WorkFlex Lets Agents Manage Their Own Scheduling

WorkFlex Solutions, a provider of intraday automation for contact centers, has enhanced its patented employee self-scheduling technology with capabilities that enable multiskilled contact center agents to change their own work schedules and the type of work they do.

With this new technology, agents can preview and select preapproved work-hour changes to maximize staffing capacity and work-type changes to optimize staffing capacity across multiple front-line and back-office skill queues. The on-demand workforce management application automatically determines where staffing overages or shortages might occur and pre-approves change requests based on the demand.

If, for example, an agent who is trained to handle customer interactions over multiple channels is interested in getting off the phones on a Friday afternoon, she can preview and select non-phone activities, such as email or payment processing, as long as the voice queue is projected to be overstaffed and the other area is projected to be understaffed at that time.

The app lets agents fix staffing gaps on their own without requiring a lot of administrative overhead, according to Larry Schwartz, CEO of WorkFlex. It also lets agents be more proactive, "without having to wait for the company to see a need and ask them to make a change," he adds.

Agents, though, are not completely autonomous, Schwartz is quick to point out, noting that changes can only go through if staffing at the time is sufficient to meet projected demand.

"Companies still set the rules, but they don't have to manually screen every change request," he says. "There is still the same approval process, but this automates a lot of the process."

With the application, companies can also help to reduce agent attrition, according to Schwartz.

Turnover is typically very high—often greater than 50 percent—in call centers and this is expected to only get worse as Millennials take their place in the workforce.

"Millennials are creating profound changes," according to Schwartz. "Millennials are becoming a big part of the workforce, and they are a much different demographic than previous employees. They value flexibility in their work even more than pay.

"You need to have schedule flexibility to keep Millennials as employees," he continues. "If you don't provide it, you could be out of business in five years because you can't hire or keep people."

Though just released, the WorkFlex product has already captured the attention of industry analysts.

"It’s time for the WFM paradigm to change; it's not working as well as it should for contact centers," said Donna Fluss, president of DMG Consulting, in a statement. "Employees want the flexibility to set their schedules and select working hours, breaks, lunches, vacations, etc. Giving agents the ability to select their work type will improve employee engagement and help to reduce attrition and shrinkage."

"Omnichannel staffing optimization and agent empowerment are two key focus areas within the contact center industry, and this latest innovation from WorkFlex effectively delivers both at the same time," added Rebecca Wise Girson, principal consultant at Wise Workforce Strategies, in a statement. "WorkFlex is a great example of a company that is helping to make the vision of on-demand contact center scheduling a reality."

Workflex integrates with existing workforce management (WFM) and automated call distribution (ACD) systems and updates schedules in real time as changes are made.

WorkFlex deployments span multiple industries, including financial services, communications, healthcare, automotive, cable/satellite service providers, and government.

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