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Rising to the Challenge: Part One

April 27, 2020 By Daniel Hill-Smith Group Executive, Operations
COVID-19 Operations
Article
By Daniel Hill-Smith Group Executive, Operations
COVID-19 Operations

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

It’s not every day a contact centre is requested to onboard 500 FTE. It’s even rarer when this 500 FTE is required in  Australia. With the impact of COVID-19 spreading, this challenge is being hurled towards countless companies with both in house and outsourced contact centres. As a result of natural disasters, our Philippines team is well versed in large scale, rapid onboarding processes. However, our Australian team, like many Aussie contact centres, tend to onboard largely for maintenance and efficiency.

 

The Executive and Group Leadership team at TSA have worked closely together over the last four weeks to create a thorough plan to respond to both our Clients’ needs and the impact of COVID-19. I am proud to say that over this period, we have successfully deployed a blended work from home (WFH) and in-office resources model. Today, I’m releasing part one of a two-part article which will address TSA’s Response Plan, at the time of publishing this article, we have onboarded 400 of 500 new recruits!  

 

Whilst this isn’t a one size fits all approach, I am hoping this article may help other businesses out there who may be ramping their headcount, contact centre or otherwise. It’s pretty high level so please feel free to get in touch with me directly if you have any detailed questions.

 

Approval is granted and your Australian footprint is growing…

At this stage, it is natural for every fibre of your being to be saying act now! The reality is, acting without carving out time for proper planning can be more detrimental than expected. With this in mind, we locked ourselves away for a day to create a high-level project plan and itemise the tasks that have external dependencies.

 Our experience with rapid deployment of team members meant that we instinctively knew that we needed to prioritise actions that required lead time, ensuring they were addressed first. From our team workshop we left with the following key areas to consider:

  • Risk / Security Operations: We identified dependencies for Secops approval and our clients’ risk team sign off. From here, we ensured we had a solid understanding of what was required. We then completed and returned all documentation these teams needed to allow for their assessment. 
  • Recruitment: To get the ball rolling, our talent team immediately began advertising.  We were able to create a large pool of applicants from the get-go. From here, our Talent and Operations team’s spent some time together to ensure alignment on the candidate profile and the role requirements (e.g. working hours, skill sets, experience). With a specific candidate profile in mind, our talent team began screening. 
  • Consultancy: There is a wealth of knowledge in the industry and I can guarantee that whatever problem you are facing has been addressed previously. We have found value in asking ourselves;.’ Are there any areas in the growth that we are unfamiliar with’ or ‘Do we need a sounding board for these ideas?’ For the sake of a modest investment, to have a subject matter expert challenge your thinking or ratify your plan is well worth the investment.
  • Training Content and Process Documentation: When ramping and introducing new people to your business, regardless of the size of your organization, it is paramount that as a team, you are confident in the quality of your onboarding and training material. This is a great time to review and ensure that content is up to date and easily digestible. With the increased changes in the way we work (e.g. WFH tools and processes), it is pivotal that we get training right. An error in this content will be scaled across all your new team members and may take weeks to rectify.
  • Tech Hardware / Software: (In the current climate the demand for laptops, monitors, headsets, ethernet cables, webcams etc. is growing exponentially. lead time on this equipment can be up to 6 weeks if not stocked. This is also the time to review and consider licencing and access: VPN, Microsoft, Workforce licencing and Dialler licences are all paramount to the successful deployment of a ramp and WFH model.
  • Tech Infrastructure: We recognised that with our upcoming growth accompanied with social distancing measures, we were in a position where we needed to be conscious of space. We ordered additional switches to set up two new floors in order to train our new team members.  We also ensured additional bandwidth to be able to observe social distancing and facilitate training via zoom to get on the front foot. 
  • Government: There are a range of trainee subsidies and payroll tax incentives available from local governments. Training costs can quickly mount up so I suggest having a chat to a representative from the state government and/or reach out for advice on what your business may be eligible for.
  • Reporting / Development: Last, but not least, it is important to consider any new reporting or software that requires development so these teams can get a head start on the build.

 

Meeting cadence

This planning process is also a good opportunity to discuss ongoing rhythms. There are a lot of moving parts so defining who the key stakeholders are and how frequently the team needs to get together is pivotal. I would recommend appointing a project manager to keep tasks on track, we involved the below representatives on a daily stand up video conference from the outset of the project. 

  • Recruitment
  • Operations
  • Reporting
  • Training + Process design
  • HR
  • Facilities
  • IT / Access control
  • Workforce Management

 

In Summary

I credit our success in this initial period of our ramp to our thorough and conscientious planning. Tomorrow, I will post part two of this article which will detail planning, identifying critical dependencies as well as outlining how you, as an organisation can bring your people on the journey with you.

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