Home-based work has been identified by the New Brunswick government’s Economic Growth Plan as a key opportunity for job creation. Many companies are building distributed workforces and Opportunities NB (ONB), via its Workforce Strategy Team, is working hard to match New Brunswickers interested in that type of work with employers seeking talent.

India’s Hinduja Global Solutions (HGS) is one such employer. The company has had a presence in Canada for over 10 years, employing more than 2,000 people at contact centres across the country. HGS Canada now plans to grow its Canadian footprint with the launch of its home-based agent program, Work@Home.

Beginning Monday, HGS is making three stops across northern New Brunswick — in Edmundston, Bathurst, and Miramichi — to better get to know the province and meet its next round of potential employees.

Marco Colaiacovo, HGS Director of Strategic Partnerships, tells us more.

ONB: What exactly does the Work@Home program entail, and why choose New Brunswick?

Colaiacovo: Work@Home agents will provide support for a major Canadian wireless provider, and there are multiple roles available. We have customer care roles, of course, handling pricing and billing questions, and basic troubleshooting. There are also positions for more technically adept people; they provide advanced troubleshooting for things like internet connectivity. We also plan to offer roles supporting cable TV – ordering new channel packages, basic troubleshooting, and more.

Through Work@Home we plan to increase our employee base by 500 people across Canada by March 2018. We want at least 100 of those agents to be fluently bilingual, and that leads us to New Brunswick. Our client made it clear they were very keen to have bilingual agents supporting their customers. That’s why we’re excited to visit northern New Brunswick; we know great bilingual talent is there.

Tell us about the collaboration between HGS and ONB.

ONB’s support on this has been fantastic. We know the province has a strong customer care sector and a skilled bilingual workforce. When we spoke to ONB Business Development, we made it clear we had ambitious hiring plans. They immediately brought in your Workforce Strategists and that’s when we all hit upon the idea of this week’s “roadshow” as we’re calling it. HGS does not have a brick-and-mortar presence in New Brunswick, so we needed a way to introduce ourselves to New Brunswickers.

ONB helped us create this plan, and how to introduce ourselves to people, and helped decide the regions we should visit. Both teams agreed we’d focus on regions that will not only benefit us but would benefit the most from having us visit. ONB has gone above and beyond for us on this. You’ve even helped us with marketing collateral to ensure we’re delivering a message that will resonate.

Who is the ideal HGS Work@Home agent?

We’re looking at people that need to work from home. People in rural communities are key here; this provides an option that allows them to stay in their community. Curbing out-migration from rural areas is important, and it’s an issue faced by every part of the country. That said, people that have to move can work for us too, such as Military spouses. If their spouses get posted somewhere new they don’t have to quit their HGS job. This model also works for people with mobility challenges looking for zero travel, and for students looking for flexible work schedules.

Work@Home is great for people looking to save money on things like gas, travel time, parking fees, dining out, and even work clothing. You’re at home, it’s casual dress!

We provide all the necessary equipment for our agents; all we ask is that they have a feature-free landline phone, a high-speed internet connection, and a home space free from distractions.

You mentioned flexible scheduling, can you expand on that?

We allow employees to self-schedule. That doesn’t mean everyone gets a 9-to-5 day, but we offer segmented scheduling. Basically, we let people schedule work around their life because we know work-life balance is important to everyone. Shifts can vary from two to eight hours. For example, if your kid has a hockey game you can schedule yourself four hours before that, then take off to go watch the game.

Business requirements still exist and we need people during evenings and weekends, but HGS employees have a much higher degree of control of their schedule. We don’t give schedules to employees, they create the schedules based on business needs. Every company talks about work-life balance, we’re really trying to walk the walk.

Learn more at www.joinhgs.com.

HGS New Brunswick Roadshow: 

December 11 – 10am, Edmundston, Edmundston Convention Center, 74 Canada Rd

December 12 – 10am, Bathurst, Atlantic Host, 1450 Vanier Blvd

December 13 – 10am, Miramichi, Rodd Miramichi River, 1809 Water St

Written by Jason Boies