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WDET: Powerlink Part of Affordable Care Act Discussions

The Affordable Care Act has raised difficult questions for businesses across the country, and metro Detroit is no exception. As part of a panel on the impact of the AFA on local businesses, I shared Powerlink’s position: While we’re certainly concerned about rising costs, many of the new regulations and mandatory benefits for employees are items we already had in place.

Empowering our team is a critical part of our work here at Powerlink and providing them a strong benefits package is a vital part of that equation. With a diverse workforce—from highly-trained building engineers to housekeeping and environmental team members—Powerlink offers multiple plans to meet everyone’s needs.

The biggest issue as the AFA continues to come into effect is the uncertainty that it creates. With so many moving parts to the legislation and so much contention over its implementation, the changes make it difficult for businesses of all sizes to make decisions when the playing field changes so quickly. Increasing the burden on small businesses will never be positive for economic growth, but ongoing uncertainty can be just as damaging, if not worse.

Listen to the complete interview here.

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Categories: Business Success, The Industry
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Spring Focus: Air Quality

When was the last time you had a complete review of air quality in your facility? If it’s been a while, poor air quality may be exacerbating employee health issues without your knowledge. In reality, it’s one of the easiest but most overlooked steps for building management and can have significant quality-of-life implications for those working in a facility.

Spring is a time of year when pollen and other allergens necessitate the closest watch on filters and other pieces of the air quality equation. When we stay vigilant and make regular, proactive changes, it can make a strong, positive impact on the work environment.

There is a significant amount of information out there to help all of us improve our air quality, beginning with some very strong content from the EPA. Let’s use this spring to check in on our air quality and make the necessary investments to improve the environment for everyone who uses our facilities.

Categories: The Industry
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Powerlink Shares its Checklist Approach in Cleaning & Maintenance Management

I was thrilled to have the opportunity to share one of our driving principles at Powerlink—a checklist mentality—with other facilities management professionals through a recent column in Cleaning & Maintenance Management magazine.

While some industries have already embraced checklists, even in highly educated professions—airlines are one example—others have failed to implement them where they could improve efficiency, boost effectiveness and even save lives.

Atul Gawande, a doctor himself, lays out the benefits of this philosophy for the health care industry in his book, The Checklist Manifesto. His basic premise is that simple checklists eliminate errors. When people are involved in processes, we always add an element of unpredictability, which can make a significant difference whether you’re performing heart surgery or cleaning a school classroom. The right procedures and processes help everyone do their jobs better, reduce mistakes, germs and infections, and make the facilities we work in better places to be.

Read the complete column here.

Categories: Business Success, The Industry
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The value of values

There is a lot of talk in the business community about values, but I can’t help but notice that there is less talk about what those values should look like, and about whether or not they are the “right” values for your employees, your customers and your firm. Let’s face it; everyone—from saints to serial killers—has some kind of values. Values aren’t inherently good or bad, they just… are.

Corporate values are no different. They aren’t necessarily virtuous, they are simply a representation of what is important to an organization. Sometimes those values revolve around ethics, sometimes they are based on best practices, or goals and corporate agendas. So how do we determine what values are positive and productive for a business? What gives corporate values their worth?

Here at Powerlink, we try to embrace positive, actionable values that empower employees and have a positive impact on the community. Our core values—Powerlink PRIDE: Passionate, Relationship Builder, Innovative, Diverse, Ethical—speak both to who we are as a company and who we aspire to be in our dealings with customers, with the community, and with each other. I firmly believe that a significant part of an executive’s job is to work to translate corporate values into the professional behaviors we want to see.

Values drive our behavior. They have to function as a guide: by setting goals and helping to promote the right response emotionally for a specific situation. When outlining your professional values, it’s important to have them not just reflect what your company is, but also where you want it to go; your values should serve as both a representation and an inspiration.

Once you have that value framework in place, you can use it to help motivate people to react in positive ways. On their own, they are just words on a wall, but if you can clearly translate those values into behaviors, your company will be that much stronger, and will be better positioned to provide the kind of industry-leading products and services that distinguish leaders from a crowded and competitive field.

Categories: Business Success, Corporate Social Responsibility
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Throwing a brand engagement party

Every business should be focused on keeping their frontline employees engaged and excited—literally and figuratively invested in the success of the business. Here at Powerlink, we’ve recently gone through a comprehensive redevelopment of our internal brand, and a big piece of the process revolved around a reinvention of how we communicate with our employees. Specifically, we’ve refocused the way our leadership team conveys the essential elements of our culture and professional mission to our team members.

Companies have to be conscious about the way they frame and discuss their brand to reach shifting audiences in an increasingly diverse and multigenerational workforce. This is increasingly important because a brand is so much more than a catchphrase or a logo: it is the essential nature of your business and your professional character. It is the service experience of each person working with a Powerlink associate every day. If you clearly and regularly communicate your mission and your message to your employees, your brand won’t just reside in the corporate office, but will be something that your employees embody—they can live by it every day and pass along it to your customers.

If we can’t engage our own team members and make them want to understand and to be a part of a larger mission, we will have missed an invaluable opportunity. Part of that process is listening. By running internal focus groups with our team members to see how they perceive the company and the brand, we can fix gaps and ensure every employee understands what it means to be a part of Powerlink. The more we forge those connections and develop belief in our mission, the more we see a direct benefit in the form of a superior product: great customer service.

Categories: The Industry