For the latest instalment in our 60 second blog series we sat down with Stewart Brown, Operations Director.
What gets you out of bed in the morning?
The challenge of the role - every day is different.
What do you like most about your job?
I get a buzz out of helping others in my team develop their careers and seeing them thrive.
What challenges do you face?
The effects of COVID-19 have been the greatest challenge of my career. We had to adapt overnight to very different ways of working, while continuing to make sure we stay connected with the on-site teams and meet residents’ needs. Many of these challenges are ongoing and have long-term implications operationally.
What made you pursue this career?
As a youth I was an aspiring footballer but when injury ruled me out of continuing as a professional, I went into the hotel industry and spent 13 years with Hilton. I came to R&R twelve years ago as an Estate Manager. I could see there was a big opportunity for sector to grow and for the offering to become more like that of a hotel, which really fitted with my background and skillset.
Who inspires you?
My Grandad for his hardworking nature, dedication and commitment. The first general manager I worked for at Hilton who gave me my first real opportunity when I was 21 and was a great mentor. And my team who give me drive and inspiration every day.
What are you most proud of?
I left education young to pursue a career in football, so when I moved into the world of work I had to start at the bottom. I’m proud I’ve done it the hard way and always had the drive to better myself.
What do you enjoy doing outside of work?
Football is still a huge passion – now I am busy on the coaching side. I currently coach Reading FC Academy.
What are you most looking forward to in the next year?
Last year we set up R&R Operations Ltd, a wholly owned subsidiary company of R&R dedicated to supporting people on site. I am looking forward to the continued growth of this in the next year and in particular we are going to launch our own temp staffing service as part of this.
Tell us a bit about the Operations team
My team has grown a lot this year and it now has 21 staff. We are responsible for all things relating to people on-site at the developments we manage, so that includes hiring staff, training and developing, customer service and community engagement activities.
What has the team accomplished that you are proud of?
I’m proud at how well they have adapted to deal with the changing and challenging circumstances this year. As a team we have become much more proactive and our role within the business, particularly when it comes to supporting the wellbeing of on-site staff, has never been more important. During lockdown my team made over 3,000 wellbeing calls to site staff.
How has your job changed over the last few months due to COVID-19?
Agile working has been a big change for the business. We closed head office when lockdown hit but we aren’t planning to reopen it – remote and flexible working has actually worked well for us and we are embracing it. For example online meetings mean we can have more contact with site staff across many locations, participation rates are much higher, engagement is up and we are more time efficient.
What have you learnt over the last few months due to COVID-19?
We have all learnt a lot about being resilient and adaptable. In the past perhaps we were more resistant to change, but COVID-19 forced us to make big changes very quickly and actually very successfully. As a business, I feel we are in a positive place for the future.
We are always looking at how we can continue to improve our sustainability commitment. This week is National Tree Week, which Rendall and Rittner is celebrating by launching a new Tree Pledge, clearly setting out our commitment to reduce paper consumption and support the planting of trees.
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