Advisor in Customer Experience and Service Operations

How to utilise your workforce planning to meet the challenges of talent shortages

In our last blog, we talked about the challenges all industries are facing with the current talent shortage and the high competition for labour in Australia. As a contact centre manager, you will be faced with this challenge and your workforce planning team will be key to helping you navigate the current and future recruitment challenges ahead. How? These are just some of the ways we help our clients navigate the challenges of today’s market and you may find some of these ideas helpful.

Long Term Forecasting

The first step is to use the skills of your workforce planning team to develop long term forecasts, looking at customer demand, employee profiles of your centre, marketing campaigns and other factors impacting your resourcing plan for the year ahead. It is the essential first step in the start of your planning effort and identifying how many employees you require to meet the challenges ahead.

Capacity Planning

Your shorter term forecast for the next quarter should include recruitment groups and timeframes to meet your long term forecast. Work with your HR department to schedule appropriate time for candidate selection and track success of these timeframes (which can then go into your long term forecast). You need to focus on the time required to recruit and train teams so you are ready to meet demand. Your workforce planning team can build scenarios allowing you to schedule recruitment in a timely manner and reduce the challenges of just in time recruitment.

Managing your resource mix

A key strategy your workforce planning team can assist with is identifying staffing strategies to assist in meeting customer demand. This can include modelling full-time/part-time ratios to help you make the most of part time candidate availability or include casuals during peak times. Resourcing is never static and you need to be able to understand all of the options open to you and what it means for your recruitment strategy.

Managing a hybrid workforce

A key area that attracts employees in this competitive landscape is a flexible work arrangement with many employees opting to work from home for at least part of their working week. Your intraday management and support of the work-at-home employee is central to the daily activities of your workforce planning team. This flexibility and support for a hybrid workforce may be a key to a candidate selecting you as an employer.

Learn from reality

A plan is just the best guess for what could happen. A great workforce planning team asks what happened today, what can we learn and how does this change our plan going forward? Your workforce planning team needs to be proactive and constantly reshaping your plan to meet changing events and make the most of opportunities as they occur. Your workforce team should be presenting you with ideas and strategies, not a silent partner producing reports.

In our next blog we discuss some of the challenges in developing an effective workforce planning methodology.