Interview Value

When it comes to hiring, the interview is often the focal point—the personal and professional evaluation method of choice for as long as there have been jobs. But is interviewing enough? No matter how creative and comprehensive the interview or interviews may be, there is a growing school of thought that interviewing alone is not a good method to select people. It’s not so much that interviewing isn’t important, it’s just that it needs to be put into the proper perspective: as one piece of a larger assessment process that includes everything from evaluation and assessment, to employer and skills matching, to a comprehensive orientation, training and periodic post-hiring check-in and follow-up.

Here at Powerlink, our own talent evaluation and employee matching technique is a three-part process: Identify, Secure and Empower. The first step, Identify, is a multi-tiered stage that includes an online application, a behavioral and skills assessment, a detailed application review and assessment, and a personal phone interview. Promising qualified applicants move on to the Secure phase, which consists of an onsite interview, a reference check, background check, drug and medical screening, and possibly a formal offer of employment. Because we believe at Powerlink that the hiring process doesn’t end when the interview ends, the third step of our hiring process is essential.
During the Empower phase—which includes comprehensive corporate orientation, onsite orientation, one-day, one-week, one-month, and 60- and 90-day reviews, and ongoing benefits and HR support—we ensure that the professional fit is a good one and provide employer and employee alike with the tools and resources they need to optimize long-term productivity and positivity. All successful professionals recognize that the success of any business or professional endeavor relies on the quality of our employees.

By utilizing a process that includes multiple interview components, detailed background checks, talent evaluation and skills assessments, and extensive orientation and review once the employee is on the job, we feel that Powerlink is acknowledging that truth, and maximizing the chances that each new hire will be a professional investment with significant and sustainable long-term returns.

Categories: Business Success, The Industry

Aiming hire?

Here’s the good news: hiring has picked up nationally, showing some signs of coming out of a sluggish and inconsistent post-recession lull. Since March the economy has averaged more than 160,000 new jobs per month and, while that’s not exactly explosive job growth, it’s certainly an encouraging trend. Questions remain, however, about just how meaningful that job growth may be, and what the between-the-lines numbers about the employment landscape might tell us about what employers are thinking.

When Treasury Secretary Lew appeared on Meet the Press recently, one of the issues that came up in the discussion was the fact that, while employment is growing, it seems as if a great deal of that growth is due to seasonal employment or part-time job increases. That reflects a larger conversation I’m hearing: There are doubts about whether or not the modest job gains we have seen in recent months constitute “real”, sustainable growth.

The other issue is inconsistency. While the overall trend has been fairly encouraging, we are still seeing a lot of variation from week to week and from month to month. The story seems to change from one week to the next: jobless claims are up, then they are back down. To me, that volatility is indicative of uncertainty. A slowly improving economy means that organizations are experiencing an uptick in their employment needs, but lingering uncertainty about the strength and sustainability of the recovery means that many of those same employers are still not willing to take the plunge and make significant long-term hiring commitments.

The hesitation on the part of employers to jump in with both feet and hire more full-time employees is understandable—and it is also where Powerlink can help. Our staffing options give employers the flexibility they need to build their business and take on promising opportunities, all without making a significant hiring commitment in a still volatile economy.

Categories: The Industry

Powerlink Staffing

Something that many people might not know about Powerlink is that we also provide a staffing division that provides personnel in a number of different categories. This isn’t just an important part of our business—it’s a growing one. National trends show that companies are increasingly looking to augment their workforce, but many are still somewhat wary of hiring full-time staff at this point in the economic recovery process.

While the overall trend has been moving in the right direction for at least two years now, the tough recession we all experienced has left both literal and figurative scars, and companies are understandably still a little bit hesitant to make large investments in staffing. Staffing services like those provided by Powerlink are always valuable, but they can serve as a particularly important bridge during times like these.

Staffing can help companies move things along while providing flexibility and minimizing exposure as we move through this period of still tentative economic growth. Another factor driving the increase in demand for staffing services is that many firms are hesitant to add full-time staff with health care reform looming on the horizon. Uncertainty about the details of how that will play out still looms large in the minds of entrepreneurs and decision-makers across Michigan.

Despite these ongoing worries about health care reform, payroll and long-term expenses/obligations, businesses still need quality people in order to grow. Unfortunately, some companies may no longer have the HR infrastructure to recruit talent outside of their core focus. A healthcare organization may be fine with hiring clinical staff, for example, but lagging behind in their ability to recruit, hire and manage support staff. If an organization has a hiring process that is focused on or built around their core focus, things can get behind—quickly. Such a hiring gap can incur tremendous unnecessary costs if paying overtime is required or if work isn’t getting done as efficiently and effectively as it should be.

Powerlink’s staffing services help to fill this gap—and to do it faster and better than many companies can do on their own. With quality higher and costs lower, it’s a formula that just makes sense for many (most) firms, and it should come as no surprise that it’s something that more and more Powerlink clients are taking full advantage.

Categories: The Industry

Talking Veteran Value on FOX 2

I recent had the opportunity to appear on one of FOX 2 WJBK’s Money Mondays series to talk about a topic that is near and dear to my heart: helping military veterans find work. It was a great honor to be able to speak to the value of hiring veterans, and to give veterans some tips on how to showcase their skills to potential employers:

Watch it here:

During my appearance on the program, I was able to talk a little bit about how the knowledge, skills and abilities that veterans gain over the course of their military service translate over to the civilian sector. Understanding that “knowledge transfer” is essential, and it is equally important that veterans’ applying for a job understand what they should and should not be doing. In the interview, I touch upon some of the highlights, including reminders not to use military jargon, and suggesting that applicants perform their own intelligence briefing.

You can read some more about the hiring process dos and don’ts for veterans here and here. Veteran employment is a critically important issue today, at a time when nearly a third of Michigan’s 700,000 veterans are out of work. But there is help out there for those looking to transition from the service to the work force.

Categories: Business Success

Organic growth: Expanding Through Existing Clients

I’ve seen it all too often: businesses neglecting the customers they already have, all while they continue to pursue new opportunities or try to aggressively expand in new directions. At Powerlink we believe there is a better way: there is value in growth from existing clients. Such a strategy demonstrates how to grow organically, and how to make the “power of success” work for you.

Naturally, growing through existing client relationships begins with maintaining and nurturing those relationships. It also means being up front with the customer at all times: communicating openly, honestly and clearly about your capabilities and your ability to meet their needs. Companies who do so successfully will find that when opportunities for new growth come up, they are able to take full advantage by better servicing their existing clients and expanding accordingly. Our experiences with several of our local and regional  clients are a testament to how effective this kind of growth can be.

Our ability to save Henry Ford an estimated 10-15% on annual food services, housekeeping, environmental services and maintenance staffing expenses has motivated them to steadily increase their Powerlink business. Partly as a result of these efficiencies, today around half Henry Ford Hospital’s housekeeping and food service staff are Powerlink employees, and Henry Ford Medical Group’s outsources approximately 30% of its housekeeping staff through Powerlink.

We have also demonstrated to them that we have lower turnover and a more effective recruiting and retention policy in non-medical and support staff. Our work with Detroit Public Schools has saved the school system $74 million over the last five years, and, as DPS begins to privatize more of its services and operations, Powerlink has been able to help by providing hundreds of engineers. Another client, the Barbara Ann Karmanos Cancer Institute, has gone from a small outpatient contract in 2009 to a significantly more comprehensive professional relationship that includes inpatient facility management services today.

Again, that expansion was fueled by positive results: Karmanos’ customer service scores for support services increased from 78% to 93% since partnering with Powerlink. These are all good reminders that companies looking to grow don’t have to look very far to make that happen: an existing client base is a great place to start.

Categories: Business Success