For Hallmark Housekeeping Services Inc., going “above and beyond” means more than exceeding day-to-day expectations. In August of 2018, the company put its ability (and willingness) to step up for its clients on full display when it rallied its entire team to respond to an extreme rain event.
“Building emergencies are always a challenge, particularly when the stakes are high,” recalls Christopher King, Vice President, GTA, for Hallmark Housekeeping Services Inc. “Flooding, in particular, can be operationally and financially debilitating, which is why it was so important that our response was immediate and effective.”
Although many on Hallmark’s team were attending an industry event on the evening of the storm, they immediately cut their night short to set up an “ops centre” at a nearby site and got to work.
Over the next hour, over 150 Hallmark operators and technicians joined regularly-scheduled staff to respond to urgent requests from key commercial properties throughout the city. Together, the teams used wet-vacuums and extractors to remove water from lobbies and common areas, set up blowers and fans to dry carpets and other floorings, deployed trucks to pump out water from parking garages, cut drywall to remediate mold, and in some cases, closed and secured entire building areas to tackle major restoration activities.
“We worked quickly with our client partners at each site to determine the best actions and solutions based on the specific needs of the building,” says King.
No doubt, it was all hands-on-deck the night of Toronto’s big storm. As such, virtually everyone on Hallmark’s roster joined in the restoration efforts, from top-level executives to operations personnel, technicians, cleaners, equipment experts, and everyone in between. Their quick work helped some of Toronto’s most important commercial properties mitigate floodwater damage to critical systems and assets, saving them thousands of dollars in potential damages.
“As the water began entering the building, Hallmark was able to expeditiously dispatch external operators and equipment, while many of their on-site staff voluntarily worked all through the night,” recalls Gregory Brent, Senior Director, Property Management, Downtown Office Portfolio for Menkes.
Hallmark’s timely response also enabled many of their clients to return to “business-as-usual” the following day, with minimal impact on their tenants and their operations.
“Our team has an unbridled commitment to serving our customers, which was evidenced during the flood event by their willingness to work tirelessly through the night, without reservation,” notes King.
Of course, he adds, preparedness was also a factor: “Hallmark has a deep operational structure and numerous resources available to support our sites on any day, and at all hours. It’s our extensive resources that allow us to provide our customers with the quickest and most reliable service, delivered with the highest level of quality.”
Hallmark’s quick and coordinated response during the landmark storm echoes its overall service philosophy. In many ways, the company encourages its teams to apply the same willingness to push past expectations on a daily basis. This is accomplished through a broad range of employee recognition and incentive programs such as its “Kudos!” initiative, Scholarship Program, staff appreciation events, and regular perks and engagement initiatives.
“Service is everything to us, and our ability to deliver service at the highest level comes down to the efforts of our people,” says King. “By fostering an organizational culture that empowers, engages, and motivates its employees, we are able to go above and beyond the call of duty to ensure that we not only meet but exceed the expectations of our customers.”
These efforts and more made Hallmark a deserving recipient of the 2019 BOMA Canada “Above and Beyond” Pinnacle Award, which King says has given the team a good reason to celebrate: “This award gave us an opportunity to tell a great story about the dedication of our team, and when we won, it gave us an opportunity to show them how much they are appreciated.”