Total Community Solutions: Tarek Nizameddin, Senior Executive Director at Ejadah
Tarek Nizameddin, Senior Executive Director at Ejadah, outlines how the organisation came out stronger from the pandemic and underscores the unique value the company provides to their customers.
By Kasun Illankoon
Ejadah, established in 2005, is the UAE’s pioneering real estate Asset Management Company formed during the early days of Dubai’s real estate industrial boom. Its vision is in line with UAE’s growth and future plans. Ejadah recognised that the UAE market would have a high demand for international standards of real estate assets and property management. As Dubai and the UAE evolved into a global hub, community services became of increased importance, for both private and commercial interests.
Ejadah is a fully home-grown organisation that has extensively studied the real estate market and addressed its clients’ needs, leveraging on this knowledge and experience to evolve to what it is today. From an integrated facilities management provider in 2005, Ejadah quickly evolved into a full-service property management company and later on a Total Community Management provider in 2011.
Leading Ejadah’s growth is Tarek Nizameddin who drives the business development of Ejadah’s SBU. He also oversees the facilities management operations and manages Ejadah’s Abu Dhabi portfolio, in addition to leading unit services, soft services, and marketing departments.
Tarek told CBNME: “Since joining the company in 2018, I directly supported the growth of the company’s business and drove the operational enhancements in all areas of the business. This is reflected in acquiring new contracts, developing relationships with existing clients, introducing new services, implementing innovation and technologies, and developing human capital.”
Tarek has over 27 years of experience out of which 20 years are in facilities and property management, as he started his career in the field in 2002. Since then, Tarek has been committed to the improvement and advancement of the facilities management sector in the MENA region.
Tarek is an active member in multiple industry bodies, and has participated as keynote speaker in many local and regional industry events and wrote several articles in the industry press and bulletins about facilities management standards, role of emerging technologies and challenges facing the industry.
Goals and Objectives for 2021
2020 was an unprecedented year due to the pandemic and this forced a lot of organisations to rethink and reconsider their strategies heading into 2021. Although the facilities management industry was able to be one of the few industries to escape the wrath of the pandemic, they still had unique challenges presented to them.
Despite the huge impact on the FM sector, considering that it is a resource-intensive business, Ejadah has succeeded in managing the impact of the pandemic by refocusing on sustaining service standards through proper staffing levels and ensuring that environmental and regulatory compliance and best industry practices are met. This is also demonstrated through sustaining the current business, securing, and mobilising large numbers of contracts, which helped in achieving significant growth in all aspects.
Ejadah will continue in the growth planning and exploring new horizons whether through introducing new services to support our clients’ requirements or expanding to new markets in the region. Our focus will remain on these three areas:
1- Our People
2- Technology and innovation
3- Integrity, transparency and stakeholder management
Such a focus, if implemented judiciously, can sustain Ejadah’s endeavours to scale new heights.
According to Modor Intelligence, the UAE Facility Management market is expected to register a CAGR of 8.72% over the forecast period from 2021 to 2026. The surging emphasis on green building practices as well as the growing interest of real estate developers in delegating the end-to-end management of operational and maintenance activities to qualified external parties are increasing the demand for facility management in the UAE which we will be leveraging on as of year 2021
Recent Project Wins & the importance of customer service
Tarek underlined, “We have a healthy pipeline of projects and we were successful in 2020 and 2021 by winning new contracts. We were recently awarded the security contract for Expo 2020 Dubai which is a good opportunity for us to demonstrate our service excellence as part of this global event. Our security management team Arkan will provide 600 plus man guards and other security related services. With regard to facilities management, we’ve secured several key projects for the likes of Mayan community, Water’s Edge, Saadiyat Beach Villas and Residences in Abu Dhabi with Aldar Properties.”
It’s worth mentioning that Ejadah has won in Q4 of 2020 the delivery and management of soft and hard services for Hudayriyat Island, the most recent leisure, recreational and sports destination in Abu Dhabi city.
Unique value renderer to buyers and the role of the customer service in keeping clients satisfied
We strongly believe that instead of focusing on the bottom-line figures, we should invest in the people responsible to deliver the figures. At the end, happy employees will definitely lead to happy customers. In 2020, the total hours of training exceeded 63,000 whether one-on-one or full-fledged sessions. Receiving continuous training also means they are always on the cutting edge of industry developments.
Ejadah recently announced the selection of its Customer Experience Department for the finals in the Customer Centricity World Series 2021 awards for 6 different categories.
Ejadah was chosen from 300 worldwide entries for the categories of Complaint Handling, Customer Insight & Feedback VOC, Customer Centricity in B2B, Customer Experience Team and Contact Centre.
In 2020, Ejadah’s CX team has achieved an SLA of 94%, with customer retention scaling to 96%. Throughout the year, Ejadah has won various accolades, one of the most coveted being the “Contact Centre of the Year 2020” at the Gulf Customer Experience Awards. These winnings reflect Ejadah’s commitment to delivering a highly specialized and high tenured multilingual Customer experience team that offers 24/7 support to customers in all communities it serves. This is supported with the mind-set of serving efficiently, at high speed, and reduced costs, while operating as a one-stop route for all emergencies, ensuring exceeding customer expectations.
Ejadah has geared itself with a passion to be the best in class, taking up initiatives to further strengthen the fundamentals of customer centricity. Such initiatives focused on core areas that lead to a comprehensive customer experience.
The initiatives included feedback VOC & Customer insight collected through regular client meetings and customer-centricity workshops, which was eventually translated by Ejadah’s internal CX team to on-site enhancements. Initiatives also encompassed Customer Centricity CC workshops which nominate CC champions in all sites who implement a CC train the trainer approach to continuously listen to customers and act on the feedback. This initiative has proven to be popular among the clients and is evaluated using metrics like the Net Promoter Score NPS and Customer Satisfaction Score CSAT. Another initiative involved CX team’s successful boosting of CX across the organisation through regular workshops and training sessions that emphasised to all departments the importance of NPS and CSAT metrics.
Ejadah’s team has successfully optimized outbound call campaigns whereby automated Client satisfaction surveys were conducted and eventually led to better customer experiences. The automated calls also increased CX agents’ efficiency and ability to handle inbound and outbound calling. Campaign analytics through the integration of AI into data analytics were also performed, thus leading to better strategies and automated responses throughout all channels. Finally, the train, track, transform initiative provided robust training and coaching programs, which offer training certifications, on an e-learning platform called the ADVANZ. The platform enables progress tracking, promoting a culture of excellence especially within the CX department. This resulted in improved KPIs, lower attrition rates, and in-turn improved overall customer satisfaction.
Tarek Nizameddin commented: “We live by the rule of turning passion into performance at every stage of a Customer lifecycle. Our transformation from a mere help desk to a fully-fledged customer experience team, within 2 years, speaks volumes. Our goal is to be the best in class by exceeding customer satisfaction, delivering automated solutions for enhanced efficiency, and continuously striving for excellence in all projects we take part in.”
Standing Apart & Key Lessons Learned from 2020
During these unprecedented times that the whole world is currently experiencing and dealing with, Ejadah have managed not only to stabilize its performance and support its clients, but also has grown significantly and this was achieved by thinking differently and working assiduously to come up with compelling value propositions to our customers in specific and our communities in general. We are the chosen partner of leading both private and public sector customers who entrust us with the delivery of 24/7 services that are critical to the operation of their businesses spanning across corporate offices, trading floors and data centers, retail outlets, luxurious hotels, hospitals, utility networks, transport infrastructure and government buildings essential to the delivery of public services.
In the decade of its operation, Ejadah has evolved from a provider of Facilities Management services into a Total Community Solutions business. This is not the finishing line nor our ultimate goal, but a clear demonstration of our capability of growing with an ever-changing market whilst focusing on our fundamentals of service quality and excellence.
Since inception, our leaders have provided Ejadah with a clear strategic direction, corporate governance and sustainability. We have constantly focused on leveraging the knowledge and experience of our workforce to run our business and always strive to establish a solid organisational culture to support a robust business strategy.
“Our focus is on innovation and technology, developing our workforce and their welfare, and building up our trust and transparency with our clients. This helps us to differentiate ourselves,” said Tarek.
“2020 was a challenging year especially with the manpower we had. To manage their health during this pandemic was important for us especially in the facilities management industry. Apart from that we believe that the companies who embraced the challenges that were put forward were able to come out stronger from the pandemic.
Tarek added: “The biggest lessons learnt from the pandemic was about the importance of sustainability and being resilient and they were the main drivers of all our ecosystem partners.”
Technology Transformation & Diversity in FM
In line with Abu Dhabi 2030 vision where the UAE Government is steering the digital transformation process within the country and with the increasing influence of environmental NGOs, it’s expected that, within 5 years, most of the key facilities in UAE will be deploying AI based technologies to achieve the following:
1) Optimizing the asset life cycle
2) Reducing Energy consumption
3) Cutting down greenhouse gas emissions
New digital trends will not be “disruptive” unless they create relatively more value in the market than the traditional way of doing business. IoT devices and machine learning based systems are the main digital trends to focus at in terms of value creation and value capture which shall be leveraged to build an FM effective digital strategy.
These digital disruptions will create new services to clients around energy management services including energy audits, energy management plans, targets and guaranteed savings.
That being said, technology is the only way forward in FM. When agility and productivity are the goals, yesterday’s FM spreadsheets and workflows will no longer apply. FM teams must become proficient at using technological tools to help the rest of the business respond quickly to changing conditions and be comfortable with using predictive analytics and business intelligence to inform decision-making.
Service Management shall be considered as a key component of the successful Facility Manager of the future. Strong leadership skills with the ability to create employee motivation, engagement, respect and development are vital ingredients in any successful service model. This will create a winning formula on how to differentiate a facility manager and how to a create long term sustainable value.
With the adoption of technologies and the dependency on systems especially the Robotic Process Automation, a lot of admin and office jobs will be obsolete. Moreover, with the introduction of robots, drones and AI in operation, the number of workforce required for most of the functions will be reduced. The industry will require a different skillset to cater to these technologies such as: specialized technicians, robotics engineers and technicians, data analysts & scientists, cyber security experts, software developers, etc.
Ejadah are among the pioneers who are streamlining strategic innovation in such a changing digital world by moving to data-driven decision making and operations. That’s why Ejadah is racing to be the first movers in this space in order to capitalize on the size and value of data which will create a compelling value proposition in this digital disrupted world.
We believe that maintenance shall move from the traditional planned and preventive maintenance and top of the shelf standards such as SFG 20 and move to a smart predictive maintenance and a reliability based maintenance (RBM) which is a step-by-step instructional tool for how to analyze a system’s all failure modes and define how to prevent or find those failures early. RBM will ensure greater safety and environmental integrity, improved operating performance and greater maintenance cost-effectiveness.
Importance of diversity in FM
Ejadah is highly committed to diversity and the advancement of diverse employees. Nowadays, facility managers are coming to see diversity both as the right thing to do and as a way to address immediate needs. Within the facility department, diversity offers a way to attract and keep the best talent and a diverse team can be a more productive team.
Tarek explained: “Many mistakenly think that the success of FM operations depends entirely on the technical and engineering component. Women possess unique aptitudes that make them especially good facilities managers, including the ability to empathize, effective self-awareness and self-management, and consistently strong problem-solving, social, and communication skills. Diversity in FM teams should also represent that of the buildings’ occupants to ensure true understanding and ability to predict their unique needs, as well as the inclusion of an important perspective.”
“Moreover, we’ve seen a significant transformation over the past two decades from traditional stand-alone contracts like maintenance, cleaning, and HVAC contracts to total facilities management-based services which requires diversity at its core. The service provider is now taking care of your property from A to Z, whether through cleaning, maintaining the outlook of the building or even ensuring the health and safety being upheld to the highest standard so as to optimise facilities operating costs within safe and healthy environments that boost employee’s performance and improve organisations profitability.”
Ejadah will continue to nurture and promote a culture of diversity and inclusion which will make our world a better place to live in.