Edward Moore, who joined Workman as part of the firm’s Graduate scheme in 2003, describes the career path and experience which led him to become a Partner in Workman’s Building Consultancy team.
In what ways did your early years at Workman prepare you for your career in property and your role as a Partner?
My early years gave me a sense of a hard-working routine which everybody bought into, getting to know the commercial drivers of the industry, and how to conduct yourself as a professional. I always found that we were busy, and this helped me practice good time management habits to stay focused on what was important.
I think any first professional job in a new town needs to instil the basic disciplines required for your future career… and given that this was before the culture of no ties and working from home, we were expected to be very smartly dressed and present in the office or on site. However, even as a graduate I had the opportunity to make instructions my own with limited supervision. I was never held back from any client contact. We were always encouraged to speak to clients and provide a personal service.
What did your Workman grounding teach you in terms of technical knowledge and softer skills?
Being thrown into client environments from the outset gave me an immediate understanding of the people we work with and what they expect. This allowed me to develop my approach and bring out my personality and style of working.
Workman’s diverse range of BC instructions allowed me to gain experience on all aspects of building surveying, and the quality of work at Workman allowed me to work with a number of different professionals, clients, agents, property managers, and develop an understanding of the commercial reasons behind decision making.
Were there any memorable projects or properties you worked on that you now look back on as invaluable experience?
In every project you learn something new, which you take on to the next one. Even if it’s “well I won’t be doing that again!” That’s why I enjoy what we do because no instruction is the same – there are similarities but no monotony. Early on, I worked on a lot of retail schemes which can be fast paced and requires interface from a number of different parties to get projects complete within a certain window. Fixed life funds also gave me a lot of experience where we had to be flexible and adaptable with our thinking in terms of how best to achieve the fund return in a short period of time.
My favourite times have been working with and managing colleagues – and hopefully adding value to their careers. It is of the upmost importance to empower them and pass on the knowledge I have been lucky to gain so they can further their own careers (hopefully at Workman).
What single thing did your closest Workman mentor teach you that’s been most valuable in your career so far?
Understand what the client wants and needs, rather than what they are telling you to do. Some clients do not know what they want to do – we need to give a solution which they may not always be aware is a possibility.
In your journey to becoming a Partner at Workman, what have been the most significant or pivotal moments?
I think getting Chartered and then later on becoming an Associate gave me belief that other people trusted me at my chosen profession. Everybody has doubts, but this allowed me to push forward and have the confidence to perform, knowing that I had the trust of colleagues and clients.
Now in your role as a Partner, when mentoring younger staff, what do you think are the most important aspects of coaching and developing younger staff in your team?
Working out that everybody has something different to offer, understanding what that is, and getting the absolute maximum out of each individual. I believe in giving staff my time; never being too busy to take time out to help them if they need it. Building their own confidence in themselves to allow them to perform.
What advice would you give to graduates on the Workman scheme starting out now?
When I started out, I didn’t entirely know where the journey would take me, nor where I wanted to go, however I have enjoyed the environment that I have been afforded to work in, and it has enabled me to grow to a position where I can now pass this on to others coming through the firm. The Partners and senior staff want junior staff to progress, so therefore I would say never be afraid to ask a question of somebody – even if you don’t know them.
What attributes do you look for when recruiting graduates and more junior staff?
A spark – plus enthusiasm and an organised manner – in somebody willing to learn.