Survey Results

Each quarter SWPP surveys the workforce planning community on critical workforce planning topics.  Almost 180 call center professionals representing a wide variety of industries participated and provided insight into this quarter’s survey on the makeup of the WFM team.

Participant Profile

Fifty 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 insurance, healthcare, financial, and “other” industries drew the largest number of participants, but all other industries are also well represented.

Job Title

Respondents were asked which of the offered job titles best described them.  Approximately one-third chose workforce analyst.  Manager, workforce manager and director were virtually tied with approximately 15% each.  This is a fairly representative distribution of the WFM teams in many centers.  The survey group is rounded out with some supervisors, vice presidents, and consultants.

Level of Education

When asked what level of education they had achieved, over half indicated a bachelor’s degree.  Approximately 20 percent have a graduate degree.  Most of the rest have some college with only a few stating a high school diploma.  WFM has become a challenging profession requiring significant levels of mathematics, negotiation, statistical analysis, and business knowledge and this is reflected in the education of these participants.


Time in a WFM Role

The respondents were asked how long they had been in a WFM role or had been responsible for WFM.  Approximately two-thirds reported being in the role for 10 years or more, with another 20% reporting between 5 and 9 years.  This supports the conclusion that WFM is a long-term profession with many continuing to find satisfaction in the ever-expanding challenges and growing impact on their businesses.


Duties Within the WFM Team

Respondents were asked which duties they performed within their WFM team.  Multiple selections were allowed.  Over 60% each chose management of the WFM team and other analytical duties.  Over half chose scheduling, forecasting, and/or intra-day management which are the three basic tasks of the WFM team in most centers.  Approximately 20% manage other teams in addition to WFM.  This wide range of responsibilities gives a broad perspective to the survey.


Number of Sites

Respondents were asked how many sites they are responsible for and over 80% indicated that their operation is multi-site. 
For many organizations, contingency planning alone suggests that an additional site in another area is a good plan.  For some, the additional site may be a outsource provider (or client in the case of the outsourcer).  Managing in this type of distributed environment requires an expanded set of skills to ensure fair and reasonable schedules and a complex intra-day process.


Previous Job Role

Respondents were asked what job role they held before joining the WFM team.  Approximately 40% indicated that they were frontline agents.  About 10 to 20% each were analysts, team leads, or supervisors, while very few had never worked in a call center prior to joining WFM.  Having an “apprentice” role that allows frontline agents or others an opportunity to work in WFM on a temporary basis has multiple benefits.  Those who are a good match to the role can be recruited for the next opening.  But even those who don’t join the team will take a better understanding of the challenges of WFM back to their chosen position.


Closing Comments

Based on the responses above, there is evidence that the workforce management role has expanded over the years and is now a long-term profession for many.  The team has higher levels of education and longevity, likely developing greater levels of responsibility and knowledge.  The expectations of WFM in the business have also expanded from management of teams that only handled calls to those that handle chats, emails, social media, and back-office transactions.  The processes have become more complex and the importance to the success of the enterprise has grown as well.  There is no end in sight for the expansion of the role of the WFM team.