Janneke Maas

Associate Director, Facilities
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Associate Director, Facilities
"Raise your hand and say "I can do this" to get where you want to be."

Whether it’s the perfect recipe, vocal harmony or client solution, Janneke Maas’s passion for performance across everything she does helps inspire her team to deliver service excellence. With over 20 years of facilities management experience, Janneke brings a dedication to constant growth to Macro Group.

Janneke’s Q&A

How did you get into what you do?

A daughter of a family friend who was four or five years older than me had started studying facilities management, so I’d heard of it but didn’t really know what it was - but I would soon find out.

In further and higher education in the Netherlands you have practical, operational learning courses as well as more academic degrees. I wasn’t particularly academic and was more interested in practical courses.

A teaching colleague of my father recommended facilities management as an interesting option for me - initially I was a little skeptical, but I went along to a presentation and it connected with me, leaving me thinking ‘this is really it'.

I took my degree in FM and then got working in the year 2000. What appealed to me straight away was the diversity of the role - over 20 years in the industry and I’m yet to have a boring day. I’d also always wanted to work for a corporate company, no one in my family had, as my parents had both worked in the public sector, and so my degree allowed me to move into the corporate world.

What do you enjoy most about your current role at Macro?

I enjoy that we really do deliver on our promise to be big enough to deliver but are small enough to care. In the past I’ve worked for large corporates where every time we made a bespoke local arrangement or agreement for a client, the company response was ‘we don’t do it like this’ – it was always a struggle to implement tailored approaches.

So I enjoy working for Macro because we’re a business that wants to do things differently and tailor services to what the client wants.

I’m also enjoying my role as an ambassador for the business in Europe. I recently went to talk to a group of young people on a facilities management graduate programme and the graduates hadn’t heard of us - but nine out of the 15 people that I spoke to were curious and so I’ve sent them more information about who we are and what we do.

How do you deliver a better way for our clients?

For me, it’s through developing people. I’m ambitious for my team and helping colleagues to grow along with the business is what I find truly rewarding. One member of my team started as a receptionist and now manages sites across 12 different countries!  Examples like this reflect how we can turn potential into performance. Taking this approach also helps us to retain the best people, and so providing our clients with the best service.

I also like to create value by re-thinking processes. For example, in France we’ve signed our suppliers up to our four steps to safety and uphold this way of working. It is just as thorough and consistent but mitigates the need for lots of separate risk assessments, helps make operations safer and benefits others with good practice we’ve developed.

What achievements are you most proud of?

Sharing successes as part of our team call is the thing that makes me most proud. We look at five different ways of recording success and update on this weekly. The fact that we can, shows our collective commitment to doing things well and I want to create a culture where we celebrate the team’s successes.

They can be minor things, from being able to arrange a meeting for someone at short notice, to personal changes that make a difference. Doing this helps inspire others to share their good news; one team member recently quit smoking and shared it with us and we were all so pleased for him - so we really create an environment where we celebrate what we do.

What motivates you every day?

I think in general it’s being in facilities - the days are never the same, never boring, I talk to people in different countries, sharing experiences and news from around the team and there are great people working here. There’s lots of respect, lots of opportunity and the satisfaction that, in the end, what we do is about making the client happy by getting the basics right. If things just work then the client can focus on their core business and succeed. If we do our job well, things just work – that’s my main driver.

Key to this is people. We must stop seeing facilities management as managing buildings and see it more as managing people - the wellbeing of people and their experiences. I love coaching, which is central to all of this and which I do with my team.

What skills do you need to be good at your job?

90% of the job is communication – letting people know what’s happening, making sure that there are no surprises. I speak four languages and we have a multi-lingual team, so that helps!

Being proactive and putting yourself forward is also important. Raise your hand and say ‘I can do this’ to get to where you want to be, to find out what people need and to offer a solution and get it done.

Listening is so important, ask colleagues ‘how can I support you?’, listen to the answer and you’ll also be better at supporting your client.

Also, don’t be afraid to be ambitious - for yourself and for your team.  How can you take their qualities and shape that into a clear path for success?

With such a key role for an important client, how do you balance work and life?

It’s vital to keep a work-life balance that is right for you. You have to have a life. Work is a big part of it and you should love what you do, but always make sure to find a solution that fits. I love my job but I don’t do overtime unless I really need to – I’ve found that long days are unsustainable over time and are often a sign that something is wrong, whether that’s a lack of delegation or managing your time effectively.

If you hadn’t got into this line of work what do you think you might be doing?

Something with cooking for sure. I love singing and have done this extensively, but cooking is my passion, especially everything from the Middle East. Ottolenghi and Sabrina Ghayour recipes require a lot of preparation and a lot of ingredients, and I love doing that preparation and cooking a big meal. My criterion for a great recipe is one where you can let flavours come together – but I often like to give things my own twist and redefine the recipe!

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