Blog

5 Things HGS Learned Ramping our Work@Home Program

By Marco Colaiacovo – HGS Work-At-Home Leader  

Working from home is increasingly a trend that delivers real benefits to businesses. Since our September 2018 launch in Canada, HGS’s Work At Home BPO Solution has grown its headcount by 70%. 

Here’s a snapshot of our Work At Home success:

  • Approximately 1,000 Work At Home employees across both U.S. and Canada--Because of the very nature of the Work At Home environment, we are able to provide cross-geo support to clients.
  • HGS was able to assist a client seasonal demand by adding 600 agents in a four-month period.
  • We now support 11 unique clients and 15 unique programs from home.

Our success has been reliant on five fundamental lessons learned early, which enabled us to overcome or avoid obstacles to growth:

  1. Commit as an organization.

Executive leadership must commit to a Work At Home Contact Center program, and they must be willing to accept and drive disruption. Too often organizations operate in a “safe” zone, in which traditional brick-and-mortar (B&M) processes are adhered to, this is not the case with HGS Work At Home, and that’s because traditional methods of operating and managing people may not be conducive to a successful Work At Home BPO solution. Instead, an organization must be willing and more importantly, be able to adjust and think outside the box. 

Individual stakeholder groups will drive the disruption; they must have the encouragement and confidence of an organization to implement what many would consider unusual processes. This includes self-scheduling with nontraditional shift lengths; nontraditional demographic targets; video enabled communications. These are all areas of disruption that are also critical to success.

Additionally, there must be top-down good governance. HGS executive leadership has embraced Work At Home and has driven the OneHGS mentality by promoting the creation of a unified approach, enabling all stakeholder groups to be nimble and flexible.

  1. Dedicate resources

Developing a Work At Home BPO solution and model is not a hobby---it’s a commitment and passion that takes dedicated people in dedicated roles to innovate and ensure sustained program growth. Too often, organizations believe employees can create and grow programs while doing their day jobs. It’s essential to ensure a dedicated Work At Home lead, one who is informed and passionate about achieving results—and one who can build and maintain bridges between stakeholder disciplines. Additionally, each discipline needs to have dedicated support to focus solely on Work At Home.

  1. Focus on Work At Home recruiting—it’s  not as easy as you’d think.

With a wider recruiting footprint, it should be easy to have more people apply! This is a true statement; however, the need is for qualified Work At Home staff. I’m often asked about the demographic of a Work At Home contact center employee. My answer is that this ideal employment demographic is not age-or gender-related, but rather, situational. Ideal Work At Home recruiting aims for employees who need to work from home, groups like: mobility challenged, scent sensitive, rural residents, or military spouses. These groups must be sought out. While singular focus on job boards will provide an organization a higher applicant pool, without an enhanced vetting process, trying to pare the applicant pool down will require extensive resources. Fit has never been more important in a recruiting effort than with the Work At Home environment.

  1. Build the Work At Home team structure from within

What better way to grow a unique program with its own unique environment than with people already in that environment? We have built our support and leaders from the existing Work At Home contact center teams. The reason is simply that these team members truly understand the environment and will be in a better position to motivate and manage people in that environment. A traditional brick and mortar employee will not have lived in Work At Home situations, so although they may be a top performer in a brick and mortar, they may not necessarily be a top Work At Home performer.

  1. Never stop building your Work At Home network

Driving the Work At Home program takes a solid network, whether it’s a government entity, economic development group, university, or other community partners. Remember when an organization is entering new jurisdictions, there are two things that need to happen, one is to introduce your organization to the area as most likely you are an unknown entity, the second is to educate on what Work At Home is and its legitimacy.

We start at the top and enlist our partners to help build our network. This takes physical visits and many conversations and demonstrations/presentations. But in the end, the network continues to expand, as a result the growing list of candidates who need to work from home.

Finally, remember that this solution must be a win for all. With focus on all of these elements, our HGS Work At Home BPO Solution appeals to all sides of the relationships. More and more, people are looking to work from home, and clients are in search of quality customer service solutions and support delivered to their customers.

About HGS

HGS is leader in BPO outsourcing work at home solutions.

Author Info
Marco Colaiacovo
Marco Colaiacovo

Marco is responsible for developing and growing the HGS Work@Home program. Working with all stakeholder groups, Marco drives innovation and direction to facilitate continual improvement. Over a 20+ year career in the contact center sector, Marco has collaborated with internal and external partners to create and deliver an environment that produces world-class service. Marco works out of his home office based in Dartmouth, Nova Scotia and also serves as President of Contact Centre Association of Nova Scotia.