29 Sept 2021
Interview with Terem CEO Scott Middleton and Attune CCO Tim Buzza about the Attune joint-venture and how it will improve workplace flexibility.
IAG, Australia’s largest general insurer, has partnered with Terem Technologies in a joint venture to commercialise the flexible workforce tech solution, Attune. Here we talk with Terem CEO Scott Middleton and Attune CCO Tim Buzza about the venture and how it will improve workplace flexibility.
Workplace planning, rostering and managing shift bidding as well as last-minute changes are massive challenges for contact centre operations.
Not only can they cause major headaches for organisational managers who need to keep the centre running as seamlessly as possible, but also for contact centre consultants and other employees who often have to juggle shift changes and experience a loss of control over their working hours.
But, thanks to a recent joint venture between Australia’s largest general insurer IAG and Terem Technologies, a groundbreaking flexible workforce management app will soon be widely available to call centres on a global scale.
Attune, previously known as ‘Switch’, has been used by IAG since 2019 in its contact centres across Australia. These centres assist NRMA Insurance and CGU customers.
Attune has been used by more than 300 IAG contact centre consultants and has enabled more than 30,000 shift changes. In 2020 Attune helped deliver a 9% increase in employee wellbeing scores, a 23% decrease in absenteeism and a 30% decrease in attrition.
Attune CCO and former IAG Workplace Innovation team member Tim Buzza, says Attune gives contact centre employees the flexibility they need to fit work into their life while also giving customers the right level of service and the business the outcomes it needs.
“Attune uses algorithms and a digital marketplace to manage supply and demand for different work shifts, automating the process,” Tim says.
Through the recently announced joint venture, Attune will commercialise the workplace flexibility software to enable workplaces, such as contact centres or retail stores, to provide a new level of flexibility to staff.
“This empowers contact centre employees to make changes to their rosters and work hours online without seeking manager approval,” Tim says. “This flexibility helps Attune’s customers become an employer of choice – like IAG – and win in the ever fiercer war for talent.”
Tim says before implementing Attune, the process of changing shifts in IAG call centres was manual and often involved several conversations, which was time consuming and labour intensive.
“In today’s world with the demands of work-from-home and a tight labour market, businesses need to provide flexibility and an environment that their people love,” he says.
“Attune offers employees the ability to earn ‘Flexcoins’ by opting to move to a shift that the business needs to be filled. Once they have enough coins, they can then use these to make shift changes when they need to.
“If the employee has enough coins in their wallet, the shift change is automatically and instantly approved. Attune introduces a radically better way for agents to manage their own schedules.”
Scott Middleton says Terem was attracted to Attune because it went beyond solving business problems.
“It provided solid financial metrics and literally changed the lives of staff that used it,” Scott says. “So much so that I’ve personally been brought to tears with some of the success stories from staff.
“Attune has enabled people to look after sick family members, manage home schooling and just get some time out when they’ve unexpectedly needed it.”
Kathryn, an IAG contact centre staff member and an early user of Attune says: “I managed to accrue FlexCoins from earlier shift swaps and I was able to attend my son’s and daughter’s sports carnival.”
Another IAG staff member was absent for 30% of her shifts because of her daughter's rare form of epilepsy. Using Attune, she rarely misses a shift and she’s able to care for her daughter.
Tim says Attune has provided a 10-times increase in flexibility to contact centre employees, and provides businesses with a clear return on investment by reducing absenteeism, attrition and inefficiencies in shift change approval processes.
“We have observed that a traditionally managed 350-person contact centre will make between 200-300 shift changes per month,” he says.
“The same workforce with Attune will make more than 2600 changes each month.”
Together, IAG and Terem believe the unique challenges of the pandemic and the increased demand for flexible work options across almost every industry, make it the right time to commercialise Attune.
“In this new work-from-home world, true flexibility, in the form Attune offers, is now a necessity to attract the best people. We want to bring about change for contact centres around the world,” Scott says.
A flexible workplace app, Attune has been used by IAG since 2019 in its contact centres in Australia to offer consultants greater flexibility and control.