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Successful change management: implementing Workforce management in Back Office organisations

A challenging project for you is daily routine for us… is what I thought when I took on the big change project to implement workforce management (WFM) in a back office organisation at EDF Luminus. This was a typîcal project in which the tool was already installed but implementation had failed. All supervisors and employees had been trained, but no one really understood how it could be beneficial to them. In contrary, people turned the project down and openly opposed to this badly managed change. They felt loss in comfort, control and competences.

The change project we set up started with understanding the peoples needs and worries about the installed new tools. We were able to align this to the rationale management had used when constructing the business case. The only obstacle: the tool. Workforce management (WFM) is most often used to manage workforce planning and forecasting in customer contact centers. The biggest difference in Front and Back office organisations is the concept of ‘backlog’. Whereas in a typical call center work ceases to exist when in the evening the last customer has called, in a back office cases and unanswered letters and emails just pile up and will not go away overnight. In the morning new inflow arrives and needs to be added to the already existing backlog of the previous days (or worse, weeks). Bringing in the right experts of the software vendor finally assured proper understanding of this concept and implementing the correct code and functionality. Finally – after intensive cooperation with team leaders and supervisors – the system was fine-tuned to serve both their as well as management needs. Embedding of the concept was ensured by setting up a central WFM team that took care of forecasting and planning as a function of required volumes and throughput times of the most critical customer interactions.

More information can be found on the website of Teletrain (in Dutch)

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