony that saw franchisees and their teams recognised for their hard work in overall sales, marketing efforts, resilience in the face of hardships, charity and community work and more. Being in business has been hard over the past few years, but ServiceMaster and its networks have remained strong in the face of adversity and are now finally able to celebrate each other’s hard work in person. As part of a franchise, you can be in business for yourself but definitely not by yourself. ServiceMaster Live was a brilliant reminder of this, as evidenced by the overwhelmingly positive response from the franchisees in attendance. In fact, 100% of attendees interviewed said they were already thinking of attending next year! Many had nothing but glowing praise for ServiceMaster Live!
“My first ServiceMaster conference and a great experience.”
– Grant Dye from Rosemary Bookkeeping North Kent & Isle of Sheppey
“Looking forward to next year.”
– Jess Burrows from ServiceMaster Clean Bournemouth
“It was a fantastic day, and very well organised. The venue was beautiful and I am looking forward to next year’s event”
ServiceMaster Live! has clearly re-energised many of the franchisees and their teams in ServiceMaster Brands to make an impact in 2022.