WFM Big Brother vs. Little Brother

The process of managing schedule adherence is often referred to as the “big brother” part of the workforce management process.   The agents hate it because “big brother” (i.e. management) is actually managing them when they don’t follow their schedule.  Leadership teams aren’t crazy about spending their days being “big brother” either but it’s a necessary evil in the contact center where neglecting to follow the efficient schedules you’ve worked so hard to develop is service level suicide.  So, how is a contact center leader supposed to engage the employees that refuse to get on board? One option is to convert your agents that struggle with schedule adherence into “little brother” by making them responsible for managing adherence for the whole contact center.   

At first, pulling the agents that struggle with adherence off the phone for a project like this may seem unnatural but in the end, it’s well worth the investment.  Let’s face it, if they weren’t following their schedule anyway, how much damage can you do with them off the phone?  Making an agent that typically doesn’t follow their schedule responsible for managing schedule adherence results is a great way to educate them on the impact poor adherence can have.  Tracking down the people that, like you, don’t really follow the program can also be a personal eye-opening experience into the difficulties they’ve been causing.  In some cases, it can even become a career path into the workforce management team if they end up being really good at it.   

Sure, you could just stick with the traditional approach of coaching every day/week and beating them to death with an adherence report on a regular basis but that doesn’t always work for everyone.  For the ones who don’t adapt, you often find that they either leave the company or get terminated.  Either way, you both loose.  This “little brother” program can be a nice middle of the road option to educate them while also managing the problem.

I’d love to hear from some of you on this.  Who else has used a program like this?  What other creative options have you used to get those adherence fugitives back into custody? 

Troy Plott

(Former Big Brother and Little Brother)