Case Study

HGS Work@Home enables 20% growth in FTEs in the backdrop of government-mandated wage increase

Industries
Telecom

Summary

Following a government-mandated wage increase of 21%, a leading communications company based in Canada was facing challenges with increased labor costs.  HGS mitigated the labor costs through a work-at-home model and a justified wage increase through volume optimization. This led to a growth of 600 FTEs (net) in 4 months, setting a foundation on how to handle remote work during a crisis.

Client Background

A communications giant with over $15B in revenue strives to provide the best in wireless, residential and media communication for its customers. Serving as their solutions partner for over 14 years, HGS handles customer support for the client, whose majority of sales and operations is based out of Toronto, Ontario.

Business Challenge

In June 2017, the province of Ontario, Canada was in the process of electing a new Premier. In an effort to win favorable votes, the governing party candidate announced an intention to increase minimum wages from $11.50 to $14/ hour.

This created significant budget problems- a 21% hike in wages would result in a $5M additional labor cost/year. With labor accounting for 85% of the total Cost of Goods Sold (COGS), this was a huge fiscal burden in their operations.

The bill was passed in January 2018, giving most organizations very little lead time to take necessary action. Over 1000 of the total 1,500 HGS employees supporting the client were in Ontario at the time, with a future requirement of 600 FTEs in the last quarter of the year.

The Solution

HGS’s solution was two-pronged: mitigating the labor costs through a work-at-home model and a justified wage increase through volume optimization.

Phase 1: Enable A Work-At-Home Model

HGS began a work-at-home model with a pilot in Barrie, Ontario with 25 employees. This three-month pilot provided the flexibility to expand the talent pool across Canada, reducing the operational costs of a brick and mortar setup. A work-at-home model employs smart technology, strategic workforce management, and best-in-class customer care leadership to drive significant cost-containment, enhanced employee retention, better workforce management, and faster ramp-up and reaction time to changing business needs. Here’s how HGS transitioned the support staff in a phased manner:

Intelligent transition from office-to-home setup

Phase 

Action

Soft Launch 

  • Identified the appropriate high-performing, reliable profiles of employees and leaders for the pilot project 

  • Created a section in the facility mimicking a work-at-home environment 

  • Provided support in a virtual environment model, including connections, support, training etc. 

  • Provided a safe environment for training the employees on possible challenges 

Tethered Environment 

  • Moved the employees to their home environment, working with the same support environment 

  • Made arrangements to return to the facility in case of any issues 

  • Measured and showcased the key operational metrics in an office vs. home setup (reliability, average handling time, quality in customer experience and scheduled compliance) 

While there was no difference in performance between an office and a home setup, the employable labor market opened up dramatically, given the fact that it was not landlocked within a specific draw area radius. After a successful pilot at Barrie, the work-at-home model was expanded to include other business lines.

Phase 2: Wage Increase

Riding high on the success of phase 1, the wage was increased by more than just the minimum acceptable rate. While increasing the wages was a tough decision, it eventually helped in better recruitment, lower attrition and a better quality of talent working for the client. With a competitive wage in the marketplace, achieving a large number of FTEs in a short duration of time was possible. The inevitable wage increase was easier to justify through volume optimization- more than 1200 employees were recruited over a 90 day period.

work

Results

HGS was able to solve for a significant staffing shortage, in a relatively short period of time, while withstanding a significant, legislated hourly wage increase in its most densely populated province.

  • 600 FTE growth (net) in 4 months in the backdrop of wage increase

  • Bucked the seasonal trend for tenured attrition- improved by 65%

  • Required vs. delivered capacity via retention and recruiting- 105%

  • Record recruiting numbers bolstered by new wage - 1200 employees in 90 days

Today, HGS is an integral part of the company’s expansion plans. In the backdrop of the current pandemic, there has been a significant increase in the call volumes, which HGS has been consistently fulfilling.

Are you looking to migrate to a work-at-home setup? Learn how we can help you launch and manage a successful work-at-home model.