Dees Maharaj

drive to enrich lives and create jobs

“We have an open-minded philosophy in this business to drive things forward,” says Chief Sales and Marketing Officer, Dees Maharaj. “But we need real-time, on-the-ground feedback, to help us make the right boardroom decisions.”

“Abantu Phambili” – is an isiZulu phrase that means “people first” – they are doing well – and that really is what Bidvest Prestige considers one of its primary roles as a company and a job creator in the South African marketplace.

Of course, the last year has been particularly challenging, especially for hospitality, travel and tourism where significant reductions or cancellations of contracts impacted workers on all levels.

“The reality of the last year is that business changed, our clients’ requirements changed significantly in certainly sectors and that, of course, had a knock-on effect and impact on some of our valued team members,” says Maharaj. “However, we’ve done the best we can to keep or redeploy staff and now we are in a position where 95% of our people are back in some capacity – and that’s testament to the efforts of all our people, across the business, to keep each other afloat in the most challenging times imaginable.”

Motivate, Survive and Thrive

With their people-centric approach, Bidvest Prestige hopes to motivate teams through rewards and recognitions programmes – whilst ensuring there is training, equipment, personal development and a path forward that every person can believe in. “We want to create employment stability and enrich lives,” says Maharaj.

“How we do that is getting new business. It’s based on the different types of contracts that we can get (how successful we are).

We have done well in changing times – by becoming specialists in different areas of our engagement we have managed to soften the impact of Covid-19.

Innovation is not replacement of jobs – it’s innovation for people to do or be better at their jobs.”

Environmental Solutions for a modern world

With anywhere between 10k and 15k competitors in the country, Bidvest Prestige recognises that sustained growth lies in the type of WOW-factor that lies not in “just cleaning” per se but in looking at clients’ environments in totality – finding solutions that can help impact positively on those work and play spaces.

“To positively impact environments, we need feedback from our people on the ground, who observe and can help identify areas where services can be improved (or where solutions are completely lacking),” says Maharaj. “Customer-centricity comes from our people, hence our focus on the ‘internal-client’ has never carried greater importance to the overall success of this business and all its people.”

Connected Technologies for all

To serve its internal-clients better, Bidvest Prestige is investing heavily in hard-and-software solutions that will help connect the entire workforce to a support centre that can assist individuals with a wide variety of personal and job-related functions.

“By 2025 we will have all our people on Bidvest Prestige-sponsored smartphones,” says Maharaj. “We want to hear the voice of our employees, to help us understand what they want/need and, of course, what our clients’ needs are too.”

Mobile technologies offer exciting possibilities for effectively connecting with a dispersed workforce. As mentioned, a lot of first-tier staff support will be driven in this way – with real-time data driving Business Intelligence that feeds into the decision-making process.

Faster, Agile, Empowered decisions.

“BI gives the real-time info you need to speed things up and focus attentions where it’s really needed,” says Maharaj. “Adoption is the biggest challenge, of course, but we are working on plans to help cultivate a healthy culture of participation in this business – not just via apps and technologies but in the general spirit of what we do on a daily basis.”

The voices of Bidvest Prestige will be heard.

The company’s new board is committed to getting back to the floor, to understand what’s needed on an individual, team, company and environmental level to take this business forward.

“We want more adoption, more creativity and more input from everybody – information that we will use guide our strategies,” says Maharaj. “Input has to come from our people, however. We will listen and incorporate relevant points so we all play a part in formulating our future path – where we all pull in the same direction with shared goals that include a happy, healthy, company with equally happy, healthy and thriving people.”Abantu Phambili

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