Ask the Workforce Wizard


Our team is looking into rebranding our workforce management (WFM) team name to something new and fresh.  I am reaching out to see if you have possibly heard of any unique names that you could share?


I sent your question out to some of our “wizards” and got some feedback to share. Hope it helps!

  • In a previous organization, the first thing my leader asked me to do was help the contact center leadership team understand the definition of Workforce Management.  Piece of cake, I thought!  As I traveled around to meet all of the WFM teams, I realized that one of the big problems was all of the “extra” tasks people assigned to WFM because they often worked longer hours than the other staff support teams.As a result, we got stuck with all kinds of tasks that had nothing to do with WFM, including:
    • headset warranty/repair
    • taking messages for reps (who had no direct line)
    • accepting food deliveries for reps simply because WFM happened to be located near the employee entrance
    • getting up from the real-time screen to open the back door for package deliveries
    • maintaining lockers as reps turned over (including cleaning them out, if necessary)
    • holding paycheck stubs after HR goes home for the night

And the list went on… As we worked to syphon off some of those non-WFM tasks, we pulled together to decide what our role was.  Some of the more literal thinkers on the team wondered if we were the ones confusing people with our name, since we called ourselves Workforce Management but we didn’t manage the workforce.  It was a misnomer.  After brainstorming what we DID do, we started taking suggestions for a new name.  In the end, we combined our two favorite suggestions and ended up with Resource Planning & Management, or RPM for the acronym.  I wrote an article for the in-house newsletter, made the rounds of meetings and site visits, plus we had budget back then plus a very creative communication person on staff who created an RPM logo for us, so this new brand really seemed to catch on.

  • Workforce Management is much more than what it sounds like and I have always been a fan of using the name Resource Management and/or Planning in many of my roles. I would also add that you may want to consider the job titles of the individuals on the team too. Typical roles under the WFM umbrella tie to “analyst” but that is just so cookie cutter. For example, in my last role every teammate had the role of analyst and as we were trying to move the business forward and get away from that “us vs. them” mentality, we worked on titling more around things like consultant, partner, etc. This made the team feel more empowered to find solutions and not always just say no.Here are some other WFM names I have seen as well:
    • Workforce Optimization
    • Resource Advisors
    • Operations Optimization Team
    • Enterprise Advisory Team
    • Strategic Workforce Planning


We’re working on a project to change our exception entry process.  We currently allow our agents to enter their own exceptions to cover their legitimate off-phone time.  We’re looking to lower our compliance goals and do away with most of our exceptions (except for sick and training).  My supervisor has asked if we can get some information about how other companies deal with compliance and exception entry issues. Any assistance you can provide would be most appreciated.


We put this question to our experts and came back with two different approaches that we can share.

One company did away with entry of intra-day exceptions (for coaching, non-productive, etc) and aside from entering pre-scheduled training, meeting, etc. now will only update with training they are pushing to the agents, along with voluntary time off (VTO) and research/project time that they are pushing for “day of” activities.

To compensate, they established an “acceptable” threshold for a lower schedule adherence goal and what they call “unscheduled off-phone time.”  As long as the agents come in below the threshold, their monthly performance and therefore their bonus potential is not impacted.  If they exceed the threshold, it dings them and they lose a portion of their bonus potential for being off the phones too much.

The second organization did not eliminate exceptions, but did reduce them significantly.  They began the process by determining how much volume was generated by each exception type and found that the vast majority were break and lunch adjustments.  They calculated what percentage of compliance could potentially be lost if a rep was late going to (and subsequently coming back from) each lunch/break and then selected the goal keeping that in mind.  At the time, they continued to enter other types of exceptions, such as impromptu meetings with supervisors.