The Boost – CAM-X Newsletter  August  2017 – Volume 1 Issue 20 

In this Issue : 

  1. A message from President Dana Lloyd
  2. Using the HR Power Centre – Real Concerns and Available Solutions by Two Grey Suits
  3. A message from your Member Development Committee
  4. A message from your Education Committee
  5. Vendor Spotlight – TASCOM

A message from President Dana Lloyd

Welcome to August.   For a lot of us across North America, the weather has finally warmed up and now  officially feels like summer.

I would like to personally welcome two new CAM-X members; The Physicians’ Exchange of Honolulu, Inc. (Rose Hamura and Francie Telona) and Consolidated Call Center Services from Mattoon, IL (Angela Freeman).  On behalf of CAM-X, we are thrilled to have you as part of our Association and look forward to meeting you soon.

In the news, there have been a few topics that have us paying attention.  The first is Canada’s Finance Minister, Bill Morneau’s, recent proposal on tax changes for businesses, specifically changes to capital gains tax exemptions and passive investment income.   The conversation on these topics has just begun but we are keeping abreast to see public reaction and next steps.

Also, and more urgently, is Kathleen Wynne’s (Premier of Ontario) plan to increase Ontario’s current minimum wage of $11.40 to $15.00 by January 2019, an increase of 32%.  In addition to the increase in minimum wage rates Wynne is planning for increased vacation time, increased call in pay and an increase in personal emergency leave days.   A study out of Seattle suggests that an experiment of a rapidly increasing minimum wage killed jobs at an alarming rate.  And most feel that the increase is too fast over too short a period of time, not allowing the economy to adjust at an appropriate rate.    The government’s Standing Committee on Finance and Economic Affairs will be holding public hearings and CAM-X has submitted a written submission to the committee outlining how these increases would negatively impact our industry.    We are also concerned that this will have a ripple effect across the country.  Alberta has already passed their $15.00 / hour minimum wage laws, which takes effect in October of 2018.

On a separate and less political note, we continue to work on the new website for CAM-X, making it more user friendly and current.   Also, the agenda is out, and registration is open, for this year’s Conference and Tradeshow in Vancouver, British Columbia. ( http://www.camx.ca/calendar/annual-convention-trade-show/ )

I hope everyone is enjoying their summer and I look forward to seeing everyone in Vancouver.

Kindest Regards,

Dana Lloyd

Using the HR Power Centre – Real Concerns and Available Solutions
By: Ron Guest, Senior Partner, TwoGreySuits  www.twogreysuits.com

Concern:
In the last while, we have lost a few good employees and I think this could have been avoided if we were doing things a bit differently on the people management side. The reasons that were given for leaving ranged from not being challenged enough, no growth opportunities and in a few cases dissatisfaction with their performance review or pay level.

Solution:
The departure of a good employee can certainly hurt a company and our experience is that it is often directly related to how they have been managed by their immediate manager. The HR Power Centre’s Performance Management Module contains an excellent section on improving supervisory skills that would be very valuable for all your supervisors and managers. By using the HR Power Centre, you can deal with these issues and prevent losing good employees in the future.

Concern:
We really don’t understand how to properly terminate someone. Some of the recent departures were not handled well and our remaining employees are asking a lot of questions that, frankly, we are having difficulty answering; questions like “was the employee given a warning?” and “why did they leave so quickly?” 

Solution:
The HR Power Centre has a very robust, comprehensive section on termination management that will enable you to handle these awkward situations smoothly with minimum disruption and cost to the company. The FAQ section of the Risk Management module has invaluable info about all aspects of terminations. There are also various forms of termination letters, including legal releases to be signed, etc. available. A call to our 24/7 HR Hotline may be in order.

Concern:
I have noticed recently that our employees are taking a more casual approach to punctuality and attendance. Nobody is raising it as an issue, yet. However, I am at the point where I need to say something to a few employees, and I want to be sure we are treating this issue consistently with employees across the company.

Solution:
The HR Power Centre has an Attendance Management section which would allow you to properly manage this situation going forward. Even though it may not look like an issue now, it’s best to have a more structured approach, including a formal policy on Attendance which is available in the Administration Module.

Concern:
When management is out of the office, very little work gets done around here. Some employees are telling me that when the management team is out, there is a select group of employees who take liberty with extra long lunches and breaks, long personal phone calls, personal internet surfing, etc. I think a lot of this has to do with the fact that employees don’t have defined job descriptions and set objectives to complete.

Solution:
Certainly you could benefit from a more structured people management approach on many fronts, like having defined people policies, a review process, and equipping managers with more information and tools on managing employees to agreed objectives. Often, in the absence of job descriptions and defined objectives per job, employee engagement is inevitably lower than it should be.

The TGS System is a one-of-a-kind product that includes:

  • A comprehensive on-line training course on employee engagement
  • An ever expanding training library of e-learning webinars on critical HR topics
  • The HR Power Centre for dealing with the day-to-day people management issues that inevitably arise
  • 24/7 HR Hot Line

Accessing the TGS System is simple. If you have not signed up email linda@camx.ca directly and we will help you out. It’s as simple as that and it’s free. Why wait?  Don’t let important people management issues go unresolved when you can deal with them today.

 

A message from your Member Development committee
By Gary Blair

A Message from Gary Blair:  Membership Development Chair

While summertime is not the period of the year that normally generates a lot of new activity, I’m very happy to reiterate the great news from the list serve this past few weeks and welcome once again our two newest CAM-X members.
Consolidated Call Center Services of Mattoon, Illinois  –  Angela Freeman.

and

Physicians’ Exchange of Honolulu, Inc.  –  Rose Hamura & Francie Telona.

I hope every member will take a moment to reach out and welcome both our new member firms!

Angela, Rose & Francie, it’s to note that first time Attendees at a CAM-X Conference are always very warmly welcomed, both officially and unofficially, so hopefully we’ll be able to convince you to come out and meet us all face-to-face at the annual CAM-X Conference & Trade Show in beautiful Vancouver, British Columbia, October 17th – 20th, 2017!
And to everyone – whether you’ve already taken holidays or will in the weeks to come, I wish each and everyone a wonderful summer break.  When you work hard, you need to play hard and there’s no time better than the summer to play!
Cheers

 

A message from your Eduction committee
By Barbara Bradbury & Sabrina Perron

After much soul searching, I have decided to step back from my position as chair of the education committee. Having been away from the day-to-day of the industry for 5 years now, I feel it’s best for CAM-X to make room for a “fresh face” to lead the way into the future.
Towards that end, I am actively seeking 2 people to co-chair this exiting committee responsible for our webinars and COACH U. My co-chair Sabrina Perron of I-24, and Cindy King of Telelink have agreed to remain, providing continuity, as will I.
If you, or someone in your company takes joy in helping others to grow, learn, and reach their personal and professional goals, we need you! My years on this committee have been more fulfilling than I can describe, and I have no doubt that you will feel the same.
If you are interested please let me know at Barbara@pasword.com.

Webinars

Mentoring – Wednesday August 9, 1pm EST
This FREE webinar is for anyone who would like to learn more about what it is to be a mentor, or is considering nominating someone for the Barbara Bradbury Mentoring Award.
Future webinars already in the works include:

Lead generation, speaker and date TBA

Bullying in the workplace – with Cindy King November, 2017

And watch the list serve and the BOOST for announcements about a series of very special workshops being planned for early 2018!

 

Vendor Spotlight – TASCOM
By Wayne Scaggs, TASCOM President

Alston Corporation started by building billing and test systems for the telephone companies in the mid- 1960s.  Then in the late 1970s AT&T contracted with Alston to build a Telephone Answering System that they could install in their central offices.  The system was built; however, the business portion of the deal fell through, so Alston had a system with no customers.  Alston decided to sell the TASCOM System direct and Tascom’s first system was installed in 1980.  It was a 32-seat Tascom redundant system and for many years Tascom dominated the large system market.

Today, Tascom’s largest system is over 100 seats, a far cry from the early days.  I want to share a short story.  Remember when (before TSA checks) you could walk or run onto an airplane as they were closing the door… and your carry-on just had to fit somewhere on the airplane… and before the internet, when data was transmitted over the telephone lines?  Back then, one of our 32-seat Tascom system’s main programming got corrupted.  Engineering figured out the issues and dialed (over a telephone line) into the system to upload a new program.  The engineers also needed someone on site to complete the repair.  One of our techs volunteered to go the next morning, and as a backup, was given a 5-megabit disk drive platter (the size of a large pizza) with all the programs on it.  The flight was from Ontario CA to Seattle WA; the tech rented a car, drove to the client’s location, and was on site even before the upload that started the previous day finished.  Wow, has technology changed.

TAS systems are at the heart of the information age and will remain an intricate part of information distribution for small businesses for many years to come.

Today’s TAS systems are a marvel to behold; light years from the systems that helped start the information age.  TAS systems are a seamless design of Microsoft™ SQL Database and Asterisk Soft-switch and have the following feature tools in common: HTTP and native SIP connections for all system communication (trunk, operator and internal), HIPAA compliance, monitoring of operators to train and improve the caller’s experience, and Client Web to enable your customers to manage their own accounts to the degree you allow, such as managing their own on call schedule.

Premise based TAS system has been the mainstay of the TAS industry.  While we’ve seen many TAS customers adapt to cloud configurations there are a significant portion of the TAS market that wants to continue the premise based business model.  Communications and configurations are now accessible through HTTP.   Administration becomes a lot easier since the agent stations communicate to a web server.  Wallboard apps are web accessible, making it easy to see how your business is doing in real-time.

Premise based systems operating in the “software” world – use dedicated or virtual servers.  No proprietary boards, less hardware, and solid Business Continuity plans are all benefits of the Asterisk/SQL offerings.

HOSTED SYSTEMS is another choice for today’s TAS.  To help visualize the hosted environment think of the Hosted System like a large office building that leases out office space to businesses.  The space is measured by the number of operator seats or workstations wanted.  Hosted system may have the same features as a premise based system however, vendor personnel perform routine support in this shared system due to security concerns.   In a true hosted scenario, you do not buy a system, you enter into an agreement to “rent” the system.  The hosted capital expense is far less that a purchase.

CLOUD SYSTEMS is another alternative.   This is a hosted system that is not a shared system and designed for larger businesses.  Clients on a Cloud System have decided they are much better managing their TAS business than managing a system, so more of their resources can be dedicated to their business.  In a Cloud System, each business has its own dedicated complete system.  This is a proprietary system exclusively for our clients with special customer needs.  Although they share the facility and our technical expertise, they do not share software, hardware or SIP ports.  Businesses on Cloud Systems tend to be larger businesses that require greater access or special requirements that are not available on the Hosted System.