3 Ways to Simplify Contact Center Workforce Planning

Contact centers across the world have had to shift their operations in 2020, especially their workforce planning efforts. Traditional forecasting and scheduling methods worked in the past — when agents were on site. However, the new reality of remote work means forecasters, managers, supervisors and planners have the added obstacle of physical distance. They can’t walk down the hall and consult with peers. Often, they find themselves overburdened with creating, adjusting and staying on top of schedules.

Supporting the Workforce Planner

A planner’s job can be taxing. Not only do they have to build schedules that support service goals, but they also must take into account agents’ preferences, adjust to last-minute demands or issues, and keep an eye on both longer-term scheduling needs and the day-to-day grind. In some companies, planners might handle forecasting; in others, a planner receives a forecast and makes sure there are enough agents scheduled to handle the projected volume. That’s all easier said than done.

Planners often have no way to know if — or when — new agents come in or leave. This can throw a wrench into planning. Likewise, they have to deal with inaccurate forecasts, too many or too few agents being scheduled, and clunky manual processes (to name a few issues) to determine if the number of agents is balanced against actual requirements.

Despite all this hard work, planners’ efforts can go unrecognized, leaving them feeling unappreciated or ignored. An effective and productive contact center in the modern age can only be achieved when the workforce is truly nurtured and engaged. That’s why these team members need more help when it comes to creating, managing and evaluating schedules — and overall plans.

Here are three ways to make life easier for your contact center workforce planners.

1. Leverage Planning Groups to Simplify the Planning Process

When it comes to creating a schedule, workforce planners often need to consider not just agent availability, but also appropriate skill sets and proficiencies. If an organization wants to be sure it has enough agents scheduled to handle interactions in a specific language or respond through different channels, it needs to make certain the agents who can handle these types of interactions are on queue. For a planner, this creates additional variables when creating a schedule.

Using Planning Groups in the Genesys CloudTM Workforce Engagement Management solution gives planners and forecasters the ability to logically group queues, media, languages and skill sets. This simplifies the forecasting and planning process because planners can create forecasts for aggregated groups of data. And companies can standardize queue membership, languages and skilling across pools of agents, based on factors that are meaningful to them.

2. Automatically Rotate Your Workplans

Planners often become the target of agents’ ire because they’re in charge of creating shifts. If an agent feels his preferences or requests aren’t being taken into account — or that the planner is favoring other agents — things can quickly sour toward the planner. By creating shifts that rotate on a weekly basis, planners give agents the opportunity to work all shifts — not just their desired ones. This balances the distribution of popular and unpopular work times and days.

Genesys Cloud Workforce Engagement Management lets planners create a predictable pattern and configure a rotation in their work plans on a weekly basis. For instance, if a planner wants to create a plan for six weeks, where agents rotate between two Monday through Friday day shifts and one week of Monday through Friday night shifts, she can create a “Day work plan” and a “Night work plan.” This allows the planner to set a pattern of Day-Day-Night, which the system will repeat continuously for the six-week period. Planners can also set constraints to assure things stay fair, such as a maximum of consecutive weekends scheduled, a maximum of days off per planning period, a minimum time between shifts and more.

3. Understand What’s Happening Behind Your Scheduling

Scheduling mistakes aren’t ideal, but they happen. When scheduling issues arise, it can be difficult to pinpoint the source of confusion. Allowing administrators to view changes in a workforce management schedule, and see the date that changes were made, can help teams track and evaluate the effectiveness of previous changes.

Genesys Cloud Workforce Engagement Management lets users with administrator permissions quickly view schedule information, including status, start date, generation start time, completion data and more.

See how the Genesys Cloud platform can support your workforce planners and then check out how to plan, manage and empower your digital workforce.