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What is workforce management?

Posted: by: Chuck Ciarlo

Workforce management in a call center is the art and science of having the right number of employees, with the right skills at the right times to meet accurately forecasted volumes of work and to do all that at a predetermined service level and minimized costs. Workforce management is a critical task for call centers and poor planning and execution can have a negative impact on the business (revenues, cost), customers (satisfaction) and also employees (motivation/burn-out). Key tasks of workforce management include the following activities:

1. Calculation of an accurate forecast

  • Collect call history data
  • Identify call patterns (day, week, season, etc.)
  • Identify special day patterns (holidays, etc.)
  • Identify other event or business drivers that might impact call volume/pattern


2. Calculation of staffing requirements

  • Define Service level, ASA and average handle time
  • Calculate workload
  • Define staffing requirements


3. Creation of schedule

  • Include all activities (call and non-call) into schedule
  • Build in flexibility (start/end times, breaks, multi-skill, etc.)
  • Create schedule for 15 or 30 minute increments


4. Monitoring and managing adherence

  • Inform and educate about adherence importance and impact
  • Measure and manage adherence throughout the day (real-time adherence)
  • Provide incentives


5. Managing exceptions and changes throughout the day

  • Changes in call volume or arrival pattern
  • Staffing or scheduling issues
  • Business related exceptions


6. Measuring and adjusting

  • Analyze daily/weekly reports
  • Investigate causes for under-performance
  • Apply learnings into workforce management process


Many organizations still employ a manual approach to workforce management. By relying on paper- or spreadsheet-generated estimates, they lack any way to accurately measure the degree of adherence to the schedule. Reporting, if done at all, is a nightmare. The end product is too much time and effort spent managing staff for little return.
Workforce management software helps organizations to automate key tasks that have an immediate impact on the bottom line through more accurate call volume forecasting, optimized scheduling and daily performance tracking in real-time.


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