Case Study: Telecom
Enabling a 20% growth in FTEs during a government-mandated wage increase
Canadian telecommunications and media company mitigates millions in labor costs and supports growth with work-at-home
A telecommunications and media 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 15 years, HGS handles customer support for this household name, whose majority of sales and operations are based out of Toronto, Ontario.
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 for the telco — 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 1,000 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.
HGS’s solution was two-pronged: mitigating the labor costs through a work-at-home model and a justified wage increase through volume optimization.
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:
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.
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 1,200 employees were recruited over a 90-day period.
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.
3-monthpilot proved the work-at-home business case
65%improvement in attrition with work-at-home
105%required vs. delivered capacity via retention and recruiting
1,200employees in 90 days
record recruiting numbers bolstered by new wage
600FTEgrowth (net) in 4 months in the backdrop of a wage increase
$5Madditional labor cost/year reduced and justified through volume optimization and work-at-home