AccessEAP, one of the founders of the EAP (employee assistance program) industry in Australia, has had to adapt quickly to the changing conditions brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic.
AccessEAP fast-tracked its deployment of RingCentral Office® and RingCentral Contact Centre™ to ensure the continuity of its ongoing operations and the ability to support its customers and their employees during times of crisis – like the one we are in right now.
To date, RingCentral licences have been rolled out for 40 staff, helping them to work remotely. AccessEAP’s frontline customer service agents and supervisors who are now working from home still have access to full contact centre functionality and internal collaboration tools.
“We had already made the decision to migrate to RingCentral, but with the increasing threat of COVID-19 in Australia we needed to get things in place much sooner than originally planned,” said Mark Hindle, Director of Technology at AccessEAP.
The EAP industry in Australia has been undergoing rapid expansion, with AccessEAP experiencing 20% year-on-year growth and increasing its headcount by 25% in the past 12 months alone.
One of the reasons for this is a greater financial and legal responsibility on employers to prevent and relieve workplace stress. AccessEAP has seen a spike in demand for its services as a result.
AccessEAP currently has more than 60 call queues and has been contracting a third-party call overflow provider to help manage the volume of inbound calls being received daily from its clients (the employees of its customer organisations).
The number of calls being handled by its call overflow provider had already been climbing rapidly over the last six months, so AccessEAP faced a considerable financial risk if its agents lost productivity and capability transitioning to a work from home operational model.
“We are a profit for purpose organisation – everything we make goes back into the welfare programs we support that provide for vulnerable children and families in the community. Every dollar we have to pay to a third-party provider is a dollar less we contribute back to the community,” says Hindle.
Since rolling out RingCentral, Hindle has seen the call overflow volumes drop by almost two-thirds in just two weeks. “That’s thousands of dollars saved every week.” The RingCentral system automates non-urgent calls that go to voicemail by converting them to text and sending them to the email queue, ready to be actioned the next day or by the next available agent.
In fact, without RingCentral in place and with agents working from home, all of AccessEAP’s calls would have been answered by the call overflow provider. The costs would have been astronomical, said Hindle.
RingCentral also supports AccessEAP’s work from home agents with the team participating in daily huddles, and weekly and bi-weekly supervisor reviews – all via video meetings. Analytics, call routing, whisper and remote listening in features are all available to AccessEAP’s management team to ensure agents are getting the support they need when they are often dealing with very stressful situations with clients.
AccessEAP is in the process of setting up a special 1800 number for healthcare workers directly affected by the COVID-19 pandemic. That will give clients a dedicated hotline and a priority response when they call in for much-needed counselling and support.
“With the recent bushfires, and now this pandemic, there are a lot of issues workers are dealing with right now, and will be dealing with for some time to come. It’s good to know that organisations like ours are there to support them,” said Hindle.
AccessEAP is a not-for-profit organisation and one of the founding members of the EAP (employee assistance program) industry in Australia. EAP is a work-based intervention program designed to assist employees in resolving personal issues that may affect their performance. The organisation has 75 direct staff and an associate network of over 2000 clinical professionals across Australia and New Zealand.
The core service of AccessEAP is confidential counselling which is a short-term and solution-focussed service offered to individual employees. Employees and immediate family members (in some cases) have 24/7 access to qualified counsellors for any psychological problems.
AccessEAP also focuses on pro-active and preventive measures to help organisations better understand and prepare for mental health and wellbeing issues arising from work/life situations.
AccessEAP’s vision is for all workplaces to have mentally healthy employees and its mission is to create thriving workplaces, partnering with each customer organisation to promote, recognise and effectively manage the mental health of every employee.
Originally published 17 Apr, 2020