March 16, 2021

What's next for workforce management in 2021? (Webinar Recap)

In this webinar, Doug Casterton of N26 leads a discussion with the EMEA chapter of the Global Workforce Management (GWFM) Forum surrounding their 2021 WFM priorities. The group discusses topics like automation, training, remote work and choosing the right workforce management solutions. They explore the benefits and challenges that come with increased utilization of technology, remote flexibility and more. The panelists include Matthew De Giovanni—most recently at Three Mobile, Andre Leitão from Farfetch, Tony Maycroft from Sunrise Communications, and Dr. Shiva Kumar, Founder and CEO of GWFM.

This panel was brought to you by Assembled. We were thrilled to sponsor this webinar and continue learning and sharing best practices within workforce management. Sign up for our newsletter here and you’ll receive periodic updates with new content from the team.

Video notes:

1:49 - Overview of the webinar format

2:20 - Dr. Shiva discusses the origin and goals of the GWFM Forum along with how you can become more involved

8:20 - What's new in WFM at GWFM?

11:17 - From the audience: What are WFM teams focusing on and prioritizing in 2021? Themes include automation, home working, data skills and procurement.

16:09 - Doug's top three priorities for 2021. #1: The importance of scenario planning

19:15 - #2: Making home working a sustainable solution post-pandemic

20:54 - #3: Dedicating professional time to learning and development. Doug dives into three different types of professional learning

25:11 - Introduction of the panel of experts

28:45 - Topic 1: WFM professionals we now vs. before. The panel explores how roles have evolved and shifted with respect to planning, forecasting and real time management

Andrei -"Forecasting is closer than ever to a data science role," "It's not only about contacts and interactions, but it's about experiences"

Doug - "With the emergence of automation, team dynamics have evolved"

Tony - "Some teams are mature than others; best practices aren't uniform but professional standards are good," "Omnichannel implementation from the process and people side still lags the technology"

Matt - "The biggest recruiting challenge is to reach out to transformation teams and process designers, add value in terms of organizational thinking and bring that back into planning," "Teams are more multi-skilled and looking for more creativity"

41:37 - Topic 2: Making the most of the WFM solution

From the audience: How much of the available functionality do you utilize from your WFM system?

Tony - "One of the challenges for us is when we talk to our outsource partners around planning and WFM, everyone has slightly different definitions of even simple things, like what's an FTE. Trying to reach that common language is in itself a big piece of work," "I really want to understand how we use different forecasting models from our AI solution"

Doug - "Getting an outsourcer and a small client-side team onto the same platform is a challenge due to pricing differences per seat," "When you come from a forecasting background—especially with spreadsheets—a black-box AI suddenly appears with a forecast, and can you trust the outputs without knowing the inputs?"

Matt - "What do you want from a WFM tool? Some companies are using AI and advanced tools without shoring up the basics like their forecasting," "History is not always the best indicator of what's to come for fast-changing companies"

Andrei - "Is the software working for you or are you working for the software?" "Should we force the same system across partners? I think it's all about the API. It gets more seamless when the systems can connect" "I need to be able to feed into the system in the same way the system feeds back to me and the teams that use it"

1:06:50 - Questions from the audience

"How do WFM professionals better navigate the field of technology offerings to meet their priority goals?"

"If you procure technology which is complex to utilize, you have to ensure you have sufficient resources and capability to use; otherwise you're paying for something that will ultimately sit on the shelf."

"If you cannot develop a partnership, you're not with the right tool"

1:10:18 - Topic 3: Remote work and the new strategies to hire and move workforce to remote 100%

From the audience: To what level are you looking to continue to utilize remote working post-pandemic?

Matt - "What I'm seeing from a WFM planning perspective, most advisors are delivering productivity similar to what they deliver in the office. From the people side, how do we get advisors who are engaged and delivering high-quality experiences?," "How can we de-risk reliance on a single city or office?"

Doug - "It's easy to dismiss remote work as a net-neutral but there are challenges that every team are facing," "WFM plays a big part in the communication and with identifying advisors who may be struggling with the transition to remote work"

Andrei - "100% remote work allows you to staff from a global labor pool," "We need to make scenarios for 100% remote work, 50/50, and back in the office"

Tony - "Attrition has increased but we're also struggling to recruit," "More tactically, we've used remote work for is split-shift options to cover difficult spikes without part-time staff"

Photo by Meriç Dağlı on Unsplash

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