On Target

A quarterly publication of Society of Workforce Planning Professionals

How I Became a Certified Workforce Planning Professional

Dr. Debra Bentson

There we were, a Workforce Management team crafting our development plan for the coming year. Someone pitched the idea of becoming Certified Workforce Planning Professionals through SWPP. We knew the organization, read through the materials, and the team agreed to add this to their development plans. As the leader of the team, I supported the goal for them, it looked like a done deal. Then one of them said “how about you?” I replied “how about me what?” He said “Are you in with us?” I replied “Yeah – I’m in.” I signed us up and we embarked on the adventure.

Certification is made up of 4 elements:

There are 3 examinations, each on critical Workforce Management topics. Every examination is closed book, with a 2-hour time limit, and proctored to guarantee it is administered properly. There will be no phoning friends, buying vowels, and even using the force doesn’t seem to provide a meaningful edge. Here are the topics:

  • Planning and Strategy
  • Staffing and Scheduling
  • Managing Daily Staffing and Service

The 4th element is a presentation on a Workforce Management topic. Once you have created your presentation, you will deliver it via conference call to an expert panel.

My ego wants to tell you that I breezed through it all – but my integrity commands me to tell you about the bit that was not immediately worthy of a celebration. I didn’t pass all of the tests the first time because I did not initially adequately prepare for them.

The presentation was the easiest piece for me – mind you I really like having an audience and this was no exception. Eight panel members were on the phone – people who speak my language – workforce management. After I completed my presentation, they took turns asking questions. Everyone was nice and posed their questions from a position of curiosity, no grilling at all. When we were done, I thanked them and hung up, they conferred and decided that I passed, and I received an email later that afternoon with the news. Yay!

Now I want to share some tips from my experience to help you be successful:

  1. You have two years to complete the process, so there is plenty of time to take the practice test, attend the monthly SWPP webinars, take notes, and study the materials on the SWPP website. Don’t be nervous – be prepared.
  2. About those examinations – keep in mind that there are many subtly different ways to do workforce management – think Baskin-Robbins. In this process, the examinations are based on the methods that SWPP teaches, so prepare using their materials and you will be ready for the examinations.
  3. Your presentation will be based on a Workforce Management element, you are being evaluated on your mastery of Workforce Management knowledge and techniques – see where this is going? Workforce it up! Strut your algorithms and show your stuff. Presenting on the awesome pot luck the Workforce team had isn’t going to do it – drench your presentation in workforce!
  4. Vicki Herrell, Executive Director of the Society of Workforce Planning Professionals (SWPP), will shepherd you through the process when you need direction – she wants you to succeed in becoming certified, and so do I.

Debra earned her doctorate degree in Business Administration. She has built and led Workforce Management teams for 20 years in a variety of industries. Debra is a 2-time ICMI “Top 50 Thought Leader to Follow on Twitter”, CWPP (Certified Workforce Planning Professional), and member of both the Nor-Cal Contact Center Association Steering Committee and the ASUGA Board of Directors. Debra is a member of the DNF (Did Not Finish) racetrack safety team at the Antioch, California speedway. Her prescription for life is: “Work and play, laugh loud and often, be safe and strong, and live on your own terms.”

Learn more about and connect with Debra: twitter @theccdoctor and at https://www.linkedin.com/in/dr-debra-bentson/