The 5Ps of Workforce Management (Part 2: Practices)

Updated August 2016

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​The 5Ps of workforce management – PRINCIPLES, PRACTICES, PROCESSES, PEOPLE, and PRODUCT – will strengthen your contact center, but first you need to know how to spot warning signs and get a healthy start. As part of a 5-part series, we will be outlining each week one of the five principles.

In this blog post we will be covering the second ‘P’ of the 5P’s of Workforce Management - PRACTICES.

In the previous post on the 5P’s of Workforce Management we looked at the principles that make for a thriving workforce management program. Now we turn our attention to the second “P” – Practices.

As we already discussed, Workforce Management principles represent the fundamental “truths” about the manner in which contact centers ensure their customer contacts are handled efficiently. Like the fundamental truths of physics at work in the universe, workforce management principles are at work in your contact center whether you understand them or not. Whereas, workforce management practices are business decisions you make, policies you enforce and parameters you establish specific to your organization. The more a contact center leader understands about workforce management principles, the more effective he will be in establishing effective workforce management practices for his center.

Unlike workforce management principles, which are universally applicable to all contact center environments, workforce management practices should be tailored to the specific needs of each contact center operation. What might be a best practice for one business may not be what’s best for yours. Best practices are only best when they support the unique needs of your specific contact center environment.


Amerigo de Vera, Manager, Customer Interaction Analytics for TSYS one of the largest credit card processers talks about the impact that NICE Interactions Analytics has had on their business.

Get a Healthy Start on setting your workforce best practices:

  1. The phrase “set it and forget it” could be used to describe many contact centers’ approach to establishing service level targets. Unfortunately, this practice can be a costly if the targets set are not the right ones.
  2. A target that is too low will wreak havoc on wait times, customer perception and sales opportunities and will drive high abandonment rates.
  3. A target that’s too high may seem as though it’s good for the customer, but if higher than necessary, labor costs will be the result.
  4. If you weren’t around when your service level targets were established, it’s time to review (and possibly revise) the key metrics at your center.
  5. Setting the right service level target is a little bit art and a little bit science. Here are some “best practice” tips help:
    • Benchmark other centers with similar contact types, but forget about “industry standard”- there is no such thing when it comes to service levels (SL).
    • Don’t use the “one-size-fits-all” approach and assign the same target to all contact types. SL targets should be established based upon the budget and customer wait tolerance specifics of each contact type.
    •  Instead of average speed of answer (ASA), which does not take into account abandoned calls, analyze ‘average time to abandon’ statistics for your various contact types when setting the “seconds” portion of your SL target. Your customers may be willing to wait longer than you think.
    • Set a target your budget will allow you to meet consistently. Answering 95 percent of your contacts in 20 seconds sounds like a worthy goal, but if you don’t have the budget to fund the additional staffing it takes to meet this objective, your SL target will be a meaningless measure.
    • Your service level targets don’t have to exist in perpetuity. Like everything else in your center, they should be subject to routine check-ups.


For more information about NICE Workforce Management Solutions, please visit​

UP NEXT: Now you’ve learned two ingredients to a foolproof Workforce management program, that is Principles and Practices, read the 5Ps of Workforce Management: Part 3 – PROCESSES


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