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Insiders Guide to Planning: WFM Scheduling Best Practice

5 min read
Author David Evans
Date Jul 2, 2012
Category Workforce Management

Last updated September 2016

Our last blog highlighted what makes an effective short term forecast. These are the forecasts that you will apply your workforce schedules against and in this post we will cover tips for creating and applying best practice schedules.

Customer Experience vs Expense

Resource optimisation is in simple terms, an attempt to balance service expectations against expense or operating costs. The key to optimising resource and minimising expense is the creation of effective shift patterns that meet the dual purpose of ensuring service levels are met efficiently and providing work patterns that contribute to the employees work/life balance.

Shift Patterns for the modern contact centre

Gone are the days of single skill and single contact organisations. Multi site and multi skill schedules are becoming the norm and with the emergence of social media, multi channel resource optimisation is now required. Manual rota creation through spreadsheets is possible but to effectively schedule for a multi channel organisation, WFM tools become a prerequisite.

Types of Shift Patterns to consider

Fixed shifts for full and part time staff are no longer the mainstay of the resource profile. WFM applications allow rotating shift patterns to be created easily. Flexi shift patterns for example can be layered over base staffing requirements whereby contracts are based on allocating hours at short notice in order to cover peaks. Similarly, split shifts may help with covering start and end of day slots. Employees with children at school may also prefer annualised hours contracts.

Self Scheduling

Through the use of WFM, self scheduling is also becoming increasingly popular. This is where the employee has the ability to choose working patterns that meet their requirements and provide work/life balance. With complex and busy lifestyles, shifts patterns are not one size fits all and WFM can provide the flexibility people require.

Availability Scheduling

This is the ultimate self scheduling tool. The employee can specify the exact days and times they are able and willing to work. This puts the employee firmly in control and if it is combined with an employee portal it provides an efficient and low maintenance method of staffing.

Preference Based WFM Scheduling

A similar method is preference based scheduling whereby the agent will specify a number of preferences for shift allocation. The preferences can be based on start times, days of the weeks, or preferred working patterns. The WFM application can allocate the shift that best matches the agent’s requirements.

In Summary

– Don’t be afraid to get creative or be constrained when creating a shift profile for your organisation
– Find a resource plan that meets the need of the organisation and industry sector
– Combine your plan with attractive shifts that employees will want to work in
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 Scheduling – Mistakes you should avoid when scheduling agents with Workforce Management technology