The COVID pandemic has created challenges for many businesses over the past two years, but customer-facing industries such as travel, were among those worst affected. As planes were grounded, events cancelled, country borders closed and other restrictions were put in place, demand for travel related services dropped dramatically.
American Express Global Business Travel (GBT) is all too aware of the challenges created by the pandemic. Together with many other companies, it sent employees to work from their homes. But with nobody traveling and no events taking place, business practically halted overnight, and it soon became clear that budget cuts were needed. That sadly included having to lay off or furlough many employees.
As COVID restrictions lifted, American Express Global Business Travel (GBT) needed to act fast to schedule the onboarding of 800 employees to prepare for the spike in customer demand.
The company switched its focus to implement programs that would help it weather the storm. Then, earlier this year, as restrictions started to lift, it knew it had to act fast. Many businesses wanted employees to begin traveling again and others wanted to reschedule the events they’d previously been forced to cancel. For GBT, that meant they needed to rapidly restaff operations to prepare for this spike in demand. In fact, they needed to get 800 employees back up and running in a matter of weeks.
That’s no small task – particularly with regulations still in place that meant many employees would still be working virtually. Like many companies they now had to implement anywhere operations on a wider scale to ensure their teams had all the equipment they needed to successfully do their jobs wherever they were based. It started with a plan to contact furloughed staff as well as potential new recruits, to schedule appointments, and begin the onboarding process for candidates around the globe. Patti Court, Director of End User Computing at GBT, and her team were charged with making that happen.
The team knew that on average it takes around two hours to schedule one person. They needed to contact each one to agree on a suitable time for onboarding. But by the time the user confirmed their availability, the time slot may already have been filled and they’d have to rebook times resulting in another round of multiple calls and emails. Weekly reports sent to department heads, keen to understand how soon they would have full teams up and running, also ate into their time.
It was clear that the team wouldn’t be able to manage this mammoth task within the time frame they had. But since GBT was already using ReadyWorks for its global Windows Servicing program, they felt confident that it could help them with this task as well.
Tight deadlines and scheduling complexities meant the team needed a new way of working.
After one hour of training, everyone was up and running.
“The time and effort of scheduling employees was cut dramatically,” said Patti. “By utilizing ReadyWorks all members of the team had access to a single, real-time view of the schedule. That meant that if more than one team member was trying to book a time slot, the fastest to enter details in the system was successful, and other team members could see it was booked. There was no need to go back and rebook with applicants because of scheduling clashes.”
By leveraging the orchestration and automation capabilities of ReadyWorks, the time spent emailing applicants was eliminated. As soon as an appointment was entered into the self-service portal it triggered an email to the end user confirming the details and any other information they needed, leveraging pre-loaded templates within ReadyWorks. This meant that team members didn’t need to cut and paste details and manually send emails.
Reporting time was also slashed. With no need to pull together information from multiple spreadsheets, it was a matter of checking the portal and sending a single link to all business heads so that they could see in real time the progress that was being made on staffing their departments.
"Using ReadyWorks, scheduling each employee actually took around 30 minutes – a quarter of the time it would traditionally take. That took a massive weight off the team and meant that we could schedule 800 people for onboarding in 2 weeks"
Director of End User
Computing at GBT
The company’s return to work initiative has expanded, assisted by ReadyWorks. The team has grown to 12 and they have scheduled 1,250 employees to be onboarded. As onboarding activities evolved and new information needed to be distributed to candidates, the team found it easy to make changes to the email templates in ReadyWorks to ensure the process continues to run smoothly and scheduling happens quickly.
Beyond scheduling new employees for onboarding, GBT can use ReadyWorks to conduct anywhere operations. Applied to the employee experience, anywhere operations focuses on managing the asset requirements of enterprise end users, wherever they are.
For example, using ReadyWorks it is easy for the IT team to see equipment held by furloughed employees. They can check if anything needed to be replaced, or if the hardware, OS, and applications need updating. Employees can use the self-service portal to confirm their location, equipment requirements, and availability to receive equipment. They can also schedule IT support if needed.
The IT team can automate communications to the end users, including shipping details and instructions for returning equipment that has reached end-of-life and needs to be managed appropriately in accordance with IT asset disposition policies.
Learn how ReadyWorks can help you meet the challenges of anywhere operations. Schedule a demo.