Advisor in Customer Experience and Service Operations

Some of the challenges in developing an effective workforce planning methodology

Customer Driven provides both consulting and managed workforce planning services for many companies and over our years of experience have built a best practice workforce methodology. We have seen the challenges many organisations face in developing workforce planning methodologies. Here are a few….

The Forecasting Challenge

Many organisations lack the skills to develop an effective long term forecast. To be effective you need to consider a 12 to 15 month forecast that links seasonal variations in customer demand to your workforce profile including attrition, leave and other factors impacting the availability of your workforce. Getting your forecast right is the first step in being able to effectively plan your resourcing and ultimately, your day to day operations. You may not get it right the first time and your long term forecast will change as you become more adept at understanding patterns and trends but it is an essential element in your workforce planning methodology.

The Staffing/Scheduling to Demand Challenge

Once you have a plan you need to ensure that you are scheduling your staff to meet that plan. A robust workforce planning approach includes all the elements relating to employee shift times and conditions and identifies resource needs based on shrinkage and demand profiles. Building a flexible plan while your team have set hours or not allowing for coverage of busy lunch time periods with increased resourcing will lead to poor outcomes. Your workforce planning team needs the knowledge and the tools to schedule your team to be where you need them to be, when you need them to be there – this is the cornerstone of workforce planning.

The Real Time Management Challenge

This is often where we see contact centres fail to deliver to expectations. Businesses lack the skills to develop a plan that takes into account the daily needs of a workforce and the need to manage to changes throughout the day. Your workforce team needs to understand and manage breaks, training, team meetings, changes in customer demand and many other variables throughout the day. Without strong intraday management of your workforce all the good work you have done in planning the day may be wasted.

The lack of tools challenges

Many organisations attempt to build a workforce model using a simple excel spreadsheet. This alone will not provide the level of detail and complexity required to truly develop a robust plan. The right software helps you link the plan to schedules and rosters and then provides the insight in real time to manage to the plan. Saving money on a robust workforce planning tool is false economy; you will lose more in increased labour costs due to poor planning than you will in ensuring the right tools are in place.

The Governance Challenge

This is the last challenge we will discuss today. Workforce Planning is an operating rhythm and one that cannot be ignored or put aside. You need a regular cadence of meetings, involvement with key stakeholders (this extends to the HR department for recruitment, operations for input, marketing for campaign information and many more). Governance of your process, appropriate sign off points and engagement across your organisation is key.

Below is a quick reference from our website to identify the challenges you may be experiencing with your workforce planning methodology. Take a few minutes and ask yourself where your challenge may lie and what you need to do to close the gap.