Our people

Peter Tayar-Watson

Peter Tayar-Watson

"I'm a believer that marginal gains add up and that making a difference is not just about the big things. If you can make a tweak on a process that makes a person's role a bit easier or safer you help performance as well as support that colleague's wellbeing. I also believe in the critical importance of cultivating psychological safety – if people feel safe to speak up and give feedback then business performance and wellbeing improve. If you do this across your remit, the small changes can have a big impact."

From mechanical engineering to receiving the RoSPA President’s Awards for a decade of health, safety and wellbeing excellence, Peter Tayar-Watson balances a fascination with how things are built with a passion for the people that operate them. With a broad experience in vastly contrasting contexts, from the Gabonese rainforest to a welcoming Watford, Peter’s commitment to caring creates happy colleagues, and satisfied clients.

Peter's Q&A

How did you get into what you do?

I always wanted to build things, to build, design and engineer. My Grandad was a mechanical engineer and was fascinated by this, by how things work and how they were organised. As a result, I studied mechanical engineering and business studies and took an undergrad apprenticeship with a gas manufacturing turbine company during my studies.

After graduating, I worked for Shell in the Netherlands on gas projects – it was a lot of fun, and challenging, I had to learn Dutch as it was the working language and it was there that I found much of the work I did was linked to the environment and safety having later worked in Gabon across different teams, getting involved in everything from cleaning up oil pollution in the rainforest to managing worker injuries and sourcing new supply contracts.

My facilities management experience began in earnest when working at General Electric, I became a jack of all trades, in IT, health and safety, project management, quality and, when I decided to return to the UK, I took their real estate remit which grew from 50 properties to 500+ globally.

I then looked at how I could grow again, and I targeted Mace because I’d met someone there who spoke highly of the culture. I researched the business and liked them. I knew they had a facilities management division called Macro and got in touch, and I stayed in touch with a recruiter until the right opportunity arose in 2018. My career’s been a long journey across continents, but I feel at home at Macro!

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

On my first day at Macro I arrived at our Watford office, and I saw a blackboard by the front-door with ‘Welcome Peter Tayar-Watson’ on it – I’d never had that before, it really made me feel a part of the business family and so we always make sure that our new starters get a great welcome – with a personal touch such as a welcome note. I love that we do things like that and the atmosphere and culture that it creates.

I really enjoy the variety and the challenges that come with our work but, like most managers, I love the people aspect. Our people aren’t straight jacketed and have licence to make improvements where they’re needed. Most importantly, which is also what I enjoy most, everyone wants to work safely, work with their contractor safely and take care of their health, safety and wellbeing. My background and role in helping to make that happen is really rewarding.

How do you work to find a better way?

One of the things that’s core to the role - particularly in health and safety - is learning from mistakes. Things do go wrong from time to time, but we have a focus on how we turn it around and improve and then how we can learn from that moment so that we do things better in other areas.

We also do this proactively – rather than just fixing issues I like to work with my teams with a positive attitude to risk management, asking open questions such as ‘how can we do this more safely and compliantly?’ to achieve the right level of risk management and high levels of client satisfaction whilst being compliant.

What has been your proudest achievement at Macro so far?

My proudest moment was this year where we collected our RoSPA President’s award for achieving Gold Award standard for ten consecutive years in health, safety and wellbeing excellence across the globe.

We’d picked up the baton on this and extended it beyond the UK five years ago to Europe, then four years ago to the rest of the world, including Pakistan. A few of us collected the award, but it recognises the contribution of our global team to keeping colleagues safe and well - we’re so proud of this, and it’s reassuring for our customers as well.

On a personal note, my team’s employment and wellbeing survey results were very positive, it made me feel so greatful to know that my team gave fantastic feedback. That ranks as high as an external award and underlined my view that if you take care of your people, your business will perform better.

Why Macro Group?

When I joined, I already knew about the culture, had a good experience in the recruitment process and was excited by the potential in my role. I love that the business has a ‘small enough to care, big enough to deliver’ approach. I feel that this is what makes the difference in FM to deliver excellence for our clients and positivity to take us to the next level – it sets us apart.

What motivates you every day?

Seeing that what I’m doing makes a difference. I’m a believer that marginal gains add up and that making a difference is not just about the big things. If you can make a tweak on a process that makes a person’s role a bit easier or safer you help performance as well as support that colleague’s wellbeing – if you do this across your remit, the small changes can have a big impact.

In terms of quality, I’m really driven by the twin benefits of integration in our management systems and effective behaviours to deliver a greater focus on service quality, reduce the risk of mistakes and nurture joined up thinking as you manage multiple objectives. Getting systems alignment is one part and then ensuring that business behaviours are right is the other – so that those behaviours can act as a thread that draws systems together and drive performance improvement.

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

Listening and questioning, balancing risk, empathy and attention to detail in compliance – there’s a lot that we have to comply with and so making sure I cover everything is key.

Being organised, is important - there are so many things going on at the same time that you need to be disciplined in the way that you organise whilst building in enough flexibility to shift focus if you need to. There are lots of opportunities in my health, safety, wellbeing, environment, and quality but you need to be organised to succeed.

Also, you have to be a people person, when you’re looking after people’s wellbeing, it’s important to genuinely care. If you do, you’ll get the best from them.

What advice would you give to someone looking to get into what you do?

Do something operational – if you’ve not done that and then have to manage and help others that are operational, you can be too theoretical. So get hands on, get experience as a ‘do-er’ first before moving into managing people and systems.

More people these days start with a specialist H&S study, but try to pick up responsibility where you can, broaden your skillset and move around to learn different aspects of a business. A breadth of knowledge and ability will stand you in good stead when you choose to specialise and helps you be more effective.

An example of this from my career was that I was also looking at sustainability as an area to develop in, at the time it wasn’t in my role but has become part of it now and so learning more about it has proved valuable - so look for opportunities to learn more, stay interested and bring that interest into your work.

What are you passionate about outside of work?

I generally fill my free time with as much sport as possible. My wife and I cycle a lot together. We jog, we swim, and we even recently did a self-set mini triathlon together. I love music too: singing, playing guitar, at home or in a choir and covering a range of genres – but mostly happy and fun material!

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