WFM Summer Survey Results

Each quarter SWPP surveys the workforce planning community on critical workforce planning topics. Over 150 call center professionals representing a wide variety of industries participated and provided insight into this quarter’s survey on the use of satisfaction surveys within the WFM operation.

Survey Participants

Fifty-two percent 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.

Survey Agents

Respondents were asked if they survey agents for satisfaction with the WFM processes. Forty-one percent indicated that they do these surveys with another 19% planning to implement soon. However, over 30% indicated that they do not survey their agents for satisfaction. Overall, agents indicate that after paycheck, work schedules have one of the most significant impacts on satisfaction and agent retention.

SR-2023 Spring-1

Groups Surveyed

For those who do survey their “customers,” over 80% indicated that agents are included. Over 70% indicated that supervisors are asked to respond and over 50% include management. All these groups are significantly affected by the WFM processes so gauging their satisfaction is important to the organization as a whole. Knowing what is working well for these WFM customers and what could benefit from changes can help to guide the WFM team to becoming a more effective and respected part of the organization.

SR-2023 Spring-2

Questions Asked

The respondents were asked if they include the same questions for each of the groups that they survey. While 11% survey only one group, about two-thirds of those who survey multiple groups ask different questions of each. While agents may be most concerned about the scheduling process and the flexibility of the WFM team to respond to their needs, supervisors and managers may be most interested in the reporting functions and effectiveness of intraday adjustment processes.

SR-2023 Spring-3

Frequency of Surveys

Respondents were asked how often the surveys are performed. An even number of respondents each chose quarterly, annually, and ad hoc, with smaller groups selecting every 6 months or monthly. To some extent, the frequency of surveys may be tied to the frequency of schedule changes, shift bids, or other major WFM processes. Gaining important insights prior to the change can help to guide decisions on adjustments that may be beneficial.

SR-2023 Spring-4

Questions in the Survey

Respondents were asked to select from a list of possible topics for questions used in their surveys. Approximately three-quarters asked about satisfaction with components of the schedule with almost 70% asking about the components of the scheduling process. Other questions may be driven in part by the unique situation within each center and focus on areas of concern or potential for changes under consideration. While there is benefit to repeating questions on successive surveys for trend analysis, focusing at least part of the questions on the most current issues is helpful as well.

SR-2023 Spring-5

Survey Tied to Action Plans

Respondents were asked if the survey results are used to create action plans for improvement and almost 90% indicated that they are used in that way. It is important to the respondents to know that their input is taken seriously, and they are heard. If no action results from the survey, there is reluctance to participate in future surveys as they may be regarded as a waste of time.

SR-2023 Spring-6

Publishing of Results

Respondents were asked if they publish the survey results and action plans to the respondents. While 58% indicated that they do publish the results and plans, 42% indicated that they do not. This is a significant opportunity to build trust between the WFM team and the surveyed groups. Concealing the results and actions plans (or lack of plans) can do little to help build rapport between these teams that must work together to achieve the company’s goals.

SR-2023 Spring-7

Survey Results Used as a KPI

Respondents were asked if the survey results are used as a key performance indicator (KPI) for the WFM team. Nearly two-thirds indicated that the surveys are not used as a KPI. However, nearly 40% do include the survey results in their annual performance measures.

SR-2023 Spring-8

Interesting Discoveries

Respondents were asked to cite interesting discoveries they have made as a result of the survey processes. These are some of the answers:

  • What you think agents want and what they actually want may not match.
  • They do not all want a Monday – Friday schedule. Some prefer weekend schedules and split shifts.
  • Response timeliness to their requests is extremely important.
  • Some express interest in 10-hour or split shifts but don’t select them in the shift bids.
  • Tenure and generations play a role in what is seen in the survey results.
  • Agents are less flexible than expected in the work-fromhome model.
  • More agents are content with schedules than management assumed.
  • The workforce wants more flexibility than the collective bargaining agreement allows.
  • Some of the pain points for both WFM and agents can be addressed with HR.

Closing Comments

Based on the responses above, surveys can be an important part of continuous improvement in the WFM processes. Satisfaction of the customers of WFM is one of the key measures of success along with forecasting accuracy, scheduling efficiency, and intraday effectiveness. Finding out what they really want and exploring ways to meet their needs and expectations can go a long way toward building an effective and efficient operation.