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Workforce Optimisation

Workforce Management Principles


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.

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.
  5. 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.
  6. 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.
  7. 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.
  8. 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.
  9. 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.
  10. 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.

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