The rapid onset of the COVID-19 crisis has created a fundamental fracture in the ordinary ways of living and of doing business.
In the face of this crisis, RelateCare have taken swift and decisive action to respond to this new world. The goal is two-fold: to support our client partners in maintaining service excellence in whatever way is necessary, and to protect as many of our employees as possible by finding ways to deliver our service without risk to their health.
Displaying remarkable agility, RelateCare accomplished this goal by quickly transitioning a large segment of our workforce to a Work-From-Home model. RelateCare have always had a remote-worker function to allow a small percentage of our employees to work from home, but this was ramped up in recent weeks.
With the new guidelines regarding social and physical distancing, it was necessary to make this transition to protect our employees and stop the spread of the virus, while also maintaining service delivery to client partners.
Here is how RelateCare did it:
Step 1: Survey Employees to determine suitable Work from Home candidates:
The first step was to engage with members of the workforce to determine who was a suitable candidate for remote working. In order to be a suitable candidate, employees would have to:
- Ensure they have the correct broadband connection and internet speeds
- Have and maintain a designated workstation where home life would never interfere during scheduled work hours (i.e. no external noises, pets, etc.)
- Ensure that this workspace was GDPR, HIPAA, ISO27001-2013 compliant (e.g. no other person should be in the room when taking calls)
According to Director of Learning and Development, Brendan Magan:
“We quickly put together a survey for all our employees to get immediate feedback on who was a suitable candidate and had the required means to make this work”.
Step 2: Invest in the necessary technology
Once it was clear that remote workers had the available space and infrastructure at home to allow them to work, the next step for RelateCare was to invest in the relevant equipment and software to ensure our remote workers were well equipped to offer the same excellent service that our client partners are so used to.
This was a challenge given the speed at which everything happened. There was huge pressure on many organizations to find hardware such as laptops, headsets, monitors etc. But thanks to the strong and consistent relationship RelateCare has with our vendors, we were able to obtain the relevant equipment.
Step 3: Support employees through training materials and policy documents
RelateCare then began supporting our employees as they transitioned home in waves of 5-10 to give them time to set-up and test.
In order to do this, RelateCare’s team of experts quickly created a series of training materials and policy documents that outlined in a clear and simple format the necessary steps involved in setting up your workstation, as well as the core skills, attitude and knowledge that people need to enable them to support clients and their patients.
Step 4: Introduce virtual online teams to offer real-time to support to employees
Alongside the creation of training and policy documents, it was necessary to provide real-time support. According to Brendan,
“Though the documents were essential, it was just as important to provide real-time support to remote workers. This meant that we (our trainers and technology teams) were on -hand night and day to take calls and assist employees in getting set up. It can be intimidating for some employees to do this alone so we wanted to support as much as we could”.
This allowed our remote workers to ask questions ‘on the fly’ and feel comfortable that if they met an issue, they would have the resources to solve it.
Step 5: Create a robust e-learning strategy
Using a learning management software (LMS) platform RelateCare were able to create a suite of e-learning tools that allowed us to push content to our agents wherever they are, depending on what they need.
Part of this strategy required ongoing negotiation with our client partners to determine the precise type of service they require during a crisis. For some, changes were being made daily in relation to hospital visitation policies, prior-authorization requirements, Covid-19 testing, appointment visit types etc. It was imperative that RelateCare updated training materials and knowledgebases real-time to ensure representatives were always relaying accurate and up to date information.
In addition to the above steps RelateCare also:
- Promoted employee engagement and communication through virtual huddles and frequent check-ins with their colleagues and Team Leads
- Engaged our Quality Assurance teams to listen to remote workers to check audio and service quality and offer feedback
- Ensured our Workforce management team monitored call queues and core contact center key performance indicators to ensure that we were always staffed appropriately.
So far, this transition has proven to be a great success. Within an extremely short time frame, dealing with high-levels of stress, RelateCare have managed to maintain a high-level of service excellence for their clients, while adding new COVID-19 specific workstreams to offer support and reassurance to patients.
RelateCare will continue to do what they can to protect workers while delivering for our clients.
If you are considering a remote working solution, please get in touch with firstname.lastname@example.org