Survey Results

Each quarter SWPP surveys the workforce planning community on critical workforce planning topics. One hundred and seventy-four call center professionals representing a wide variety of industries participated and provided insight into this quarter’s survey on the staffing in the workforce management team.

Survey Participants

Nearly half of the respondents to this survey work in centers with over 500 agents. The rest are representative of a wide variety of sizes from under 50 up to 500 agents. The healthcare, financial, insurance, and “other” industries drew the largest number of participants, but all other industries are also well represented.

Number of Sites

Respondents were asked if they represent a single or multi-site operation. Over 80% work in multi-site centers.

survey chart 1

Centers Supported by WFM

When asked how many centers the WFM team supports, two-thirds responded with 1–5 centers. The balance is relatively evenly split between 6–10 and more than 10 centers.

WFM Team

The respondents were asked if they have a WFM team. All but four of the respondents indicated that they do have a WFM team in place. Given that 12% of the respondents are from centers of 100 agents or less and 18% are from single site operations, this suggests that even smaller organizations are utilizing a WFM team (or individual).

Staffing of the WFM Team

Respondents were asked how many total full-time equivalent staff are on the WFM team. At the opposite ends of the choices, 43% indicated that they have 1-5 staff while 26% have more than 20 staff. Approximately half of the respondents have up to five non-management staff on the team while 15% have more than 20.

Total FTEs on WFM Team

Non-Management FTEs on WFM Team

Qualifications for WFM Staff

Respondents were asked what qualifications they look for in hiring staff for the WFM team and multiple selections were allowed. More than half require call center experience with approximately one-third looking for WFM experience. Twenty require a college degree. While not requested in this survey question, some prefer that any WFM experience include the specific systems used in the hiring center while others will accept experience on any WFM system. Restricting the choices to someone with only experience on the WFM system in place can significantly limit the candidate pool, but others have concerns about the challenges of working with a new hire who must unlearn the prior system and adapt to the current one.

Agents Supported by the WFM Team

Respondents were asked how many agents are supported by their WFM team. Forty-four percent support more than 500 agents but given the preponderance of multi-site operations among the respondents, that is to be expected. Ony 5% support less than 50 agents. Perhaps more informative is the ratio of agents to each WFM staff member. Approximately one-third indicated that their ratio is 1 WFM person to 51 to 100 agents. Close behind are those with less than 50 agents or between 101 and 150 agents to each WFM person. On the high end of the options, a combined 15% support more than 200 agents per WFM team member, with 6% supporting more than 300 agents each.

Number of Agents Supported by WFM Team

Ratio of WFM Staff to Agents Supported

Work Groups Supported

Respondents were asked how many distinct work groups their WFM team supports. Again, the opposite ends received the most responses. Approximately one-third support 1-5 work groups, while one-quarter support more than 20. The rest are distributed between these choices. It is common for distinct work groups to require separate forecasts and schedules and may have different drivers and requirements. This multiplies the workload for the WFM team.

Organizational Structure

Respondents were asked where the WFM team reports in the organization. Approximately one-third of the respondents each report to the Director/VP of WFM or Director/VP of Operations. Another one-quarter report to the Director/VP of the contact center. In many cases, the reporting structure is driven by the preferences of the senior managers and perhaps their own experiences around contact center operations.

Closing Comments

Based on the responses above, contact center WFM teams vary widely in terms of size and workload. While some of the respondents support a single site, less than five work groups, and perhaps less than 100 agents total, others work in multi-site operations with large numbers of distinct work groups and more than 500 agents. This suggests that comparing one operation to another is problematic. What may be a reasonable goal for one center may be nearly impossible for another.