While COVID-19 has proven an insurmountable challenge for many Australian businesses, The Deaf Lottery used the opportunity to reinvent its work and recruitment strategy – a decision that is delivering rewards.
The Deaf Lottery is the primary fundraising arm of Deaf Services and the Deaf Society, the largest whole of life service provider for Deaf and hard of hearing Australians. CEO Brett Casey said when faced with forced office closures in March in 2020, it was essential that all aspects of the organisation should continue.
“From the beginning, our focus was on business continuity for staff, our lottery supporters and of course the community members across the country who depend on our programs and services,” he said.
Our focus in 2020 was on continuity.
For The Deaf Lottery’s bustling head office, continuity during COVID was – to say the least – a complex issue.
The Deaf Lottery’s Brisbane inner-north office is home to operational, marketing and sales teams, as well as a 38 seat multi-shift Contact Centre, complete with complex telephony and customer management systems required to manage the hundreds of thousands of Lottery supporters who participate in seven lotteries every year.
Part of The Deaf Lottery’s busy Contact Centre.
For Head of Sales, Alex Fisher, it was a situation that required quick thinking and the ability to re-evaluate “traditional” ways of working.
Alex oversaw the movement of Contact Centre staff to a work from home model, a complex transition involving an overhaul of employee and IT work structures, as well as the numerous knock-on effects of such drastic change.
“For us it was as much about maintaining emotional infrastructure as it was engineering the behind-the-scenes technology,” Alex says.
“Health and wellbeing of employees was our number one priority as we transitioned to remote meetings and many individuals abruptly went from a vibrant office environment to home isolation.”
“Health and wellbeing of employees was our number one priority.”
Alex admits to worrying that the shift would affect sales performance, but says she was pleasantly surprised to find the opposite was true.
“Our sales remained consistent throughout transition and in the past few months have seen significant improvement,” she says. “I have been so impressed at how the team has adjusted to this new normal, and I think they are also enjoying the added benefits of a reduced commute, more time with family and increased flexibility.”
On the back of this success, in mid-2020 The Deaf Lottery began recruiting for permanent Work from Home Contact Centre Officers, a decision Alex says provided an opportunity to reach more candidates in particular those from rural and regional areas.
“I’ve long believed it is important that our team reflect the geographical diversity of the community who support The Deaf Lottery,” says Alex. “Not only does it add to our credibility, but it demonstrates our commitment to developing new leadership.”
Beautiful Tannum Sands
Renae Ward from Tannum Sands near Gladstone began work as a Contact Centre Officer in July and says she has thoroughly enjoyed her experience of working remotely.
“I’ve been very fortunate to find my role,” she says. “My previous role was severely affected by COVID shutdowns so I was looking for something more stable and I definitely found it. The support has been wonderful and even though I’m far away I still feel a great sense of connection to my colleagues.”
Renae has quickly asserted herself as one of The Deaf Lottery’s most consistent performers and has signalled at the success that could come from continued investment in regional recruitment. Along with new staff in Nambour, Gympie, Kingaroy, Caboolture, Broadbeach Waters and Sydney, Alex says she is excited to look even further afield.
“Deaf Services and the Deaf Society has recently begun delivering services in the Northern Territory, and I’m looking forward to providing more employment opportunities in this region as well as Cairns that is experiencing higher unemployment levels after Job Keeper ended,” Alex says.
It’s clear that this year of unparalleled uncertainty has rewarded organisations who have been able to challenge traditional thinking and embrace radical change, and Alex says this period of growth through innovation is only the beginning.
“Deaf Services and the Deaf Society have already achieved some amazing things this year, and I hope our Deaf Lottery supporters will join us on this exciting journey,” Alex says. “There’s still time to enter our current lottery and share in cash and prizes, all while supporting a great cause.”
Deaf Lottery 193 is now open and closes Sunday 4 July. If you feel like celebrating with $800,000, you can purchase tickets at www.deaflottery.com.au.
Every ticket sold in The Deaf Lottery Australia supports the vital work of Deaf Services and the Deaf Society, Australia’s largest whole of life service provider working every day to connect, empower and celebrate Deaf, deafblind and hard of hearing Australians of all ages.