The Most Inspirational Business Story in America.
Underguard Teleservices first opened its doors in 2017, with its headquarters located about 1 hour north of Memphis, Tennessee. Underguard’s Founder Casey Hannah, started the company because he realized several areas of opportunity after serving 6 years as a Call Center Director at a boutique call center outsourcing Company. Those areas were in Cost, Employee Turnover and Talent Recruitment. He recognized the cost of doing business in America was rising. When he began as a Director, minimum wage in Minnesota was $7.25 and in 2019 some parts of Minnesota are on their way to $15.00. As such the operational costs were on track to increase over 100%. This increase in cost had to be passed thru to the client and some clients had little choice but to take their business to the Philippines or Pakistan, as some did. So he began to explore ways in solving this while maintaining the USA footprint the company was built upon.
A second challenge was Employee Turnover. Casey created a one of a kind culture in the call center, he was responsible for routinely making breakfast for his staff, taking them out for pizza and buffalo wings on the weekends and having an employee designed attendance policy, empowering his staff to create policies which they greatly appreciated (under his guidance of course). Even with this unique culture, Casey noticed people would leave for higher paying jobs or jobs that became available closer to their homes. He began to think of how to address this.
The third challenge Casey encountered was attracting the right people for the call center job. With around an 80% annual turnover rate (still below a national average), the talent pool in the community became more scarce after the site had been operational a few years. To attract employees the company had to increase it’s starting wages and perks to get employees to respond which had an overall effect on the companies profitability.
The Result? An idea that would be unique, even controversial in its approach to Call Center Management. It would manifest to the “Smart Sourcing” approach where the company would partner with Correctional Facilities and put Inmates in the driver seat as part of a job development, skills program. The company would employ US citizens service a minimum sentence and Underguard bring in its