Question: At various WFM conferences we hear that it is important to have a mix of full time and part time employees to help achieve lower labour costs. But we seem unable to attract part time workers. It appears that the labour force here is seeking full time positions exclusively. What are we to do?
William Durr of Verint Answers:
The speakers at those conferences are spot on; having a goodly number of part time agents is a remarkably effective way to reduce labour costs. You no doubt realise that customer demand varies throughout the day, by day of week and day of month. This variability mitigates against a 100% full time labour force unless you are willing to accept excess labour costs and idled employees during the slack periods of the day. I suspect that the reason why more people don’t want to accept part time work has to do with health care benefits. Generally, part timers don’t get them. You have at least two options. First, you can get the company to examine the financial trade-off between your higher-than-need-be labour costs and the cost of giving part timers health care coverage.
I am aware that some very large companies have performed these calculations and have determined that it’s in their interests to do exactly that. However, if your company’s senior management rejects that approach there is another source of part time labour that can solve your problem. And, these part timers will enjoy full healthcare coverage. Where are they? They already work for your company elsewhere in the organisation, particularly in the back office or in retail branch stores. As back office operations increasingly adopt contact centre technologies and management practices, organisations are finding that their work item time standards are inaccurate, sometimes egregiously so. The result of these inaccurate time standards is that many back office employees have a considerable amount of idle time in the daily and weekly work schedules. Why not tap into that idle time by cross-training back office and branch employees to handle certain classes of contact centre interactions? Instant part time workers at your disposal, when you need them and they are already present.