Being able to define what’s important to the business is vital when it comes to workforce planning, because stakeholder support is the make-or-break factor for any initiative or program of work.
As different business units manage competing priorities, workforce planning teams are faced with multiple challenges in the context of influencing commercial outcomes – be it increased call volumes in the call centre, or technical capability with new software in the back office.
This is where a collaborative workforce planning approach can make all the difference, engaging stakeholders early in the pursuit of new initiatives and collecting feedback to answer the ‘What’s in it for me’ (WIIFM) question. When teams can demonstrate the value of an initiative and tie the outcomes back to their audience’s needs, significant progress can be made.
Ahead of Workforce Planning for Public Sector 2016, Kristy Roberts, Workforce Planning Manager, Customer Services Branch, Customer Services, Safety & Regulation Division Department of Transport & Main Roads, Queensland, shares insight into how her team has established a collaborative workforce planning approach to improve organisational performance in the back office and customer-facing environment at the same time.
Kristy Roberts, Workforce Planning Manager, Customer Services Branch, Customer Services, Safety & Regulation Division Department of Transport & Main Roads, Queensland
When I first started at the organisation it was very difficult to access information, even for our own call flows for the call centre. But as our team crafted relationships with other units, we were able to remove silos and build credibility at the same time, thereby supporting change management effectively.
The reason I’m so passionate about collaborative workforce planning is because there’s an inherent willingness to work together, which is important especially as we’re in a government department.
Our general manager has to sign off on budget spend and other key business items, and he looks after more than just a contact centre – such as the entire state for customer services. Therefore, only by working together can we secure his buy-in and demonstrate the value of various improvement initiatives.
My workforce planning team currently looks after the call centre, central operations and support team – which is a processing unit – and one region of transport inspectors.
The general manager is looking to expand that responsibility in the near future due to our collaborative approach. Whenever we plan to renew contracts with different technology providers, we factor in all of the applications across the branch.
All the customer service centres use telephones for the customer-facing side of the business, but how can we support them with call centre technology from a back office perspective?
We’ve known for many years that workforce planning principles can be applied to the back office just as effectively as front office areas – the only difference is a need to make some slight modifications to tailor those principles. It’s about ensuring we consider what applications are viable elsewhere.
Each of these business units has a director, and part of our process is to engage them one-on-one, discuss with them the call centre direction that we believe would benefit their own business unit.
This article is part of an insights series ahead of the Workforce Planning for Public Sector Summit. Kristy goes on to discuss how the team reports to stakeholders and presents easy-to-understand information. You can read the full article here.
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