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Rising to the Challenge: Part Two

28/04/2020 By Daniel Hill-Smith Group Executive, Operations
COVID-19 Operations
By Daniel Hill-Smith Group Executive, Operations
COVID-19 Operations

How TSA are onboarding 500 FTE to rapidly respond to our Client needs

In yesterday’s article, I discussed TSA’s newest challenge of onboarding 500 FTE and how we are responding to this. I stepped you through TSA’s planning process to enable us to reach a ‘ramp ready’ state,  (You can find the article here for those of you who missed it). Today, I’d like to outline the process of planning, identifying critical dependencies as well as outlining how as a business,  you can bring your people on the journey with you.


Ramp Planning and critical dependencies

So the wheels are in motion and everyone is wanting to know more… ‘When?’‘Where?’ ‘How many seats?’ etc. Your first port of call is to build a  ramp plan, but where to start? TSA has tackled this by first answering key questions that helped define our onboarding plan.

  • Will training be in the office or will the team learn remotely?
  • What is the duration of the training period?
  • How many trainers do we have currently and how many more will we need?
  • What does our current talent pool look like? Can we draw on our existing talent pool to deliver training?. 
  • How many training rooms are currently available?
  • How many training rooms could we create through partitioning production floors?
  • In the interest of speed, will AM + PM training classes be necessary (e.g. 6:00am-2:30pm, 3pm-12:00am). To combat the spread of COVID-19 we would arrange a deep clean of the room from 2:30 pm-3:00 pm. 
  • Are there any public holidays that need to be accounted for? E.g. a 10 day training period over Easter will extend training by an additional two working days. 
  • What is our ratio for frontline team members to each of our support roles?
  • How many new support roles will be required?
  • How many of these roles could we confidently source internally? 
  • What is our backfill plan for our successful internal candidates?
  • Do we need to recruit externally for leadership?
  • If so, do we need to factor in time for these team members to complete frontline team member training prior to taking on their leadership role?
  • Are there any dependencies/lead times on access, provisioning or profile creation?

At this point, the observant amongst you would be saying “Dan, come on, what about recruitment capacity?”. Well, at the outset of our ramp, I asked the same question to our talent team.  We agreed that operations would share a “Maximal” ramp plan with the talent team. The Maximal ramp plan is the quickest plan that the operational team could execute with high quality, speed to competency outcomes based on the above 14 questions. 

What came first, the chicken or the egg? In our case, we found the operational plan was more beneficial to create first as there were a far greater number of moving parts. This then became an anchor point to plan a recruitment strategy.



 This one seems obvious, however, in my experience, it is often overlooked. A large ramp is an opportunity to embed and nurture your business culture. Failure to seize this opportunity may highlight flaws in the plan.  Your people are your biggest asset so it’s important to take the below considerations. How can we continue to build team member engagement with:

  • The business purpose
  • Their one up leaders
  • Their teammates
    • Are the business values/behaviours/ways clearly defined and communicated in onboarding material?
    • During recruitment and training will our new team members be aligned to the organisations:
  • Mindset
  • Skillset and;
  • Toolsets
    • Does our team have the ability to embed and nurture these values with new team members post their classroom training?
    • How will we ensure our new team members feel supported through their learning?
    • Do our leaders have clarity on company culture and do they themselves emulate the principles?

There may be associated actions that require consideration in the creation and nurturing of a strong business culture. As an example, we built out a specific 5 days leadership development training for all external leaders who we onboarded so they understood who we are as a business, our beliefs, values and leadership style. We also made the decision to bring in all new hires to central training locations for a minimum of 3 weeks prior to moving to WFH. This allowed us to nurture a team culture on-site and ensure the first weeks of customer interactions our people felt supported.


In summary

 The COVID-19 impact on overseas operations is significant and we are still navigating what this means for our teams. It’s a tough time in the Philippines and will continue to be until the quarantine is lifted, however in the words of Winston Churchill “Never let a good crisis go to waste.”

As tough as this situation is, we cannot overlook the opportunity it presents to radically transform the ways that Australians interact with brands and businesses. Companies will be defined in this period by their ability to rapidly accelerate digital-first strategies and equally in their deployment of Australian contact centre operations.

If you, or your business, have any questions, please reach out as we are happy to help.  All the best to everyone as we collectively navigate through the coming months!



TSA are Australia’s market leading specialists in CX consultancy and services. We are passionate about revolutionising the way brands connect with Australians. How? By combining our local expertise with the most sophisticated customer experience technology on earth, and delivering with an expert team of customer service consultants who know exactly how to help brands care for their customers.

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