The Ultimate Guide to Call Centre Workforce Management (2022)

Lídia Dias at Talkdesk describes how more than just assigning shifts, workforce management builds the foundation of a smooth-running call centre.

If you talk to a call centre manager, they’ll probably say that one of their biggest challenges is workforce management. Not because people are difficult to manage (well, sometimes they are), but because so many external factors have to be considered that, in the end, it seems much more like guesswork.

But it is not. Call centre workforce management has a great impact on call centre performance indicators, such as customer satisfaction and service level, and makes a great difference if it’s done with the most appropriate tools.

In this blog, we take a look into this topic, the impact it has on several aspects of the business, and how workforce management software can help.

What Is Call Centre Workforce Management?

Simply put, workforce management refers to the way companies organize and manage employees and their workload. It is like solving a puzzle in which all the pieces have to fit together and even the smallest gaps can be significant.

Call centre workforce management involves ensuring the right number of agents are scheduled, at the right time, so no customer is left without having their problems solved.

As any of your call centre managers can tell you, this is a daunting task: there are a ton of external factors that need to be considered to keep things running smoothly.

The good news is that today, there are plenty of workforce management software solutions available to help call centre managers do this without a hitch, ensuring the call centre team is staffed appropriately to meet clients’ demands.

(Video) Workforce Management Basics for Call Centers

The Building Blocks of Call Centre Workforce Management.

Call centre workforce management is comprised of four basic parts: forecasting, scheduling, assigning agents, and managing intraday activity. To be able to better understand the benefits of having a dedicated call centre workforce management system, you need to understand what each part involves.


Forecasting, in the context of contact centres, includes estimating future query volume and the number of agents needed to handle those queries.

Call centre forecasting is essential to predict staff needs with reduced effort and a low error rate, maintaining a high level of service, and ensuring your customer satisfaction rate doesn’t drop.

Forecasting is usually made through historical data—information about seasonal spikes, volume trends, and year-over-year changes that may affect the number of agents needed. It should also include predictions based on future launches, annual sales, or major updates.


The next step is to find the perfect balance between the number of available agents and the data provided by forecasts to determine shifts and hours of coverage.

With an accurate prevision of future contact centre demands, supervisors need to look to the skills of each agent, the contract work rules, and the calendar items to optimize the schedules.

Assigning Agents.

This is the most delicate part of the process. Managers and supervisors want their teams to be useful and productive, but not overwhelmed.

To ensure agents keep engaged and motivated, supervisors usually take into account the level of expertise, length of service, and performance when assigning agents to a specific shift.

(Video) What is Workforce Management in a Call Center?

Intraday Management.

A lot can happen from the moment the supervisor assigns shifts. Call centres are fast-paced environments with unforeseen events (like sick leaves or sudden spikes of volume) that can happen. Call centre supervisors and managers should be able to easily realign shifts and schedules to meet service levels.

The Impact of Workforce Management.

Other than saving call centre supervisors’ time, is there any other advantage of using workforce management software?

Undoubtedly yes. If the contact centre isn’t aligned with the rest of the organization, you can’t achieve your business goals. Workforce management has a great impact on:

Agent Engagement.

It’s not a difficult equation: happy agents make happy customers. Employees that are motivated and engaged create better experiences for customers. While this is not easy to translate directly to the bottom line, you’ll see the negative effects of distressed, unhappy employees in the long run.

Workforce management software allows supervisors to leverage performance data to give better feedback, optimize training, and engage agents with metrics so they’ll feel motivated to perform better.

Customer Satisfaction.

Customers don’t care if you’re understaffed. They don’t care if call centre supervisors are running spreadsheets or have the assistance of a strong workforce management platform.

Unless that reflects on their experience. Customers want quick, efficient resolution without being put on hold or having to wait for long. Having the right agents at the right moment is fundamental to hitting targets in customer satisfaction scores and providing a stellar customer experience.

Operational Efficiency.

Having data at your fingertips is fundamental to making better business decisions. With the insights taken from the workforce management platform, managers can better respond to business targets without compromising customer and employee engagement.

(Video) Call Center Staff Scheduler or Workforce Management Tool using Excel / VBA

Budget Management.

If managers don’t know how many agents they’ll need for a certain period of time, they’ll definitely under or overestimate it. While understaffing damages customer satisfaction and the company’s reputation, overstaffing will increase significantly your payroll expenses.

Features of a Workforce Management Platform.

From a technical perspective, these are the features you should look for when considering a workforce management platform:

Intelligent Forecasting.

AI-powered platforms help you generate forecasts based on historical and real-time data.

Analytics and Insights.

The ability to create customizable dashboards and reports helps you analyse key performance metrics and make better business decisions.

Automated Scheduling.

Choose a platform that allows you to automate and optimize the scheduling process based on shift templates, break rules, agent skills, and KPI goals.

Adherence Monitoring.

Accurately monitor and compare actual agent behaviour with scheduled activities.

Omnichannel Support.

Generate forecasts and schedules that support your omnichannel workflows.

Smart Agent Requests Workflow.

Manage agent requests through a conversational chatbot and a streamlined workflow that automatically updates schedules for approved changes.

(Video) Workforce Management 50+ Tips to Remember When You Create Your Workforce Plan


What Is Workforce Management?

Workforce management refers to the task of assigning the right people to the right task, during a certain period of time. It may sound simple, but it includes many managing internal and external factors to be able to:

  • Forecast staffing needs.
  • Plan schedules.
  • Manage employees’ time.
  • Manage call centre’s budget.
  • Monitor and analyse results.

Can’t the Supervisor or Manager Just Use a Spreadsheet?

Of course, they can. However, this is a highly fallible method and we do not recommend it. Managing a call centre and its staff means taking into consideration things like work legislation, local agreements, and budgets as well as agents’ contracts, skills, and availability. The number of combinations is too large to manage within a spreadsheet, not to mention how time-consuming it is.

Why Opt for a Third-Party Workforce Management Platform?

It’s pretty much up to each organization. But there are some factors to consider if you’re not sure about an in-house workforce management solution or a third-party software:

  • How many employees have to be registered, what is the extent of functionalities, and how many registration devices do you need?
  • Which processes and tasks are expected to be handled through the workforce management solution?
  • How will the workforce management platform integrate with the existing systems?
  • Which type of vendor do you prefer: best of breed or a vendor with a broad suite of products?

This blog post has been re-published by kind permission of Talkdesk – View the original post

To find out more about Talkdesk, visit their website.

About Talkdesk

The Ultimate Guide to Call Centre Workforce Management (1) Talkdesk is a global customer experience leader for customer-obsessed companies. Our contact center solution provides a better way for businesses and customers to engage with one another.

(Video) Call Center Workforce Management video

Read other posts by Talkdesk

Call Centre Helper is not responsible for the content of these guest blog posts. The opinions expressed in this article are those of the author, and do not necessarily reflect those of Call Centre Helper.


What are the questions asked in WFM interview? ›

Common Interview Questions
  • Tell me about yourself. ...
  • What are your strengths? ...
  • What are your limitations? ...
  • What are your short and long-term goals? ...
  • Why did you leave (are you leaving) your last/current job? ...
  • What did you like least about your last position? ...
  • What did you like most about your last position?

What is the role of workforce management in a call center? ›

Workforce management refers to the strategies and technologies companies use to optimize employee productivity. In a call center, workforce management is a set of processes that ensure the right number of agents with the right call center skills are scheduled at the right time.

What are the roles and responsibilities of workforce management? ›

A workforce manager is a professional whose main responsibilities are to oversee the productivity and quality of work within a company. They conduct analysis and reports on employees to determine how their individual skills can best contribute to the organization.

What is calabrio WFM? ›

Calabrio WFM is a highly agile and scalable workforce management platform that allows delivery of seamless experiences for customers, agents and contact center managers—no matter where employees are working.

How do you prepare for a workforce management interview? ›

General workforce analyst interview questions
  1. Why are you interested in this position?
  2. What are your future career goals?
  3. Can you tell me more about yourself?
  4. What would you consider as an ideal work environment?
  5. What do you feel are your greatest strengths?
  6. Can you describe a time when you overcame a challenge?
2 Sept 2021

Why do you want to work with WFM? ›

High Productivity and Low Costs

As said before, management companies are able to provide quality candidates. This is beneficial because high-performing employees are able to produce quality work, and keep operating costs low. Whereas, it may take multiple underqualified candidates to perform the same job.

What are workforce management skills? ›

What are the most important Workforce Manager job skills to have on my resume? The most common important skills required by employers are Process Improvement, Analysis, Contact Center, Vendor Management, Microsoft Excel, Forecasting and Scheduling.

What are WFM tools? ›

Workforce management (WFM) software is a suite of tools that helps ensure employees are in the right place, at the right time for maximum productivity.
Features of WFM software
  • Labor forecasting. ...
  • Scheduling. ...
  • Time tracking. ...
  • Absence management. ...
  • Overtime management. ...
  • Analytics. ...
  • Regulatory compliance. ...
  • Mobile accessibility.

What is workforce planning in call center? ›

Call center workforce planning is the process of forecasting staffing needs based on anticipated volume or other business drivers (ex, the rollout of a new product) and then ensuring everything is in place to hire, train, schedule and manage the required agent team.

How much does calabrio cost? ›

Pricing Information
Calabrio Analytics Bursting - Per User Per Month Over Contract$86.25/unit
Storage - Real-time storage (GB / Month)$0.03/unit
Calabrio ONE Suite Bursting - Per User Per Month Over Contract$156.25/unit
Usage as defined by contract$0.01/unit
2 more rows

How does calabrio work? ›

At its most basic, Calabrio Desktop Analytics allows supervisors to capture key strokes and screen activity from individual agents, letting them know exactly what's happening at agents' desktops—what the agent is seeing, what windows are open, what's being typed, etc.

Who owns calabrio? ›

Minneapolis and San Francisco — April 19, 2021 — Thoma Bravo, a leading private equity investment firm focused on the software and technology-enabled services sectors, today announced the completion of its acquisition of Calabrio, the customer experience intelligence company.

What is WFM specialist? ›

The Workforce Management (WFM) Specialist's primary responsibility is to preserve the center's ability to. meet contractual service level metrics of each program. This position provides frontline, 24X7 support for. all Percepta programs, with an emphasis on balancing service level goals with an agent schedule.

What is workforce planning example? ›

A few examples of what strategic workforce planning might look like include: Recruitment of new team members. Leadership development training. Global expansion initiatives.

What is the role of WFM analyst? ›

The Workforce Management Analyst is responsible for the daily efforts to provide a great customer and employee experience by effectively delivering real-time (intra-day) management with the purpose of optimizing resources to achieve business objectives.

How do you answer introduce yourself in an interview for experienced? ›

Key Takeaways
  1. Structure your answer in a way that makes sense. Stick to the past-present-future format, and you're all good!
  2. Keep it relevant and brief (1-2 minutes max). No one wants to hear your whole life story.
  3. Mention any of your top achievements and relevant work experiences.

Why are you interested in this job? ›

I see this opportunity as a way to contribute to an exciting/forward-thinking/fast-moving company/industry, and I feel I can do so by/with my …” “I feel my skills are particularly well-suited to this position because …” “I believe I have the type of knowledge to succeed in this role and at the company because …”

Why are employees important? ›

Employees are the base of a strong and long-running organization. Employees run the organization, no matter what level. This means their strength, commitment and dedication, and their emotional connection with the organization can't be judged as assets in monetary value.

What is the most important question you should ask yourself when reviewing your workforce plan? ›

15 Key Questions To Incorporate in Your Workforce Plan
  • What did last year look like for your organization? ...
  • Does your strategic plan match the current reality of your organization? ...
  • What events could affect your strategic plan? ...
  • How will the broader economy affect your organization?
23 Aug 2018

Is the key tool to make the workforce efficient? ›

There are a number of ways you can support employee development: individual coaching, workshops, courses, seminars, shadowing or mentoring, or even just increasing their responsibilities. Offering these opportunities will give employees additional skills that allow them to improve their efficiency and productivity.

What is workforce analysis? ›

Workforce Analysis provides information regarding the current workforce across mission critical occupations, including demographic and background characteristics of the current workforce, retirement eligibility, turnover, and various workforce management issues (i.e., recruitment and retention).

What is the future of workforce management? ›

Ineffective workforce management has a direct impact on people management. Managed badly, this can lead to a drop in productivity and profitability all the way through to a lack of engagement and a drop in employee morale. To mitigate this, workforce management will be business-critical for 2021 and beyond.

What is workforce management in CRM? ›

A workforce management (WFM) solution is a software solution that helps organizations streamline and automate the processes that manage workers' time, organize and deploy their labor force efficiently, enable employee and manager self-service, and ensure employee safety.

What is workforce platform? ›

Workforce management platforms offer a variety of features that enable users to optimize workforce efforts. Companies use workforce management software to forecast labor demand, create and assign employee schedules, track attendance, and report on workforce efficiency.

What is workforce management planning? ›

Workforce planning is the systematic process for identifying and. addressing the gaps between the workforce of today and the human capital needs of tomorrow.

What is BPO shrinkage? ›

Shrinkage can be defined as the time for which people are paid during which they are not available to handle calls. There are many reasons that can cause shrinkage – and it has to be taken into account when scheduling the required number of agents to meet call volumes.

What does RTA stand for in a call center? ›

RTA (Real Time Adherence) is workforce management metric that helps you pinpoint employees that are currently out of adherence with the planned schedule. Real-time adherence essentially shows you in real-time what an agent is scheduled to be doing, and what they are actually doing.

How do I get into workforce management? ›

Requirements and Qualifications
  1. A bachelor's degree in a business-related field or equivalent experience.
  2. Human resources experience preferred.
  3. Experience with Workforce Optimization software a plus.
  4. Computer proficiency.
  5. Organizational and communication skills.

What is calabrio one? ›

Calabrio ONE is a workforce performance suite with workforce optimization (WFO) at the core, maximized with enterprise-grade agent engagement and AI-fueled analytics tools.

Does calabrio record screen? ›

Calabrio ONE extracts and uploads the screen recording from the agent's PC. Once Calabrio ONE uploads contacts from UJET, it begins the process of extracting and uploading matching screen recordings. Calabrio ONE does this by relaying timestamps for each contact to the appropriate agent PC.

What is Calabrio call recording? ›

Calabrio Call Recording is a cloud-based call center solution that helps users manage and record business interactions with customers. Key features include call sharing, file transfer, automated notifications, reporting, analysis and screen recording.

Is calabrio part of Cisco? ›

The Calabrio + Cisco Connection. Calabrio ONE can now be purchased on Cisco's UCCX platform giving small and medium size organizations enterprise level Workforce Optimization technology. If you're looking for a refreshed Workforce Optimization tech stack, now is the time to learn more about Calabrio ONE.

What is RTA in BPO? ›

RTA (Real Time Adherence) is workforce management metric that helps you pinpoint employees that are currently out of adherence with the planned schedule. Real-time adherence essentially shows you in real-time what an agent is scheduled to be doing, and what they are actually doing.

What is your capacity interview? ›

During the interview As Capacity Planner process employers will want to find out how you respond to supervision. They want to know whether you have any problems with authority, If you can work well as part of a group (see previous question) and if you take instructions well etc.

Why are you interested in this position? ›

I see this opportunity as a way to contribute to an exciting/forward-thinking/fast-moving company/industry, and I feel I can do so by/with my …” “I feel my skills are particularly well-suited to this position because …” “I believe I have the type of knowledge to succeed in this role and at the company because …”

What is the role of real time analyst? ›

The Real Time Analyst is responsible for monitoring all queues and ensuring adequate actions are taken on rosters to ensure target metrics are achieved. The Real Time Analyst will monitor agent activities ensuring adherence to schedules and activity entries are up to date with scheduling systems.

What is the difference between RTA and WFM? ›

WFM Real-Time Adherence extracts up-to-the-minute information about status changes of employees in call centers and other organizational units that you choose to monitor. RTA listens for real-time changes in user status and reports them to the vendor in real time.

What is BPO shrinkage? ›

Shrinkage can be defined as the time for which people are paid during which they are not available to handle calls. There are many reasons that can cause shrinkage – and it has to be taken into account when scheduling the required number of agents to meet call volumes.

What is RTM in call center? ›

What is Real-Time Monitoring? Real-time monitoring for call centers refers to the tools and software which enables managers to oversee and track agent calls as they are carried out.

What do you understand by capacity planning what are steps to perform capacity planning? ›

Capacity planning refers to the process of deciphering how much resource you're going to need to meet demand. This “demand” can be for any unit of time: the coming week, next season, or even in a year's time. Some things that fall under capacity planning are: Employing staff to meet coming demand.

What is ITIL process interview questions? ›

Top ITIL Interview Questions
  • Q1. What is ITIL®? ...
  • Q2. What are the processes that constitute ITIL? ...
  • Q3. What are the benefits of ITIL?
  • Q4. What are the processes utilized by the Service Desk? ...
  • Q5. What are the objectives of Incident Management? ...
  • Q6. How does the Incident Management system work? ...
  • Q7. What is an SLA? ...
  • Q8.
23 Aug 2022

Why should we hire you answer best? ›

Show that you have skills and experience to do the job and deliver great results. You never know what other candidates offer to the company. But you know you: emphasize your key skills, strengths, talents, work experience, and professional achievements that are fundamental to getting great things done on this position.

Why should we hire you with no experience? ›

Answer 2. “Being a fresher, I think I am very flexible and adaptive to learning new things. I am sure I will be able to contribute something capable to the growth of the company. My last project in Operations has taught me how to be a team player, and work in unison.

What is WFM scheduling? ›

What is WFM (workforce management) scheduling? WFM scheduling is a way of determining how many employees are required for a particular job at any given time. The larger and more diverse the workforce, the more laborious and difficult this process becomes.

What are the main duties of a customer service representative? ›

  • Listen to customers' concerns, issues and questions.
  • Resolve customers' concerns and answer customers' questions to your best ability.
  • Maintain a positive attitude and calmly respond to customers' complaints.
  • Open new customer accounts.
30 Mar 2022

Who is a workforce analyst? ›

Workforce Analysts work in many industries and are responsible for managing the schedules of workers to ensure a company operates effectively and efficiently. They help to make sure a company has scheduled enough staff to meet daily demands.


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