If your staff regularly go above and beyond for your business and your customers, it’s probably because you do the same for them. We look at how a focus on making the employee experience as brilliant as possible, particularly during the pandemic, helps businesses deliver incredible results.
It’s about values
Brand new cars and dream holidays are just some of the unusual perks that we have given away in recent years. But the real kudos is reserved for the winner of our annual national Ping Pong tournament, which everyone from the CEO to the greenest of new team members can enter.
“It’s all about creating a climate of genuine inclusivity and active participation,” explains Zahra Peggs, TSA’s Group Executive People & Corporate Affairs. “Lots of businesses say they have values, but we make sure we live ours every day.”
From being the first Australian contact centre outsourcer awarded carbon neutral status last year, to supporting schools for under-privileged children, to raising hundreds of thousands of dollars for stricken colleagues, we’re constantly striving to look after staff and give back to the community.
But there is purpose behind the fun, games, and bake sales that seem to go on almost daily in our Australia and Philippines contact centres.
“At the end of the day we are a business,” says Zahra. “So, while it’s obviously the right thing to do to look after the people who make that business possible, it’s also a sensible investment of time and effort. After all, it’s our people who ultimately look after our customers. Our philosophy is that if our people are happy, they’re going to keep our customers happy, too.”
The care factor
TSA Group’s animating philosophy is to consistently go above and beyond what’s required of us, exceeding the expectations of customers, clients, staff and investors.
Staff are provided with numerous benefits that aren’t industry standard, such as paid leave for those coping with domestic violence, or for those who volunteer for the emergency ser
TSA’s Shave the Brave and Dig Deep for Jarrod fundraisersvices during crises such as the 2019 bushfires.
“Much of our work involves supporting people and communities in distress,” says Jessica Foo, Group People Manager. “We recognise that the type of work many of our people do is emotionally taxing. We ask them to provide support to our clients’ vulnerable customers when they might well be feeling in need of support themselves. So, we have a range of programmes that ensure they get whatever help they need.”
TSA runs a number of programmes that focus on employee well-being and mental health. These include Happy Health Month, during which each week is dedicated to different areas of well-being, such as mind, body, community, and spirit. We run numerous events throughout those weeks and at other times of the year, which might include therapy puppy and kitten sessions, or massage angels in the office.
We take mental health very seriously indeed. Our employee demographic skews quite young, and for many, it’s their first time in the workforce. Our employee wellbeing partner, LifeWorks, enables employees to manage their own mental health with tools, blog posts, podcasts and learning modules. It also includes access to 24/7 best-in-class specialist counselling, covering everything from emergency psychological support through to financial coaching and even retirement planning.
Community and family spirit
The Philippines has a strong custom of ‘Bayanihan’, which refers to the spirit of communal unity, work and cooperation to achieve a particular goal.
Diana Peters, Group Talent Manager, and a recent arrival to TSA has been struck by this dynamic at the company. “If something happens to a member of the team everyone rallies round to help. That’s when you know you’ve forged a real community and team spirit.”
That’s just what happened twice in the last 2 years for team members who unfortunately were diagnosed with cancer. Over $50,000 was raised for Ronald McDonald House Charities. People went out and got tattoos, someone did a recreation of the chest waxing scene from ’40-Year-Old Virgin’, and the executive team all shaved their heads when the target of $25,000 was reached.
Another drive to support a colleague diagnosed with cancer raised over $125,000 for him and his family. When the chips are down everyone rallies round to support each other.
There is a community focus too, with the company’s carbon neutral commitment backed by support for indigenous peoples’ programmes, a stance that has been enriched by an ongoing dialogue with many of TSA’s household-name clients.
“We leave it to colleagues to suggest causes we should support, which is another way to help them get more involved,” says Jessica. “We have supported schools for under-privileged children, the Queensland droughts, and other recent natural disasters in both Australia and the Philippines. From dressing up as cowboys to hay-bail challenges we’ve crafted many experiences based around giving back, and supporting the most vulnerable members of our communities.”
According to Zahra it’s the regular little acts of kindness that are often the most meaningful. “For example, during the pandemic every member of staff received a hand-written card from their leader with a voucher to say thank you for being so flexible and believing in us. That’s not an easy task to do for over 2,500 people, but well worth it.”
Great employee experience
At TSA Group, the process of making people feel welcome and giving them a great experience starts from before day one, during the hiring process. We have built our candidate experience to be as streamlined as possible. We use the Vevo platform for video interviews, which takes less of a candidate’s time but also allows us to make more rigorous assessments as we can do roleplays and have them touch base with more people.
Later in the process, and pandemic-permitting, we also do site tours so new staff can get a feel for the business and team before they start. It’s important for us that new hires get to meet the executive leadership as early as possible, so they get a transparent impression of who we are, and also know that every senior manager’s door is open to them.
“For us it doesn’t matter who you are, where you went to school, or what you did before joining us,” says Zahra. “If you’re willing to work hard and have a go, we will back people to achieve that.”
This commitment to openness, a fair go, and staff development can be seen in the fact that many of TSA’s management team have worked their way up from the calling floor, including Zahra and Jess. The flipside, as Diana will attest, is that TSA is equally welcoming to new external hire, quickly making them part of the family.
A legendary part of TSA business is our rewards programme. This is built on the premise that if we do well as a business, then that success should be shared amongst all team members. Some of our most popular giveaways and incentives have included new cars and once-in-a-lifetime holiday experiences, and even a cash grab machine.
Every year we run a national grand slam ping pong tournament. One of the most traumatic things during the pandemic was that we had to put our table tennis tables away; it’s such a big part of our culture and we really felt the loss of them. We’re looking forward to gathering again this year in Perth where we fly in our finalists from all around Australia for a holiday and the chance to play in an Olympic-specification ping pong centre court.
The results speak for themselves
It’s been a hugely challenging past 18 months for everyone, and we think one of the main reasons that TSA has risen to meet those challenges is our constant investment in our staff and culture over the last decade or more. In both Australia and the Philippines, we have not only managed to protect the lives and livelihoods of our existing team members, but we’ve also provided opportunities for hundreds of new team members to join us and restart their careers after pandemic-related industry downturns.
The fact we already had a strong programme to assist staff members with mental health meant we were already in a good position when it came to supporting staff through difficult times and the transition to working from home.
“We know that we can only give great value to our clients and their customers if we have great people in our team who are motivated, and feel genuinely valued at work,” concludes Zahra. “It starts with our culture, which is not imposed from the top but created organically through a thousand daily interactions. The programmes, incentives and activities we run are an expression of that culture. You can’t fake it. Clients and customers know the difference.”
TSA are Australia’s market leading specialists in CX consultancy and contact centre consulting 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.