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Insiders Guide to Planning: Workforce Scheduling & Agent Empowerment

5 min read
Author David Evans
Date Aug 7, 2012
Category Workforce Management

Agent workforce planning & workforce scheduling provides a great opportunity for the planning team to gain buy in from the operation and agents. It presents an opening to highlight the value of the team and also the benefits and flexibility of your workforce management (WFM) application.

Include the Resource Planning Operation in the Process

If you are deploying WFM or creating a new set of resource planning schedules consider including the agents in the process. As we discussed in our last blog there are a number of different ways that workforce planning shifts can be produced that will all produce the same service levels. You could provide the Operation and agents with a number of options that they could provide feedback or vote on. Take time to discuss how the shifts were created, what the advantages and disadvantages are of each. If you produce a number of rotating patterns show how the patterns have been used to provide fairness. Your workforce management application may contain fairness parameters so ensure these are used if available.

Speed Up Workforce Planning Shift Change Requests

Agents will often want to alter shifts due to changing circumstances so make sure any requests are dealt with in a timely fashion. Alternatively get ahead of the process, if you have workforce management it is possible to assess the impact of a shift change request and auto approve if the impact on service levels are acceptable.

Know your agent demographic

Ensure you are aware of your agent preferences. If you are not using preference based scheduling then it is vital to align your shift patterns to your agent’s lifestyles. Students may prefer the evening part time shifts, working parents annualised hours, and younger members of the team may prefer flexible hours. The key is to understand the staffing demographic and produce shifts that will enable recruitment and reduce attrition over the longer term.

Shift Realignment

If you deploy a planning function or WFM this also presents an opportunity to baseline the current profiles, assess if they are fit for purpose and realign if required. Typically contact centres without WFM will have a fragmented staffing profile with shift patterns derived over time that are constantly added to. WFM can quickly highlight the inefficiencies and although an in-depth exercise, it is beneficial to zero base all shifts and make them fit for purpose.

Workforce Scheduling Key Take Away:

– Engage with the business at all stages to gain buy in for shift profiles
– Let the agents have a say in the profiles
– And ensure your staffing profile is agile enough to keep up to speed with the changing business

If you found this blog post interesting, we’ve recently put together an updated article which goes into more detail. Check out our latest article on this topic – Workforce Management (WFM) Scheduling – Mistakes to avoid when scheduling agents with Workforce management technology .