November 2011

Mainstay and Williams turn recruitment strategy on its head to find top talent!

Posted by Stuart Prior

Property Management Company Mainstay is on a mission to continue its rapid growth over the next five years. The executive team have placed customer service firmly at the heart of Mainstay’s strategy and know that if they are to be successful, they need to be hiring great people who support the strategy and have the right skills and values.

In an effort to reduce the risk of making costly recruitment errors, Mainstay has engaged with Midlands-based firm Williams – the people experts. Williams have worked with Mainstay to develop a bespoke, efficient recruitment process that allows the management team to identify and assess the key behaviours they are looking for.

The process has already proved to be a great success and great people are being recruited into the organisation.

“The people experts gave us the tools we needed to really get under the skin of the people we were interviewing. Some of their techniques were innovative and we were initially sceptical but, having gone through the process several times, the value is clear and now we wouldn’t recruit any other way.” said Paul Crook, Mainstay’s Managing Director.

Adam Laidler, Director at Williams – the people experts, is clear, “an ineffective recruitment process usually leads to ineffective hiring decisions. It’s important to ensure every part of the process adds value and that you are certain on what you expect to see from an ideal candidate. Once you know this, you can set about developing a process that allows candidates to demonstrate their skills to you in a more natural way. A simple question and answer interview won’t help you find ‘A Players’.”

Now that Mainstay have a system in place for finding great people, it means they can turn their attention to winning more business and building upon their commitment to being the most customer focused Property Management Company in the UK.


Mainstay are an award winning national property and facilities company with 35,000 units in management for developers, investors, and residents, operating in the residential, student, retirement and commercial sectors.

 Tel: 01905 364007




Williams – the people experts are a people consultancy based in Worcester who has developed a number of systems and processes that help businesses get more from their people. Incorporated in 2007, the consultancy employs experts in selection and assessment, HR advice and management development.

0845 474 0234

A New Approach to Management of Complex Residential and Mixed Use Buildings

Posted by Stuart Prior

By David Clark of Mainstay Group

If I was asked, ‘what has changed the most in residential management in recent years?’ I would have to say it was the level of complexity that we now see in building construction and mechanical & engineering systems. These systems are utilised in the delivery of efficient, modern buildings that are able to deal with security, safety, parking, cooling, heating, lighting and green issues amongst other things. 

Larger schemes built in urban environments, often with an element of mixed tenure, need to deliver a whole raft of complex solutions that are driven not only by regulation and the quest for reduced energy use, but also by the need to provide something different that attracts purchasers. The consequence of this has been a huge increase in the level of practical skills and expertise required to undertake management effectively.

Managers are being forced to look very closely at the qualification and background needed to undertake management of schemes where there may be massively complex CHP plants, comfort cooling systems, extraction, smoke vents, fire systems, lifts etc. etc. Pricing for the life cycle replacement and ongoing maintenance and compliance of such plant and the subsequent provision of an asset register may be beyond the capabilities of many managers and is scarcely covered within the available training options for property managers. However, these skills are undoubtedly essential if you are offering to maintain schemes to highest levels of safety and efficiency and in particular to maintain or enhance the overall asset value.

Herein lies the disconnect that all property managers must overcome – maintaining asset values means offering properly thought out strategies over the mid to long term – this is often at odds with operating in a one year contract environment and in an economy that demands cost-cutting for multiple customers as opposed to single business entities. It is possibly the reason that large FM providers do not currently directly service this sector.

It has never been more important to present evidence of value for money and this must be demonstrable around a 5 or 10 year plan and not just about immediate cost savings. After all, it is the very best managed buildings that are still able to find purchasers amongst the very small pool available. Long term planning and high quality maintenance solutions will prove best value in the long term and consideration of this strategy should be predicated on the understanding that ownership of flats is likely to be for somewhat longer than we have seen historically whilst commercial leases are getting shorter. The shift is already here and so the approach to management needs to be refined to suit.