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A True Workforce Management & Employee Engagement Practice

The madness and tragedy of Covid-19 hit the UK just as I celebrated my first-year anniversary at SVL.

My thoughts go out to all those directly and indirectly impacted by this pandemic.

A huge thanks to all the NHS and other frontline workers including my friends and old colleagues at North East Ambulance Service and Yorkshire Ambulance Service.

Even before the events of the last month the world of Workforce Management and Employee Engagement  continued to throw up real challenges, along with opportunities, and the pace of change is remarkable .

This moment in history will be one, I am sure we will look back upon as a pivotal moment in our lives for so many reasons. Many sad, but I believe some unintended consequences will live on and help improve our lives and in particular work/life balance and employee engagement. I will write more about this at a later date.

My role in coming to SVL has been to build a ‘true’ WFM practice alongside my colleague Anne Holmes. What does that mean? Well it’s about providing a service, with the  goal of improving how we Engage Employees through Workforce Planning across the industry.

Technology is secondary to having optimum structures and processes and it engenders an approach of consultation and support in providing solutions for the challenges Contact Centres face in 2020 and beyond. Whilst this will undoubtedly be shaped by the current challenges we face, I do not believe mine and SVL’s goal changes, we merely adapt and take on board the opportunities that now exist to push boundaries harder and further.

In moving to SVL, I have been building a role that has involved meeting old friends and making many new ones. I’ve been determined to get a true understanding of what practitioners are doing in the WFM/EEM space. This was very different before and during March/April and I am enjoying the ongoing virtual debates on where this will lead us in the future. My belief and hopes are that it will be for the better when it comes to Employee Engagement.

Drawing from a wide range of experience over this past year has been really informative. We’ve held two events, known as our Employee Engagement Conference(s) that have brought together some innovative and curious people who have a thirst to help others overcome challenges.

Alongside my colleague Anne and the 100 attendees at these two events, I drew so much from the different stories our practitioner guests Anne Gray (Scotrail), Kymm Clarke (Student Loans Company) and Liz Gorman (EE) and how they are pushing the boundaries of current WFM technology for Employee Engagement.

These are some of the real pioneers, bringing pilot EEM and WFM projects to life along with some of our customers to the benefit of us all. I am a true believer that when we share best practice, we collectively push the Contact Centre industry forward. Likewise, events that bring pioneers and the great talent we have in this space with leading technology suppliers means that we forge the way collaboratively.

The challenges organisations face are real, and our practice will be part of the solution. We were supported at our conferences (and in our daily work) by our Technology partners, represented by Ian Chappell of Nice and Nick Smith of Calabrio. They provide cutting-edge software and I know hugely enjoyed listening to where we are taking the industry.

Collectively our role is to turn the theoretical concepts discussed around EEM and WFM into reality.

What I am trying to achieve is to help planners make the working lives of their colleagues better. To me, the solutions we provide are multi-generational in execution, no differing solutions for X, Y, or the millennials.  We need processes and therefore technology solutions that work for all generations.

Our approach as a practice is also to be agile, learning as we go along and enhancing the technology available with real-life scenarios. We want the Contact Centre Industry to adopt new technology more quickly and overcome the resistance and misunderstandings about change.

We have had to do this ourselves turning our next planned event for May into the first in a series of SVL Homeworking online events starting on 14th May

But to conclude my post, the main reason behind the success of our new-born practice has been through listening to others. To the needs of organisations, to the success stories of our speakers and to devise solutions that don’t just throw technology at a problem… but focus on solving the real challenges you and your operational organisations face every week.

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