• Clive Woodrow

50 Tips on Workforce Planning

Updated: Aug 9, 2019

If you work in a contact center with 5, 16 or 700 agents you know that workforce management is a very important part of your operation and a somewhat difficult area to get right.

If your workforce is not well-scheduled, it can have a dramatic impact on customer experience and your staff’s absenteeism and turnover.

it can be very expensive for your company if you get workforce wrong.

If you have too many people that means high staffing costs.

Too few people and your customers get dismal service and that impacts customer satisfaction, sales, and company revenue.

So to help you improve your Workforce Management Planning process I have created this checklist document to help you remember the 50+ items that should be considered in your plans.

In my 20 years of experience, I have found that Workforce Management Planning consists of five major area’s,

  1. Contact Volume (the actual calls, emails, chats, messages)

  2. Average Handle Time (AHT)

  3. Contact Center Staffing (the people)

  4. Facilities and Technology

  5. Intra-Day Management

Again, I’m highlighting many things that I have missed in my past planning efforts to ensure that you and your team don’t repeat the same mistakes.

And note - - that it is up to you to consider whether or not any of these items apply to your workforce management plans.

Contact Volume (Calls, email, chat, outbound calls etc)

  • Review Time of day call arrival patterns Track hourly arrival to see trends

  • Staffing needs to match demand Forecasting Day of Week volume

  • Track previous same days (ie Tuesdays) to see if there are any trends that can help you plan next month's volume

  • If the center is understaffed and your service level is low, you will have repeat calls. Be aware of that factor. Special days (holidays, weather events, etc)

  • Marketing / Sales / promotions generating additional volume

  • Product or Service issues adding to volume

  • Is there or will there be Good or Bad publicity on company or its products or services that might increase volume?

  • Week-end coverage adequate?

  • New Item - Add to the list when you find something that impacts you.

Average Handle Time

  • How many new staff onboard? Most will have higher AHT Systems can help or hurt AHT

  • New procedures that might increase or decrease AHT? New processes Impacts?

  • Staff experience will have an impact on AHT

  • In very busy Contact Centers, After Call work can increase as Agents will use this time to get a short break. Consider this factor.

  • New Item - Add to the list when you find something that impacts you.

Contact Center Staffing

  • New Hire Training? Some existing staff may be needed to support that effort. Agent Shrinkage Time

  • Lunch / Breaks

Planed for 11.11%

Required by Law

  • Emphasize the importance of taking breaks on time

  • Late Start Leave Early Absent / Sick

Paid - 7.40% Unpaid - 9.00%

  • Weekends are Higher Company Holiday's

?? %

  • "Protected" Leave, LOA, STD

?? %

  • HR should keep a log of all Non-Exempt employees and what time they are allotted each month.

  • Vacation Time

Plan for ~2% annually. Summers more Agent Working Times

  • Productive (working) Team Meetings

1.06% 1-2-1 Meetings

0.51 % Quality Reviews

0.26% Internal Meeting

  • Product Training

1.71% Company Training

  • ?? % System Issues

  • Personal Time


  • Attrition forecasting - Plan for it. Track it.

1.77 %

  • Communicate often what attrition will do to your staffing plan Do Agents support 1 queue or 2+ queues? Account for that. Management Coverage

  • Ratio of Team Managers to Agents needs to be consistent throughout all Operating Hours Remember to schedule management for evenings and weekend coverage

  • Schedule the Quality Assurance Team

  • New Item - Add to the list when you find something that impacts you.

Facilities & Technology

  • Is there seating for the planned staffing?

  • by Time of Day

  • by Day of Week

  • Ability to use Home Based Agents?

  • Know the Hours of Operation Weekdays

  • Week-ends Overnight Public holidays

  • Enough Desktop Computer Systems?

  • Check for desks for missing or broken monitors, keyboards and needed accessories

  • Sufficient Phone Lines?

  • Sufficient Internet and Data Access? Sufficient System or Application Licenses

  • New Item - Add to the list when you find something that impacts you.

Intraday Management

  • Check contact volume to the plan

  • Check absenteeism to the plan

  • Check schedule compliance to the plan

  • Communicate to management any issues with the days plan. (3 times on each shift)

  • Check on any planned or scheduled training for the day (time blocks and # of staff participating)

  • Does the staffing & volume allow for the scheduled training?

  • New Item - Add to the list when you find something that impacts you.

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