Intern Program Gives “Home Grown” Feel to Workforce Management Team

By Rick Seeley, Convergys

With ever increasing responsibility and more requirements from the upper echelon of management, the workforce management team now has a vacancy that needs to be filled. Where do you recruit an experienced person to fill this gap? Do you recruit from outside and get a person that may or may not have the declared experience? Do you recruit internally for a person who probably will not have workforce knowledge? Do you search for a headhunter to fill your needs at an extravagant salary requirement? How much do you have to pay for a reasonably experienced person to learn and be a functional workforce team member?

The answer that I have found is to do some work before the vacancy in the department occurs. Periodically (NOT when immediate needs set in) offer workforce planning internships for a specific timeframe to familiarize more people with the functions and procedures of the workforce management group. Create a posting, interview, and selection process for internships every 90 days.

One or two people at a time are reassigned temporarily to learn to track the floor operations (real-time adherence), enter off-phone activity in the workforce software program, and to run the daily reports. As each person masters a new area, they then spread their wings to other areas of reporting and analyzing staffing so they have a well rounded understanding and “hands-on” approach to workforce operations.

The interns receive a wealth of knowledge and a more clear understanding of the purpose and responsibility of the workforce team. This information then gets conveyed to the representatives on the phones when the internship terminates and the individuals return to their normal work titles. The internship allows the rep to get information and educate their peers on the floor as to why things are done the way they are in the workforce team, squashing the “they’re out to get me” attitudes.

After a few internships, you will have two or three skilled ex-interns on the floor. Now when that “real” vacancy in the workforce planning area comes up, you have a pool of qualified prospects from which to recruit.

This is basically a “home-grown” system of replacing or adding to your existing workforce team at minimal cost and recruitment. The Workforce Intern Program has allowed me to teach and select the best for my group without having to go outside the organization in several previous jobs. Also, many companies that have trialed this process have found it successful in development as well as protecting the need for workforce management personnel without having to retrain someone with absolutely no knowledge of workforce management and workforce management procedures.

Rick Seeley of Convergys is a member of the SWPP Advisory Board. He may be reached at