Realizing the benefit of Workforce Management: It’s all about balance.

Workforce Management (WFM) programs can provide a significant return on investment (ROI) if executed correctly.  Like many of the other programs in the Workforce Optimization space, the success or failure depends not only on the technology itself but the ability to achieve that perfect balance between people, process and technology. 

Yes, we’ve all heard the "need to balance people, process and technology" phrase before but there is a great reason why we’ve all heard it before…it’s true!  Not only is it true, it’s essential.  If you don’t have a balance between all three of these components, you will not realize the full benefit of your WFM program and you could end up with no benefit at all. 

People:  Having the right people (and the right number of people) to support the implementation and maintenance of a WFM program is critical.  This includes forecasting, scheduling, real-time management and overall system administration.  Many times when an organization decides to implement a WFM program, they assign it to someone as a secondary job.  While that may work for a smaller contact center for short period of time, the long-term success requires dedicated resources that are trained on the technology and processes that support the WFM program.    

Process:  Documented standard procedures are necessary to support the overall WFM program.  This includes having a process for things like vacation requests, scheduling approved off-line time and calling in sick.  Scheduling off-line time is a great example of a process that can have a huge impact on the overall success of WFM if not managed.  Without a clear request and approval/decline process, multiple people end up off-line without approval at the same time.  Even with the most accurate forecast and the most efficient schedules, you cannot meet your service level objectives if too many people are off-line at the same time.  

Technology:  While some contact centers certainly survive without WFM technology,  it is a practical necessity in most environments today, especially in larger contact centers.  Without a WFM solution, you cannot ensure that you are achieving maximum efficiency in the scheduling and real-time management of contact center staff.  In fact, you may be spending more in support staff (trying to do it all manually) than a WFM solution would cost.

The implementation of a WFM system that is also supported by people and processes can often pay for itself within the first year and usually shows results within the first few weeks after implementation.  When executed correctly, WFM programs can continue to provide cost savings for years to come.  I have had the opportunity to implement WFM programs multiple times over the years and have realized a significant ROI on each them but I would love to hear from you.  Have you implemented a WFM solution with a balance of people, process and technology?  How much was the ROI for your WFM program?