A Logical Approach to Setting a Schedule Adherence Goal

The dynamic nature of contact centers require us as leaders to have a keen awareness of what our contact center volume and staffing will be at each daily interval. As a contact center matures, a typical growth step includes the addition of resource planning teams and tools to plan workload and resources needed to meet service goals for each of those intervals.

Agents following an assigned schedule, which is known as schedule adherence, have a profound impact on how well a contact center operation can perform. By using a schedule adherence key performance indicator (KPI) your operation team is able to manage to how well agents are following their schedules.

Adherence to schedule is an objective math-based measure of how well agents will follow their schedules. As operations leaders, we want as many objective measures as possible to include in our agent scorecards, adherence is an excellent scorecard measure.

When setting a schedule adherence target there are some things to keep in mind:

  • There is generally a tendency to want to set high goals, calculate realistic goals.
  • Approving schedule exceptions to meet a high goal is working against you, approving many exceptions masks real performance.
  • Make sure agents understand how adherence affects overall results and how the adherence target is calculated.
  • Adherence to schedule is in the agent’s control.

Here’s a method I recommend that will help you establish a starting point for your adherence KPI.

  • Determine scheduled hours and convert to minutes.
    • Adherence goal will be different based on hours worked.
    • Establish targets for part time and full time agents.
  • Average handle time; consider short and long call types.
    • Short calls suggest a higher adherence target.
    • Longer calls suggest lower adherence target.
  • On average number of non-ACD scheduled events per day.
    • Break / Meal / Break = 3 transitions
  • Amount of non-adherence time allowed per day.
    • Personal time? (15 minutes)
    • Coaching or Unplanned Time, etc. (15 minutes)
Full Time Shift
450 Average Daily Scheduled Minutes (7.5 hours)
3 # of times caught on calls per day
8 min AHT* (example 8 minutes)
24 Total minutes agent may be caught on a call
30 Additional allowed non-productive minutes
(54) Total Out of Adherence Time
88% Proposed Adherence
(Shift Minutes – Out of Adherence Minutes) / Shift Minutes

* Note: Using AHT for the calculation is a conservative starting point; ultimately 1/2 of AHT should be the input

Once you have settled on a proposed starting point for your adherence target, follow these steps to make schedule adherence a best practice for your organization. Communicate positively the purpose of schedule adherence as it relates to the goals of the organization.

  1. Teach your agents how the formula works.
  2. Include schedule adherence as part of the front line employee’s scorecard.
  3. Coach to, and celebrate success.

What are some of the ways you have established an adherence goal?

What are some of the primary reasons you approve schedule adherence exceptions?

Chuck Swain
Interactive Intelligence

Chuck Swain

Chuck Swain

I've been a member of the contact center consultants team at Interactive Intelligence since June 2013; it’s a very rewarding role that allows me to work with many diverse organizations and share my passion for managing in a contact center. I've spent roughly 25 years working in contact centers and believe there is no more diverse type of work than what contact center leaders are faced with on a daily basis. Making the marriage between business process and technology harmonious is a fascination of mine, when it works it’s beautiful. While at the University of North Texas, the majority of my business studies were based in Strategic Management, I actually enjoy developing and executing short and long-term operational plans within a contact center. My recreational passion is golf - as a Floridian I get the chance to play a lot!