NASHVILLE, TENNESSEE – April 23, 2019 – The Society of Workforce Planning Professionals (SWPP) has announced Scott Boyd from Guardian Life Insurance Company of America as the recipient of the 2019 SWPP Workforce Management Professional of the Year award.
“We are so thrilled to announce Scott as the winner of this prestigious award,” said Vicki Herrell, SWPP Executive Director. “His knowledge, leadership, and vision have helped him achieve great results for his company. We believe he is truly representative of the great workforce management professionals around the world.”
The SWPP Board of Advisors selected the five finalists from nominations submitted on the SWPP website. The other finalists included Tate Conrad from Nationwide, Andrew Gilmer from Comcast, Paul Rodde from LanguageLine Solutions, and Caryn Yurkstas from Paychex. The Workforce Management Professional of the Year award is chosen from the five finalists by the SWPP Board of Advisors and announced at the 2019 SWPP Annual Conference.
Scott Boyd is Director, Workforce Management for Guardian Life Insurance Company of America and has been with Guardian for 11 years, and in the workforce planning line of business for 22 years. The company operates in 10 locations with 600 contact center personnel and 2400 back office employees on a 6AM to 9PM EST basis. They handle 1.5 million contacts per month including calls, emails, chat and transactions. The centers utilize Verint Workforce Management along with Recording/Quality Management, Desktop and Process Analytics, and Speech and Text Analytics.
When Scott started with Guardian in 2007, there were three workforce planning analysts supporting 300 contact center agents. But Scott realized that the contact center was only 20% of the total staff with the remaining 80% working in back office processing units. By putting Guardian’s back office operations under the WFM umbrella, the team could help the organization better understand employee availability, quantify productivity, and support downstream financial planning.
But this wasn’t an easy task. They met with resistance from all levels of the organization in the back office. Scott and his team had to build an extensive change management program to educate and build relationships in the back office. This started with getting senior executives on board. They found an executive in their Customer Response Unit who understood the value of WFM,
and started in this business unit. They used this group to convince the other business units that WFM would help them achieve their goals. This is a testament to Scott’s perseverance and strategic approach to workforce planning.
The first thing the team realized was that due to a lack of planning, the back office units were incurring extensive overtime. With planning in place, they were able to vastly reduce overtime by 30%, which saved millions of dollars. The organization also benefited from immediate productivity improvements by automating vacation time-off requests. So instead of “firefighting,” trying to figure out how to fill overtime needs, or spending time adjudicating vacation time-off requests, Guardian can now focus on business-critical activities such as driving efficiencies and coaching and developing employees.
Following the rollout of Verint WFM into back office operations, Guardian has seen better and more consistent performance overall. More specifically, Guardian has increased productivity up to 20% across every area, and reduced shrinkage from 30% to as low as 13%. By staffing to requirements curves, Guardian has decreased its overall staffing requirements by 8% and as mentioned earlier, reduced overtime by 30% – saving millions.
Today, there are nine people in the workforce management team which oversees planning for Guardian Life and its four subsidiaries as well as Guardian India. They support 26 million clients, 3000 employees, 24 different units, 98 capacity plans, 270 forecasts and 4 unique entities. “As a visionary,
Scott has not stopped there. He has set his sights on expanding Workforce Planning into non-traditional areas (i.e. Sales Support, Underwriting, etc.) and tackling lack of visibility into back office by implementing new technologies,” according to Mary Lou Joseph, Director, Content Marketing from Verint Systems Inc. Scott is a United States Marine Corp veteran who puts his workforce planning skills to good use managing a family of five children as well.
Tate Conrad serves as Consultant, Process Management for Nationwide, a property and casualty insurance provider operating in 10 locations with over 5000 agents handling phone, chat, email and back office transactions on a 24/7 basis. The centers handle nearly 2 million contacts per month, utilizing IEX and i360 for WFM, Genesys email, chat and call routing, AWD and eFile for
work distribution. The WFM team includes 47 personnel.
Tate will celebrate 15 years of service this June. He began as a call center representative, providing service for commercial insurance agents. Prior to joining Workforce Management 10 years ago, he also held roles in quality assurance and as a call center supervisor. “Like most people in WFM, Tate has a passion for solving problems and in his supervisory role he helped solve some staffing and scheduling issues that led him toward WFM,” according toDeb Allison, Director, Workforce Management.
Tate’s first role in Workforce Management was an analyst position that quickly
transformed into a long-term forecasting role. One of Tate’s most impactful accomplishments was to build consistent practices and models for most of the service centers at Nationwide. Those practices are now used over all service centers that total more than 5,000 agents. Tate then continued in WFM as project lead, manager, and on to his current consultant role.
In addition to the forecasting and analytics, Tate’s team is responsible for a core set of reporting referred to as Heath Checks, monthly reports generated for each of the 22 business units and 42 unique forecasts they support. With the vast amount of change they were experiencing, the content was no longer robust enough and it required over 400 hours each month from the WFM
team to manually create the material using Excel and PowerPoint.
Tate addressed the problem in several ways. First, he improved the overall forecasting process by implementing and training the team on more robust analytics using R Studio. This enabled the team to run many different time series methodologies in the span of minutes vs. days, saving time and better aligning data. Tate then met with all the business partners and the WFM teams
that support them to standardize the Heath Check agenda and revamped the approach to segment the content into two areas: a Monthly Trending and Planning meeting focused on performance and optimization with operations leaders and a Quarterly Trending and Planning meeting with executives to focus explicitly on budget planning and staffing. Once he standardized the audience and appropriate output for each conversation, the team was able to create the new and consistent views, reducing the time to produce all reports by 80%.
Not only were the new reports now standardized and easy to view, they provided the business partners with deeper analytics, allowing them to make better informed decisions and understand those impacts. By creating analytics appropriate for the target audience, the conversations and decisions were more appropriate, providing leaders higher level of confidence when making
their hiring decisions. The monetary benefits to the WFM team was approximately $120,000 per year.
The Society of Workforce Planning Professionals (SWPP) is an organization devoted to facilitating education and networking opportunities among workforce planners across all industries. Membership in SWPP is available to all workforce planning professionals and other interested parties from consulting and vendor organizations. Both individual memberships and corporate membership options are available, with full benefits and costs outlined on the organization’s website at www.swpp.org.