Meeting critical disaster response needs by being “FEMA Flexible”

Headquartered in Washington, DC, the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA)’s mission is to help people – before, during and after disasters. More than 20,000 people are employed by FEMA in numerous Program and Regional offices located throughout the country to make sure the United States can prepare for and respond to disasters.

FEMA’s workforce swells to more than 50,000 active members during major disasters. By providing critical experience, perspective, and resources in emergency management FEMA can support citizens across the United States.

Click to download success story
Image of a woman taking a FEMA emergency call

Challenge

Disaster response is an extraordinary mission that demands extraordinary results.

Within a complex services structure, FEMA partners with contact center support providers during high disaster activity to respond to incoming calls and accept applications from disaster survivors for assistance they are in dire need of. The solutions required for FEMA’s disaster response must meet high levels of agility and innovation in talent acquisition, supervision, call center facilities, equipment, material, supplies and whatever else is necessary. Things move fast at FEMA and they need agile partners that can move rapidly with them, in other words, every party involved must be “FEMA Flexible. Being “FEMA Flexible” means that disaster survivor’s needs always remains the number one priority even when the work becomes challenging.

Approach

With a focus on outcomes at the rate of public need, Maximus optimizes performance and enhances capabilities that deliver the highest value. Our citizen engagement centers and service offerings with pragmatic system modernization, allows the agencies we support to maximize their overall delivery strategy. By offering the right people, the right technology, and the right processes, Maximus solutions have a meaningful impact on people’s lives and strengthen their communities. FEMA has relied on the Maximus’ industry leading approach since 2017 to align our rapid staffing surge model to mission-enabling platform services.

The Maximus team accomplished mission critical program objectives including:

  • A dedicated and collaborative team that was communicative, highly responsive, accommodating and available.
  • Web-based real time reporting allowing FEMA to have visibility on call volume and call routing for registration intake and helpline lines of business.
  • A fully remote contact center workforce located throughout the United States.
  • Developed a dashboard to demonstrate an overall high-level glance of quality results.
  • Flexible support solutions that allow for scalability when disaster strikes.
  • Multilingual support.

Maximus provided the knowledge necessary to educate agents and significantly improved Quality scores and survivor experiences. And when a training class exceeded the maximum capacity allowed by the number of available Adobe Licenses, Maximus pivoted immediately to pull participants out of the class in an orderly manner, keep learners engaged and accounted for in a virtual environment, rapidly move them to production and take registration intake calls until additional training space was made available.

Results

In 2021, with guidance from Maximus, FEMA established a first ever Outsourced Contact Center Blanket Purchase Agreement (BPA) that enables FEMA the flexibility to scale up to the required number of agents and production hours. The BPA provides FEMA access to a limited number of pre-screened and previously utilized Contractors such as Maximus, greatly reducing the time and cost needed to ramp-up each disaster season. This citizen engagement strategy and infrastructure built around supporting people when they need it most is paramount for success.

The FEMA Contracting Office Representative (COR) and other FEMA stakeholders could rely on Maximus to promptly address their needs and avoid any necessary delays. Maximus embraced the “FEMA Flexible” approach not just as a requirement but a mantra at the heart of the technology and services delivered to support citizens during a time of crisis.

  • Services provided
    • call center technology and staff supervision
    • Performance Work Statement (PWS) requirements for incoming call response
    • real-time, 24/7/365 web-based reporting with Microsoft Power Business Intelligence
    • comprehensive training
  • Success achieved
    • processed 36,203 staff applications
    • scaled up 1,500 Agents and 60,000 production hours within 8 weeks
    • 2021: received 399,713 disaster survivor calls
    • completed 7,779 QC evaluations