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Why Scheduling Alone Can’t Fix a Bad Workforce Management Plan Posted on 22 October 2013 by Ric Kosiba

If your contact center was overstaffed, how well coordinated do you think your schedules would be? How nimble would your workforce management process be? How about if your contact center was understaffed -would your schedules be efficient? What ould our orkfor e a age e t staff spe d their ti e doi g? (Hi t: The ’d e s ra li g to get agents to work more overtime every day.) I was at lunch yesterday with a workforce management executive whom I really respect, and we were discussing the various components of workforce management processes. His take was that the long term plan was the most important—if unappreciated—aspect of the workforce management pro ess. He told e, “ heduli g a ’t fi a ad pla . Let’s ela orate. There are t o i porta t ele e ts to orkfor e pla

i g:

1. Make sure you have the right number of agents trained and available to meet the seasonal and changing demand for your service

2. Ensure that your operation is nimble and efficient in reacting to day-of changes in your environment. (Note that these are traditionally two separate processes and are often the responsibilities of two different analytic teams.) The first element is under the purview of the strategic planning team. The strategic planning team develops week-over-week forecasts, they determine how many agents are needed throughout the peaks a d alle s of their operatio ’s seaso alit , the de elop hiri g pla s a d training plans, and they often turn this information into a variable labor budget. The most important aspect of this process is this: this process determines how many agents show up to work each week. Usually, this process is managed through a contact center strategic planning system or a complicated spreadsheet. The second element of this process contains several work steps. The real-time workforce analysts forecast daily volumes, keep track of agent schedule adherence and absenteeism,

develop weekly schedules and schedule bids, and ensure that hour-by-hour they make the best use of the agents that they already have available to schedule.

The focus of the industry has been traditionally on the latter, real-time problem. There are many short term planning and scheduling systems, but only a few strategic planning systems. It should be very clear that these to processes work hand in glove. If one of these processes is broken, both are broken. If the strategic planning process delivers to the operation the wrong number of agents, then there is little the real-time team can do to fix it (especially if it is a problem that occurs regularly). It is impossible to optimally schedule a sub-optimal number of agents. Both processes need to be correct if the operation is to run smoothly. As e pert frie d told e, “ heduli g a ’t fi a ad pla . This should e o ious to all o ta t e ter leaders. Here’s a all to a tio : look i to our lo g ter pla i g pro ess. It should have three important features. It should in lude a ethod to test ho a urate it is. Ca ou plug i last eek’s olu es, handle times, and staffing and accurately predict the service level and abandonment rate that was achieved? It should automate and optimize when (which weeks) and which centers to hire. It should forecast all important metrics—not just call volumes. The process should also forecast handle times, sick time, agent attrition, and all other metrics that drive the plan. If ou’d like to dis uss pla i g, there is o od o the pla et that enjoys chatting about it more than I do—feel free to drop me a line.

Author - Ric (Source:

Why Scheduling Alone Can’t Fix a Bad Workforce Management Plan  
Why Scheduling Alone Can’t Fix a Bad Workforce Management Plan  

Read this blog post from Interactive Intelligence to discover three important features of every long term workforce management plan.