Canadian Electrical Industry News Week

 

May 15, 2017

Michelle BraniganBy Michelle Branigan

In an age when communication rules, and a company’s reputation can be elevated or decimated in the time it takes a tweet to circle the world, the last thing a company wants is to see itself caught up in a public relations disaster.

By now everyone has likely seen the images and video of the United Airlines passenger suffering serious injuries while being dragged off the plane by police after refusing to give up his seat to a united crew member. The general public was shocked and outraged to say the least, and United’s initial handling of the situation only made matters worse.

During the critical time following the incident United failed miserably in communicating their rationale for the decisions made by the crew, and the facts they provided were unclear. Instead of defusing the situation they actually made it worse. Indeed, as videos of this atrocious incident racked up millions of views online, United’s initial reaction was to apologize for having to “re-accommodate” passengers and to remind everyone that a ticket is a contract. United CEO Oscar Munoz criticized the distraught passenger for being “disruptive and belligerent.”

United’s market value plummeted by $1 billion after this incident. Who knows what it will cost to rebuild the company’s reputation.

Closer to home, this week saw OC Transco, the urban transit service in Ottawa, face allegations that one of its drivers verbally assaulted one of its disabled passengers. Many local transit companies across the country have seen complaints about drivers texting or doing paperwork while driving.

All it takes is a single employee's bad tweet — like a Burger King staffer standing in a tub of lettuce — to send companies scrambling to contain the fallout.
Lettuce









But there are some HR learnings from all this.

Preparation matters

A company's reputation is one of its biggest and most important assets. In a crisis, you only have one chance to send the right message.

Consider every situation your organization might face, from an appalling accident, an offensive tweet, or a customer service issue. Have you assessed the possible risks to your company’s reputation? Who will coordinate your response when reporters call or a picture/video of one of your employees goes viral? What is your spokesperson empowered to say? What are employees authorized to do? More importantly, what is your message to your customers, employees, and the public?

You need a game plan for every possible situation. Your team needs to understand and practice their roles. Do they have the required training and are they empowered to act in the best interests of the company? The stakes are simply too high not to be prepared.

Some organizations may need to train employees on the increased customer service expectations that exist in today’s very visible business environment. More and more employees in the electricity industry are being required to deal with client’s face-to-face, be they on the line in a call centre or on the road changing our streetlights. They need to understand how any bad interaction can damage the organization’s reputation, and that they need to provide consumers with the best experience possible.

Workplace culture, and unhappy employees

At United, Munoz defended his employees — who exercised poor judgment — and was critical of the customer who was hauled off the plane. In my view this demonstrates a serious lack of leadership. If this is the example given from the top, is it surprising that employees share the same perspective?

As most people who travel these days know, it’s not uncommon to hear airport staff ask for passengers to give up their seat, as the plane has been “overbooked.” But I don’t think any of us expect to be physically forced to leave our seat once already boarded and ready to depart.

What becomes obvious is that United put its policies ahead of its customers. In following the “rules,” employees actually allow this situation to escalate to the point of physical abuse and mental trauma. United needs to look long and hard at their employees, their satisfaction within the company, and why they felt that it was acceptable to respond as they did. Content employees are also more likely to go out of their way to provide better client experiences and ensure customers are better served.

“I am personally sorry that my immediate response, and the response of our airline, was inadequate in that moment,” he said during a House Transportation Committee hearing May 2nd.

Munoz promised the company will “do better.”

To make good on that promise, United has to not only gain the trust of customers, it must give leadership, direction, and vision to its employees. They need to know how to respond to customers properly, and to be empowered to bend the rules when it would contribute to the company’s greater good. Right now there is clearly no “greater good” here.

Many people around the world have said they will no longer fly with United Airlines. And with that type of corporate culture why would you want to work for them?

Michelle Branigan is CEO Electricity Human Resources Canada.

 

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ABB RoboticsABB Robotics is driving automation in the construction industry with new robotic automation solutions to address key challenges, including the need for more affordable and environmentally friendly housing and to reduce the environmental impact of construction, amidst a labor and skills shortage.

Robotic automation offers huge potential to enhance productivity, efficiency and manufacturing flexibility throughout the construction industry, including automating the fabrication of modular homes and building components off-site, robotic welding and material handling on building sites and robot 3D printing of houses and customized structures. 



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Canadian Electrical Contractor Discussion Group: Can You Count the Deficiencies?

EIN CECD 400Have you ever been called to fix the work of a 'handyman'?

"Was supposedly done by a"certified ' electrician....told the homeowner that he got a $266 permit....no record at TSBC. Can you count the deficiencies?"

"There is a second panel change in the triplex also.......even more deficiencies. Think the guy was a glorified handyman. Ones not obvious: 240 BB heat hooked up 120....drier on 2p20....range on 2p50....water heater fed with 2c14 Bx on 2p15."

Go HERE to join the discussion

 


 

Smart GridHarnessing Canada’s immense clean energy resources requires transformational investments to modernize our electricity grid. The Government of Canada is investing in renewable energy and upgrading the electricity grid to make clean, affordable electricity options more accessible in communities across Canada.

The Honourable Seamus O’Regan Jr., Minister of Natural Resources, today launched a $964-million program to support smart renewable energy and grid modernization projects that will lower emissions by investing in clean energy technologies, like wind, solar, storage, hydro, geothermal and tidal.

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Trilliant Partners with the City of CowansvilleThe City of Cowansville in south-central Quebec is the largest city in the Brome-Missisquoi region, with more than 15,000 residents. Despite being a smaller-sized city, it is known as an economic and industrial hub.

It also has a strong focus on innovation and efficiency — as demonstrated by decisions such as the one it made in 2017 to use beet juice to help combat icy winter roads, allowing the City to reduce the amount of salt it was using, thereby saving money and decreasing the impact on the environment. 

 

 

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Keith SonesBy Keith Sones

The writing was on the wall.  The closures would happen. But a lot of people were upset, and I was one of them. 

In the early 2000s, my family and I were living in a mainly rural (at least by city dweller standards) valley in south central British Columbia.  The West Kootenay region is known for its diverse outdoor recreation activities and as a great place to raise a family.  It has a proud industrial history, evidenced through the longstanding pulp mill, a massive lead zinc smelter a few miles away and several hydroelectric dams, all of it within spitting distance of the mighty Columbia River. 

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The Lumenquad Small and Medium are the latest additions to a family of sleek, elegant, high-performance projectors that has already been validated with honours, including recognition in the PIA Awards in 2019, together with a Lux Awards for Exterior Luminaire of the Year in 2019. 

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Wiha Lineman's Pliers and CrimpersWiha Insulated SoftFinish® Cushion Grip Pliers and Cutters are the standard for premium quality featuring ergonomic cushion grip handles for comfort and control, dual durometer construction for long-lasting durability, and handles directly molded to the tool steel for a permanent bond.

The grips feature a slip guard handle design for added protection at the front-end and raised rear-finger steps for easy opening at the back-end. Wiha Insulated SoftFinish® Cushion Grip Pliers and Cutters consist of premium quality tool steel for strength and durability and induction hardened cutting edges and jaws for superior sharpness and longevity. 

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eLumigen Poultry Lamps - 2000K, 3000K & 5000KIdeal for rough service applications, the A19 & PAR Series are engineered for high efficiency, vibration resistance, shatter-resistance, elevated heat environments, and wet locations. These dimmable LED Lamps help reduce energy costs, labor costs, and the headaches of frequent lamp changes in tough applications.

eLumigen employs a unique 21-point validation process that goes above and beyond industry standards. Our lamps have been tested to survive levels of vibration exceeding 20G forces. Our unique temperature foldback design improves both safety and thermal management of our lamps. 

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House of Electrical SuppliesFrom small construction to sophisticated industrial projects, House of Electrical Supplies has been servicing clients in the industrial, OEM, entertainment, and construction markets across the Greater Toronto Area for just over 40 years. The company has earned a reputation for providing a high-quality customer experience.

As per President Austin Brennan, their experienced and knowledgeable team can be depended upon in any situation to deliver quick and efficient service. On top of their product solutions — ranging from electrical, automation, safety, lighting and portable power distribution — 

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