The Expanding and Evolving Role of Workforce Planners
By Mary Lou Joseph
Posted in Customer Engagement
Next week workforce professionals will gather in Nashville for the Society of Workforce Planning Professionals (SWPP) Annual Conference. One of the 60 informative sessions will be a presentation by Jeff Bretana, a Workforce Analyst at Navy Federal Credit Union. The session, “The Top 10 Differences in Workforce Management by Business Function,” highlights the growing trend in organizations to expand workforce planning and management beyond just the contact center.
In fact, according to Saddletree Research, 74.8% of U.S. organizations now have the contact center and the back office reporting up to the same internal department.1 And in organizations that include a distributed service network, such as banks or credit unions, workforce planners could also be managing schedules for branches as well.
But functional areas are not the only addition to the workforce planner’s scope. In today’s omnichannel world, different interaction channels bring with them their own challenges in effectively matching resources to demand.
Inbound call centers, outbound call centers, email, chat, branch and back-office all present their own unique requirements for effective workforce planning.
Jeff lists the Top 10 differences in descending order.
10. Work Culture. Typically differences in age/tenure, pace of work, expectations for flexibility vs. stability.
9. Time-off Management. Managed centrally vs. team/division leaders, calculations for service-impact tolerances are different.
8. Hours of Operation. 24/7/365, vs. 9 - 9 p.m., vs. standard business hours.
7. Shifts Worked. Flexibility in shifts, breaks and lunches varies greatly by function/channel.
6. Performance Management. Schedule adherence, FCR, wait time vs. accuracy, production quotas, vs. revenue generated/collected.
5. Customer Expectations. Personalized, immediate vs. turnaround times / responsiveness vs. convenience.
4. Shrinkage. Tolerance for fluctuations, ability to track and manage spikes.
3. Service Goals. Immediate, accepted wait times vs. extended turnaround/processing times.
2. Forecast Drivers and Trends. Multiple factors impact forecasting—marketing campaigns, system upgrades, backlog, regulatory compliance changes, new channel options (e.g., SMS).
And the # 1 Difference…
1. Technology platform. IVRs/ACDs, predictive dialers, websites, CRMs, core processing systems, teller systems, etc.
Jeff recommends that in an omnichannel world—where the entire customer journey is linked up from first interaction to execution of an order or service request—being able to consolidate all of your channels and functions onto a single platform for workforce management will simplify the process and greatly improve the accuracy of your forecasts.
He also recommends that while you expand your vision for what you as a workforce planner can do, start small and incorporate one new channel, or perhaps one new function, at a time. Work out the kinks in managing the differences in a small test group before expanding to the rest of the teams in that function or channel.
If you are attending SWPP’s Annual Conference, stop by Verint’s booth and say hi! I’ll be there along with Jeff and other WFM practitioners to talk about the many changes occurring in workforce planning.
1 Saddletree Research and National Association of Call Centers 2017 Survey
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