NASHVILLE, TENNESSEE – April 5, 2016 – The Society of Workforce Planning Professionals (SWPP) has announced Tony Graczyk as the 2016 Workforce Management Professional of the Year, which recognizes a workforce management professional who has shown outstanding leadership in the industry.

“We are so thrilled to announce Tony as the winner of this prestigious award,” said Vicki Herrell, SWPP Executive Director. “His workforce management 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 winner of the award was announced at the SWPP Annual Conference.

Tony Graczyk is the Contact Center Workforce Planning Manager for Principal Financial Group (PFG) in Grand Island, NE.  The operation consists of 1400 agents in 14 units across six locations, handling 500,000 calls, emails, and faxes per month.  Since joining Principal Financial in 2001, Tony has played a key role in the success of all PFG contact centers, and throughout the company. Starting as a frontline agent, Tony has now been a Contact Center Workforce Planning Manager for the past two years and he is primarily responsible for the overall workforce management support of all 14 centers. His experience as an analyst easily lent itself to becoming a workforce manager because he intuitively knew what resources were needed to improve the efficiency and to be successful at the contact center level. His years of technical experience also provided him with the analytical expertise needed to learn the ins and outs of the center’s WFM system and use it to forecast and prioritize the center’s scheduling and workforce needs.

Tony’s ability to lead and shape the direction of all the contact centers results from a unique combination of his own experience, his intuitive sense of both the business and of people, his foresight and ability to analyze and assess workforce needs, and a willingness to learn and take on new things. He continuously looks for ways to utilize the solutions within the contact center, providing best practices not only for his team but also for the company as a whole.

Tony possesses a unique set of skills and traits that have helped make him successful in his role at the Principal Financial Group. Tony’s technical background, combined with his sharp analytical skills, has proved to be an amazing combination for helping improve forecasting and scheduling across the organization. His proactive leadership, desire to learn new things, and his foresight have been invaluable in allowing PFG to create new cost efficiencies across the contact centers, as well. His willingness to always be of help to his contact center partners and his team makes him the kind of team player that every organization seeks.

Tony joined the workforce management team at the time of the Principal Financial Group’s initial implementation of a new WFM system, and his technical expertise and drive to acquire new skills suited him well in quickly learning the structure and processes used within the new implementation. Ten years later, Tony is further equipped with experience and knowledge of what it takes to successfully collaborate with business unit leaders for efficient operation at a reduced cost while still retaining the potential for the flexibility that the workforce so desperately desires.

To support the amount of data needed for thorough analysis, Tony actively initiated and collaborated on the creation of a datamart that would contain information from the WFM system, as well as from the call management system (CMS) platform. Making use of the storage efficiency and accessibility of the datamart eliminated many of the disparate reports being manually updated and maintained by staff within the business units. The breadth of information contained within the datamart also set the stage for the creation of reports and analyses that made it possible to compare and contrast items from the WFM and CMS systems for better planning and understanding of operations.

When confronted with a potential legal issue related to minimum lunch durations and potential impacts to performance results, Tony met with the HR leaders to find ways to eliminate the majority of the risk.  An automated application to handle the schedule adjustments saved over $11,000 in agent and WFM team labor.  A complete review of the performance-based scheduling process resulted in a 2% increase in scheduling efficiency (saving approximately $200,000 annually) and an increase from 40% to over 75% of agents working a schedule they consider to be ideal.

According to Stephanie Tiedens, Assistant Director, “The ‘speed of the leader determines the rate of the pack’ is definitely true at The Principal. Tony directly leads the workforce management team at The Principal and continues to move ahead with expanding the value that the team brings to the areas they support. They have expanded their scope to incorporate the CMS as subject material experts and support the end users’ needs within that system and for phone routing consulting services. He has expanded the purview of the WFM team for back-office staffing beyond the US borders and is working to expand their services to contact center operations globally for the organization. He actively looks for solutions that seem ‘outside the box,’ and he approaches problems with a ‘can-do’ attitude. In a nutshell, he exemplifies the talents that make an exceptional workforce planning professional.”

The five finalists for the 2016 Workforce Management Professional of the Year Award were recognized at the SWPP Annual Conference as well.  The other finalists are Mike Duffy from TeleTech, Darlene Green from Shaw Industries, Stephen Schmidt from Egencia, an Expedia, Inc. Company, and Jesse Scholten from UnitedHealthcare.

The SWPP Board of Advisors selected the five finalists from nominations submitted on the SWPP website.  The Workforce Management Professional of the Year award is chosen from the five finalists by the Board of Advisors and announced at the 2016 SWPP Annual Conference.

About SWPP

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