Whether you're swapping out an old system or implementing workforce management for the first time it's essential to think carefully about the supporting business processes and methodologies that underpin a successful WFM install – before, during and after go-live.
I wrote the following 10 workforce management principles in early 2010 and every one of them is still highly relevant and accurate.
- Keep fighting knowledge erosion – Knowledge erosion is perhaps the biggest threat to longer-term WFM success – it’s important to build regular ongoing training into your WFM support contract, with a particular focus on best practice and refresher modules that can help ensure skills remain current.
- Concentrate on processes and methodology – Workforce management is a business process not a technology solution, you need to apply as much focus to your internal processes and methodologies as you do to your software features.
- Don’t take WFM for granted – Ensure that you’re always monitoring data accuracy from your various sources at regular intervals, and make sure you incorporate it into your calibration process – WFM works best as an ongoing refinement process.
- Remember to measure and publicise your WFM performance – It’s crucial that your WFM team becomes a focal point in your organisation and stays central to any core planning decisions being made. WFM provides a benchmark, and results are a great way of sharing success and challenges with the wider organisation.
- Monitor your shrinkage – You need to look at shrinkage historically, and then make sure that you’re balancing this shrinkage correctly into your forecasts – planning to the actuals, and then managing to targets.
- Understand your adherence and set realistic targets – Introduce a real-time adherence approach – if applied correctly this can have a major impact on staffing efficiencies, with a significant return on the investment and resources applied.
- Look beyond the inbound contact centre – Start identifying ways to deploy workforce management outside of the traditional front-office in key areas such as outbound and the back-office.
- 100% forecast accuracy is an unrealistic dream for most of us – Make sure, however, that you perform within a consistent acceptable tolerance at an intra-day level.
- Realise the benefits of automation – Don’t ignore the potential of automated holiday and shift swap requests: these features are highly valued by agents and free up significant amounts of administration time that can be deployed more productively.
- Don’t overlook your long-term forecasts – Getting day-to-day scheduling right can take up a lot of focus, but don’t forget your long-term planning: you should then cascade these goals into your medium and shorter-term forecasts and plans to make the process more effective.