Retail Operations Support Update

From the desk of Karen Orosco

Welcome to the next edition...

We committed to providing regular updates to the ROS organization in response to our focus on improved communication as a result of our Associate Engagement results; below is our most recent quarterly update! If you have any feedback, or would like to learn more about a particular area in a future update, please don’t hesitate to shoot me a note – feedback is a gift.


We are nearing the end of pre-season and I couldn’t be more pleased with the amazing support that you have all been delivering for your clients in preparation of TS16! The work you have done/are doing is going to ensure our field leaders are ready to deliver for our clients this year.

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WIG Update

We are trending to a solid Ready to Serve performance this year. The first milestone, 75% Ready to Work by 11/30, came and went with impressive results.


  • Prior TP – 84%
  • CSL – 82%



ROS plays a critical role in Hiring, CE, I-9 and PTIN. We also are critical to the design, development and execution of Skills and BW training. While there is still a lot of work ahead of us this is a very encouraging sign as we march towards 99% by 1/15/16.
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United Way Update

This quarter we held our annual H&R Block United Way campaign. I am proud to report that the U.S. Retail Team contributed over $20,000 to local communities both here in Kansas City and throughout the country, proving once again how amazing this team is when we rally around an important cause.


I also want to offer a special congratulations to Rick Heller in the CSO and Betty Jo Douglas in the OCOE who were the winners of our Chat or Charity United Way participation incentive. Thank you all for your participation in this year’s campaign!

Associate Engagement Update

The Retail Operations Support Associate Engagement goals this year are:

  • Achieve an increase in Communications from 73% to 80% by March 2016.
  • Achieve an increase in Agility from 70% to 75% by March 2016.


Attached you will find the tactics supporting these commitments; as we’ve said all along, as a leadership team, we are committed to delivering an improved experience for each and every one of you, our most valued assets! If you have feedback for what we can do more, better, differently – please speak up!


I would like to ask for your participation in a quick survey to gauge how we’re doing against our associate engagement plan; it should take you no more than 5 minutes. If you could please complete the survey by Friday, December 11th that will allow us ample time to review/adjust as we move into the new year.


https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/ROS_Mid-Year_Survey
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Aim High Every Day Update

We continue our commitment to having regular performance conversations consistent with the Aim High Every Day culture. When is the last time you had a performance conversation with your leader? Your associates? Reviewed your goals? If it’s been more than 4 weeks…get something on the calendar to have a discussion – whether you’re the leader or the associate, take ownership to have this discussion!


As a reminder for leaders who lead seasonal associates; while your associates are not in the Aim High Every Day system, you should still be having these discussions on a regular basis and leveraging the seasonal performance review form (attached) and in the DOC Toolkit (https://dna.hrblock.com/web/hrb-intranet/doc-toolkit) on DNA.
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Financial Update

Ops Labor (SAA/CM, DOC, CSM & Field Tech) is favorable $0.9m or 9.8% to FY16 SRP. Ops Labor is also flat to prior year even with incremental integration of: New Servers, Installing Scanners and Managing over 400 offices from Franchise Buybacks and Block Advisors.


Retail Operations Support is currently $1.2m or 14% favorable to FY16 SRP driven by the following areas:

  • Clean Sweep activities
  • Labor and T&E management
  • BlockWorks consulting
  • Learning Seasonal Labor, T&E, Contract Labor, and External labor/licensing

Team Updates

Company Support (Zack Beyer, Joe Mangano & Ryal Brier)

  • Launched Emerald Advance. Our Offices and People were Ready for our Clients providing a Great experience!
  • Pacing strong to hit our Tax Season Office Readiness initiative by 1/15, currently at 66.3% ready. Our Technology Readiness is complete as of 12/1.
  • We continue to rock and roll towards achieving our WIG (99% front-line associates Ready to Serve by 1/15/16).
  • Welcome to new members of our Company Support leadership team: Courtney Luper (CSM West Market), Cheyanne Swarthout (CSM Central Market), and Kathleen Vezos (CSM East Market).

Integration & Delivery Update (Kerri Jones)

  • We are currently in our peak with over 100 active projects supported by the team. November and December are our heaviest months with the I&D team leading business partners through a Certified Flawless Execution.
  • Congratulations on a successful delivery of the US Retail Meeting and Franchise Convention in October. The team partnered with business owners to help develop the strategy, content and delivery of their programs.
  • Our team has focused a lot on individual and team development by participating in various training programs to include project management, Situational Leadership and process improvement.

Process Improvement Update (Aaron Yager)

  • Shout out to Erica Meyer for leading the creation of the Office Operations Manual and Office Operations DNA page. Please help us get the word out. We want every tax office to use the Office Operations Manual this tax season. The Office Operations page is on DNA, under the section: Workspace, Resources For the Tax Office.
  • The Retail Operations Support Community has recently been launched. The community is powered by you! Have a question? Get it answered by an expert. Visit Communities < RETAIL OPERATIONS SUPPORT COMMUNITY today!
  • We generate $13.1M on military bases every year. Bernadette Antoine manages the operational tasks that are necessary for our E2E military operations. If you have any questions don’t hesitate to reach out to her.
  • PRSoft is our tax prep software for Puerto Rico. Software development is complete and training will start soon. We look forward to another successful year with PRSoft.
  • We have added a new layer of telecom support within our current structure. The new “Tier II” is powered by the LFSTs and allows telecom issues to be addressed more quickly than ever.

BlockWorks Update (John Hiller)

  • We delivered BlockWorks Qualification training in late October, which our TPs have been taking since then – great topics including state-specific training, product updates, and some outstanding modules on key quality topics to help ensure accuracy with every tax return.
  • The team is wrapping up the final big batch of product updates prior to tax season, which will deploy to the tax offices by late December. This includes many regulatory updates for TY15, product updates, and additional enhancements in BlockWorks and Block Pay.
  • We have also improved our documentation this year around release notes and known issues to be more thorough and clear as well as improving the support processes to ensure good service and follow-up for tax pros who need to contact the TSC.

CSO Update (Susan Preziosa)

  • The Contact Partner Management Team has completed updating 8 significant Statements of Work that provide a tighter pay-for-performance model for our Tier 1 support partners (vendors). They have also helped our vendor partners adopt 4DX and drive our Ready to Serve WIG in preparation for the Tax Season! Game on!
  • In support of our strategic goal to deliver the highest possible quality at the lowest responsible cost, Financial Services launched its first domestic outsourced site. This will give us a benchmark for off shore English servicing in addition to outsourcing our Tier1 Spanish volume.
  • The Performance Analysis team has implemented Speech Analytics for DIY and Financial Services. This has enabled automated call type reporting based on actual voice recordings for approximately 75% of that call volume. Currently, the team is working on analysis of frustrated callers and repeat calls in the Financial Services space to identify opportunities to reduce friction in the client experience.
  • The DIY team continues to rock and roll! They launched a new vendor partner on October 1st and delivered above target support for this years’ extension filers. On peak extension filing days, handle rate (HR) was 89% and average speed of answer (ASA) was 179 seconds. That was above the 85% and 300 second targets, and better than last year’s 73% and 610 second results!
  • Our Retail team, partnering with operations and technology, successfully implemented the ability to segment EA appointment calls. This enabled us to move volume between multiple groups of agents in order to maintain our target service level on peak days. So far this EA season, our Retail team has delivered a 91% HR and a 35 second ASA – beating their 90% and 40 second targets, and better than last year’s 81% and 74 second results!

OCOE Update (Susan Preziosa)

  • Our Client Claims/POM team has been very focused on ensuring our process is frictionless so our clients feel their claim is being handled timely. At the end of July, we had over 11k claims; now are down to roughly 5,500!
  • The FIN Bookkeeping team has been diligently focused on being Ready to Serve for TS16, and they are! This team ended last tax season behind with year-end processes and monthly cash reconciliations. They are now completely caught up and ready for the season!
  • Our People Center Hiring team has been hard at it for months now ensuring that our field is Ready to Serve by getting people hired and ready for TS16.
  • The TTS team ensured that we had completed 100% of our CTEC (California Tax Education Council) registrations on time. Late registrations result in fines for our associates, and this team helped to prevent that from being a problem for TS16.

Field Learning & Development (Steve Guidroz)

  • State Tax Training has officially launched, with a learning suite for NY, IL, OH and additional learning pieces for other states. Jane Hermstedt and team are entering their second phase, which will pick up more learning support for PA, NJ, MD and VA. The team chooses their priority order for state support based on the opportunity to drive down POM/P&I, as well as keeping an eye out for which states are showing BlockWorks quality issues/entry errors. (Contact for questions: Jane Hermstedt)
  • The Learning Program Management & Operations team is heads-down working on configuring the new Cornerstone Learning Management System in our Pilot environment. The team is on track for the new system to be available internally for test users in the Feb/March timeframe, with the Field launch targeted for May 1st. (Contact for questions: John Keschinger)
  • The Client Support Learning & Development team has been and still is busy with content development and delivery for our 5 business partners (CSO Retail, CSO Financial Services, CSO Digital, TSC and OCOE). They have produced over 700 products and 2000 hours of classroom delivery. We will have 22+ more classes between this month and the end of January. (Contact for questions: Carmen Cunnyngham)
  • New this year for Skills, is the added support for our new brand of Block Advisors. This dedicated curriculum leverages many concepts and content from the core Skills to Win curriculum, but has plenty of special content that speaks right to the unique client experience and new client growth strategy for Block Advisors and those Segment 3 and 4 clients that Kathy Collins introduced us to in the January Town Hall. Mostly developed by Tim Mings, this anchor leg timeframe of BA training development finds the whole team pitching in – which means building bench strength! (Contact for questions: Cindy Schmidt)

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Happy Holidays!

That is an incredible amount of amazing work that our Retail Operations Support Team is muscling through – THANK YOU for all of your hard work!


As we head into the holiday season, I wanted to wish you Happy Holidays; please take some time to enjoy your family and friends and come refreshed and ready to REINVENT this tax season!!!