We're excited to launch our Portico People Blog Series! Shared twice a month, our series is our chance to put the spotlight on our people and ask them some great questions about the Front of House industry.
Up first we spoke with Alejandro Sanchez, Portico Portfolio Manager of 15 corporate buildings for Legal & General. Alejandro joined Portico in 2018 as Corporate Reception Supervisor at UBS and made the leap from front facing guest services to Portfolio manager in 2020, where he brings his energy, positivity and knowledge to the team.
Hi Alejandro! Tell us about yourself - what does your role entail?
I’ve been in my role as portfolio manager for almost 18 months. Looking after the front of house services at a portfolio of 15 corporate buildings, I’m responsible for looking after the team that plays a key role in occupier engagement and guest management. I work closely with FM teams to elevate service levels.Tell us a bit more about your career history.
I started out my career in guest services in hotel management. I’ve always been in the services industry. I’ve worked in hotels in Ecuador, Spain, Switzerland, and London. When I joined Portico, I worked with our Swiss banking client in the city. Now I look after Legal and General across multiple sites.What do you most like about your job?
I like interacting with people and getting to know them. I’ve got to know a lot of great people in this job. I enjoy knowing I can make a positive impact on others, whether that’s occupiers, clients, or visitors. I aim to exceed expectations and make people feel better. I enjoy change, I like to innovate and improve.What are the challenges you face in your role?
The client portfolio has grown significantly since I started in this role. You need to be able to always maintain a high level of service, giving a fair share of attention to each client and your team. The global pandemic has considerably changed the way we work. We now must be even more creative and innovative. Budgets are changing and we must adapt to new constraints while keeping service at an optimum level.What has been your biggest highlight at Portico?
I really enjoy my current role as portfolio manager. I like working as part of a growing contract. I like progression, so for me, my next step up will then become by biggest highlight.How do you see the future of the workplace changing?
Without doubt the workplace must adapt to the new hybrid approach that most companies are now taking. Workplaces need to be more attractive, and this means the bar needs to be raised in all services provided. The necessity of the office is heavily under scrutiny and people are questioning what it means to them, personally. Over the years, many workplace perks such as free food and drinks have been left behind. I think these perks will come back around to entice employees back to the office. Leading companies in technology or creative sectors, like Facebook, for example, also have sleeping pods and games areas. Facilities as well as services must be offered. Overall, I think companies must treat their employees like their customers. Employers need to get to know more about their own staff and adapt the workplace for them.What are the key ingredients to premium guest experience?
Personalising the service to the clients. It’s a definite mistake to think that one size fits all because it really doesn’t. Getting to know a client, their aims, objectives and how they tick is fundamental. In the service industry we need to always be one step ahead and be able to anticipate client needs. Guest service professionals need to ensure the right people are in the right place, at the right time. Well trained and happy employees deliver better service.What would your advice be for somebody considering a career in guest services?
You need to feel passionate about service and people. You must be humble to be at the service of others. You also need to be driven to constantly look for ways to change and improve things, and be willing to adapt.What are your top tips for happiness and wellbeing in the workplace?
I think everything starts with a positive attitude - they always say that change starts with you. It’s important to make space for the workplace to be fun. Company culture and team building make people want to come to work. It is important everyone has a good work-life balance and I think this has come into focus even more during the pandemic. The working model as we knew it is changing and becoming more flexible to allow better work-life balance. The workplace is like a second home. Sometimes we spend more time with our colleagues than family members.