If you’ve been around this industry any length of time, you’ve likely heard someone define Workforce Management as “the art and science of making sure the right people are in the right place at the right time.” I wouldn’t exactly call this a definition, but it is something relatively easy for sales people to remember.
Definition or not, it is true that there’s both an “art” and a “science” to WFM. If you’re not sure which part of WFM applies to art and which to science, here’s my take.
The Science of Workforce Management
When I think of science, I think of dealing with factual information – things that either are or are not true. Like math, for instance. One plus one either equals two or it does not. When applied to WFM, the science is in the forecasting. Based upon a time-series analysis of your historical data, consideration of shrinkage trends and external drivers, simulation of your agent skills and call routing environment combined with Erlang-based algorithms against your service level objective, you’re either going to need 15 people at 8:30 Monday morning or you’re not. (As hard as it is to believe, I know there are people out there – perhaps even you – who are all excited right now just reading this!)
The Art of Workforce Management
I, having suffered my entire life with a recently self-diagnosed touch of dyscalculia (if you decide to click on this link, note that it says: “dyscalculia can also be found in people with normal to superior intelligence“), have always gravitated more to the “art” side of WFM. Where is the art in WFM, you ask? It lies within your scheduling philosophy…within the way you choose to efficiently balance the needs of your customers (expressed through the resource requirement forecast) with the needs of your workforce.
Throughout the years, I have seen more than my fair share of creative approaches to scheduling (and have even “created” a few myself). And just a like recent visit to an art gallery in SoHo, I have felt a true appreciation for some approaches, whereas others had me saying “I don’t get it.” Perhaps beauty lies in the eyes of the beholder even when it comes to scheduling philosophies. But however creative you get in your approach to determining who works when, your agents, your customers and even your shareholders are the ones who ultimately decide whether your scheduling philosophy is a true work of art.
Does your contact center have a creative scheduling approach you’d like share? If so, I’d like to hear from you. Sign up for our blog…join in on the conversation and help others get WISE about their workforce!