15 Ways to Make the Most of Your SWPP Membership

If you are reading this article as a SWPP member, congratulations for making a great decision and hopefully you’ll learn about how to take even more advantage of all your membership benefits.  If you are not yet a member, reading this piece will most likely prompt you to sign up right away!

SWPP was founded in 2002 with the mission of supporting professionals in the contact center industry. The vision then – and now – was to provide a platform where industry professionals could find the educational offerings to build specialized knowledge and skills, a full range of resources to apply to real-life work situations, and a community of peers for networking and growth. Over the last 19 years, these educational offerings, resources, and pool of professionals have evolved and expanded to provide members ways to be more successful in their careers.

Let’s take a look at these many benefits and capabilities, starting with a full range of educational events and offerings.

  1. Web Seminar Series. Every year, SWPP provides a web seminar series for SWPP members.  In 2021, this series, entitled Fundamentals of Workforce Management, will be presented on Wednesday afternoons beginning in February.  (Check the SWPP web site for specific dates and times.) The courses will provide practical knowledge and skills in all aspects of workforce planning and management, including comprehensive coverage of all topics covered in the CWPP Certification Exam.  SWPP offers the classes as 90-minute web seminars and are provided at no cost for SWPP members.  The  Fundamentals of Workforce Management seminars are presented by popular industry consultants and authors Penny Reynolds and Maggie Klenke. Reynolds and Klenke were Co-Founders of The Call Center School, where they developed and taught classes to thousands of contact center professionals.
  2. Annual Conference.  SWPP presents an Annual Conference that has occurred as a 3-day event for the last 19 years until the 2020 pandemic shifted the event into a virtual conference.  Whether in person or virtual, the Annual Conference provides dozens of workshops presented by industry experts on all areas related to workforce management.  This event will be held virtually in April 2021, and details are available on our website at https://swpp.org/annual-conference/.   SWPP members receive a discount to attend the conference.
  3. E-Learning Programs. SWPP has partnered with The Call Center School since its inception to bring quality education to the membership in many different formats.  One significant benefit is that each member receives a credit towards The Call Center School e-learning programs in their first year of membership. Members may choose from a wide variety of topics to design a curriculum to fit their needs. Once the free benefits have been used, members also receive a 10% discount on additional offerings.
  4. CWPP Certification.  The SWPP Certified Workforce Planning Professional program, leading to the Certified Workforce Planning Professional (CWPP) designation, is an excellent way to establish yourself as an experienced member of the contact center workforce planning community.  Steps leading to the CWPP designation include three proctored exams based on core workforce planning competencies, followed by a project demonstrating workforce management skills and knowledge. An ideal candidate is an experienced workforce planning manager or analyst who has an established core skill set that could be applied across the entire spectrum of contact centers. Through learning, assessments, and projects, this certification successfully reflects the individual’s broad business knowledge and rewards the certified individual with a pinnacle level of attainment in the industry.  In addition, since someone who is only involved in only one specific area of our profession may not be ready to tackle the complete workforce management certification, SWPP is pleased to offer Associate Certification in each of the three testing areas:  Planning and Strategy, Staffing and Scheduling, and Managing Daily Staffing and Service.  SWPP members receive a discount to the certification registration fee.
  5. Regional Meetings.  Prior to the pandemic, SWPP (in partnership with our sister association QATC) provided dozens of regional meetings around the country.  These half-day meetings provided a way for contact center professionals to gather to hear exciting speakers, tour a local center, and have the opportunity to network with peers.  Many members noted that these meetings were one of the most valuable experiences for them since they provided a way to meet their local peers in a smaller group setting.  These meetings have enabled professional relationships to be formed with those in the region.  While there are no in-person meetings scheduled so far in 2021, these regional meetings are back on the schedule as virtual meetings.  While anyone is invited to attend these meetings, there will be some special focus on making local/regional connections.
  6. Quarterly Newsletter. What you are reading now is one of the benefits of membership.  The quarterly newsletter, On Target, is a 16-page newsletter full of how-to articles and the latest industry news to help you build your knowledge and keep abreast of industry happenings.  There are many different contributors to On Target, ranging from industry educators and consultants, vendors, and contact center professionals. These folks share best practices, thought-provoking new ideas, and real-life stories of what works and what doesn’t from first-hand experiences. The newsletter always contains a survey on current topics and survey results from the previous newsletter. Members who provide a mailing address will receive a printed copy of each newsletter.
  7. Newsletter Archives. The current newsletter is always available for all to view on the SWPP website.  But a huge benefit for SWPP members is access to the SWPP Library, which includes an archive of all our past newsletters. Members can look up any subject of interest and browse through years of content. At 16 pages per newsletter multiplied by 4 times per year over more than 19 years adds up to over 1,200 pages of content. There’s no better place to research your problems and projects than this comprehensive archive.
  8. Quarterly Surveys. Wondering what other centers are doing and how your processes and practices compare? Each quarterly newsletter contains a survey about workforce management practices. The surveys include typically 10–12 questions on a specific topic, with participants able to complete surveys online or via a manual approach.  Results are tabulated, emailed to participants, and are included in the next newsletter, along with editorial comments on the findings and implications.
  9. Survey Archives. Read about the most recent survey in the newsletter or on the website.  But if you need to delve back into past surveys, that’s available too.  Members have access to the survey archives as part of the SWPP Library. If there is a particular topic of interest, members can go back and take a look at how their industry peers have responded.
  10. Articles and White Papers.  In addition to the huge library of newsletter articles and survey results, there are also many relevant articles and white papers in the SWPP Library. These are typically full-length, how-to articles supplied by our educational advisors, board members, and vendor community.
  11. Tip of the Week. In addition to the full-length articles and newsletter content, members get a shorter dose of how-to information and clever ideas as a Tip of the Week.   You’ll find this tip in your email inbox on Monday morning and many find it a positive way to kick off their week.   As an “emergency” service during the Spring of 2020, SWPP sprang into action and supplied a Tip of the Day for extra ideas and encouragement during the early, trying days of the pandemic.  These came as a welcome reminder that we were all in this together as all of us figured out how to deal with the new ways of working.  Members can also access these archived tips in the SWPP Library.
  12. Ask the Workforce Wizard.  Do you have a particular question or work situation where you simply need an answer or some sage advice?  Email your question to Vicki Herrell, Executive Director of SWPP, at vicki.herrell@swpp.org and she’ll forward the question along to a panel of experts who are certain to have some ideas on the topic. You’ll get a response back and you may find widely applicable issues showing up as a mini-column in a future newsletter.
  13. Books.  Check out the website for books that can support your functions in the contact center.  The following books are available only on the SWPP website:
    • Team WFM: Building A Collaborative Process for Contact Center Staffing
    • A Supervisor’s Guide to Workforce Management
    • Hiring and Developing the Workforce Management Team
    • Workforce Management Essentials:  Principles & Programs for Call Center Staffing
    • Workforce Management Expert Solutions:  Best Practices from SWPP’s Workforce Wizard Series – Second Edition
  14. Job Posting Board. If you need a place to post job openings that are very specific to a position, the SWPP Job Board is perhaps the most targeted marketplace.  Individuals viewing these ads are industry professionals who understand the position, the job tasks and competencies, and the likely scope of work. You will find people with the requisite skills to fill those positions or a least forward to a contact in the industry.  This board is also a great place to find job titles and job descriptions as you refine your own job information.
  15. Networking Opportunities.  Last, but certainly not least, is one of the biggest and most important benefits of being a SWPP member. Whether it’s talking with others in an online seminar, attending the Annual Conference, or participating in a regional meeting, as an SWPP member, you’ll have the opportunity to meet others that do the same job that you do every day. SWPP provides ways to meet others that do what you do and helps you foster these relationships. You’ll make contacts, learn from others, and continue to expand your professional network.

There are many benefits for SWPP members and several different options for joining.  An individual may join for $295 per year, or if you have multiple people that would benefit from membership, there is a site membership for $595 that supports up to three members. If you have multiple locations and many eligible individuals, a corporate membership is available for $4,995 for an unlimited number of locations and members, as well as unlimited members in our sister association, the Quality Assurance & Training Connection (QATC).

If you’re not a member and would like to begin taking advantage of these opportunities, visit the SWPP website to join, or contact Vicki Herrell at vicki.herrell@swpp.org