Adherence Calculation

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Headcount Planning Analyst

PayPal

Adherence Calculation
Quick and easy one for a Friday

Let's say an agent was due to work 4 hours between 8am and 12noon

The had a 15 minute break planned for 10-10.15 am

They actually took their break 10.15 - 10.30

What % of their time did they adhere to their schedule?

PS, cricket is good, smoking, while bad is fact of life for some people and writing in english on an english forum is always a good idea!

Eamon

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Adherence Calculation
I've never come across this metric before. Why is it used?


Director

Reynard Thomson Ltd.

Splutter!
"writing in english on an english forum"

Urm, it's an English language forum, but it isn't English.

Just thought I'd clear that up.

Hoots mon!

John

Strategic Panning Manager

N/a

My answer
Eamon,

I make it 87.5%, If an agent is due to work 4 hours (240 mins) and takes a break in the wrojng 15 mins, then for 30 mins of the day they did not adhere to their planned schedule
therefore
210 / 240 = 87.5%

What do i win!!??

Scott

poolboy

Dechaine Consulting Inc

schedule adherance is very important, KPI even.
Scott is absolutely correct.

I am a little surprised you don't use this metric. It is very common here and I have seen every contact centre use it in some form or anther. Normally we have work force management software (blue pumpkin, IEX, rightforce, etc) that will provide this information to us.


WFM & Business Telephony Manager

Healthcare Insurance

Adherence
Justin.

It's because he is being curious.
He's the HR / Training expert round here and lets
face it adherence isn't really part of that aers.

The one thing is yes it's nice to look at adherence but

1) is 5 min out that bad?

2) has the agt been on a call impacting INTO their break
forcing a time shift etc.

HTH

DaveA

Strategic Panning Manager

N/a

Adherance xtra
Dave,
Whilst I agree with both your points, if you use a WFM system that plans breaks for you around your quieter periods, agents going late on a break could cause you to miss service level (s). This would also make it slightly more work to check if you are using your WFM tool to schedule accurately as you will have another variable to compare/account for.

Another point is was your TM aware and did they make the decision to allow the change?
If they did does that make the change correct or would you still count that as 87.5% Adherance?

Scott


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Working together
TM's jobs usually a KPI to manage call workloads/volumes.

Scheduler's jobs usually contain a KPI to schedule staffing requirements in accordance with forecasts.

There is a definite discussion to be had between the TM and the scheduler about how they compliment each other and work together to balance the human and team needs with the call volumes. The metric of schedule adherence is effectively a measure of how often the TM is 'overriding' the schedule - what's enormously more important is how often this judgement call results in increased productivity and or quality.

But like Dave says what could I possibly know I only train TM to achieve KPI's and work more effectively ;-)

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Working together
The metric of schedule adherence is effectively a measure of how often the TM is 'overriding' the schedule

Excuse me, that is assuming of course that agents themselves are actually sticking to the scedule and the TM has 'control' over their whereabouts.

MI Capability Manager

Vertex DataScience Ltd

Adherence
Scott makes a good point.

At Vertex Adherence is a big measurement in agent objectives, we make a big deal about being in the right place at the right time.

Here's the problem:

Agents are targeted to achieve >95% Adherence over a year. If an agent is on a call when their break starts they dont cut the call off they continue and go for their break at the completion of the call. Taking the example given, say that call lasted the whole 15 minutes of the break then the agent would get 87.5% for the day assuming everything else was ok and no changes were made to the planning tool.

For the agent - not good, "wasn't my fault"
Team Manager - not good, "agent not happy, it wasn't their fault and my team Adherence score is down"

So what do they do - they move the break - now the agent gets 100%. Is this the right thing to do, in the eyes of the operation yes, but for the schedulers/intraday teams maybe not. If no-one has replaced the agent by being sent early for their break then in the first period headcount will be up against expectations and down in the second 15 minute period. Without a clear record of what was planned any service level failure in that period could be directed at the planning function because the breaks were badly planned. So for the planners this move was not correct, the break should have been left where it was and the adherence reported as 87.5%

Two powerful voices sharing the same measurement but in conflict with one another for equally good reasons.

I know we are talking one agent here and taking no account of any other variances - sickness, AHT, call volumes but all else being equal then this one agent could make a difference.

Here is the problem with planning tools, as powerful as they are they are only as good as the input and the execution of what they say should happen.

Right back to designing corporate dashboards.....

poolboy

Dechaine Consulting Inc

some excellent pro vs con
In many ways I found that schedule adherance was a well intentioned and practical method when implemented but as has been pointed out it can be easily adjusted/manipulated in most cases.

In some companys were I worked when a person was sick we input a sick day for them. Hence, they had 100% schedule adherance. Some of our TM (I assume these are managers) had great schedule adherance (and could receive bonus) when half their team was sick or on LOAs!!!

Contrary the TMs who struggled to ensure that their team were trying to be at work at all costs would not score as high.

I found I normally used the schedule adherance method only when a person was abusing it and in conjunction with an ACD trace. If a person was legitimately on long calls then I wouldn't bother them and would go to bat for them if anyone higher up had a problem.

However you have to realize that some people don't like taking their breaks when they are told. Some because its not convient, some to sync up with other co-workers, others I swear out of spite for management. I found consistently some people liked working 3-4 hours straight then taking their two breaks and lunch in rapid succession to "shorten the day".

These were people who when asked would say it was due to long calls, at that point you could then produce reports showing that they had in fact taken say 5-10 EXTRA calls after their allocated break time.

I have screenshots of WFM tools telling me an agent has 25000% schedule adherance. I tend to show my boss things like that when they ask about them. The system is good but inherently flawed.




MI Capability Manager

Vertex DataScience Ltd

Adherence accounting for Absence
Early on in the system I designed to produce agent metrics it was recognised that absence had a positive impact on Adherence scores.

As the system extracts the base Schedule and Activity records it now ignores full day holidays, sickness, other absence and activities that cannot be tracked via the ACD. This means our target of 95% is based on actually being in the office and working the phones - hooray for ODBC.

No-one can achieve better than 100% either.

For those who like lunches and breaks close together we have the agent preference leading to win win schedules.

Headcount Planning Analyst

PayPal

Adherence Calculation
Hi

Thanks Scott for the answer.

Couple of things
We wouldn't base a team leader's bonus solely on his adherence scores.

Agents do claim that calls put them over on their breaks and analysis shows that about 40% of breaks are missed by more than 10 mins, however only 2% of agents miss going home at the right time........Go figure!

I'd always change the schedule to reflect what actually happens on the day after having the starting position of the schedule saved to show the effect of changes.

Eamon

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Contracts of Employment
Eamon,

please prepare yourself...this isnt a criticism just the basis of a discussion.....

>>>however only 2% of agents miss going home at the right time........Go figure!

I've always been a clock watcher - agents (like most staff) dont get paid to stay late, nothing wrong with that its simply applying contractual terms in the same way that the company does.


I think one of the problems with this whole area of planning and strategy and figures analysis within call centres is that in this country we tend not to think of the contract of employment as being governed by the same rules as any other contract. Instead it's taken as an arrangement which many managers still feel is governed largely by the whim of the employer or business need, and so do not apply themselves to with any great dilligence when the employee exerts their rights under the contract. Judgment and preconceptions start to form that employees might be trying to 'get one over' when they reality is that they are applying their employment rights.

(always ready to start a debate)


Headcount Planning Analyst

PayPal

Adherence Calculation

errr, yeah, if you say so!

Generally I just point out this information to the agents, they realise that they have been rumbled and most amend they're behaviours around taking breaks at the right time.

Have not got a problem with them going home on time.

Eamon

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Employer's whims and employee contracts
Thanks Eamon. What do you think of the broader debate? Curious to see if this viewpoint exists in others eyes.

>>>it's taken as an arrangement which many managers still feel is governed largely by the whim of the employer or business need >>>>




Headcount Planning Analyst

PayPal

Employer's whims and employee contracts
Hmmm, can't say that I have ever thought about it.

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Employer's whims and employee contracts
Perhaps I have a point then. (wink, wink)

No offence, dont wish to draw you into debate if you dont wish.


Take care and enjoy the week.

Strategic Panning Manager

N/a

Employer's whims and employee contracts
I think the problem exists both with the managers and the staff, the company sets the rules of work for the employee, The manager is employed to monitor and enforce these rules without question, that is to say that the company says 'we do things this way' and expect the managers to tell staff 'this is how things are done'

This in effect causes the manager to look for breaches of the rules leading to the mindset of staff 'getting one over' from the manager point of view.

Would you agree that it is fair to say that some employees (including those managers) will take advantage of any loopholes or laxness where they can.

If the above statement is true then the sign of a good manager is knowing the difference between a mistake made by an agent and an agent trying to take advantage coupled with taking the appropriate action.

The only way i can see to a real solution is for the companies to add the caveat that although 'we do things this way' exercise judgement when investigating any instances that appear to be breaches of the rules.

this would be more your field of expertise and you probably have thought about this more, what do you think of the above statements?

poolboy

Dechaine Consulting Inc

some fair points
Agents do claim that calls put them over on their breaks and analysis shows that about 40% of breaks are missed by more than 10 mins, however only 2% of agents miss going home at the right time........Go figure!

I too often point out similar statistics to my agents and ask them to explain how that is possible.

agents (like most staff) dont get paid to stay late, nothing wrong with that its simply applying contractual terms in the same way that the company does.

Actually...almost ever centre I have worked in does pay our agents for staying late when stuck on a call. I would imagine agents would rebel in places I worked if that wasn't the case. The fact that they are also getting paid overtime means that I bet more than 2% of our agents miss going home on time. We had some agents who would always log out 5-8 minutes late to get that bit of overtime.

poolboy

Dechaine Consulting Inc

Employer's whims and employee contracts
Everyone employee contract I have seen normally has a clause along the lines of "job duties may change according to the needs of the business" which is a nice catch all.

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Employer's whims and employee contracts
I think the problem exists both with the managers and the staff, the company sets the rules of work for the employee, The manager is employed to monitor and enforce these rules without question, that is to say that the company says 'we do things this way' and expect the managers to tell staff 'this is how things are done'


>>>>>Yep agree with that, its a bit blurred though - when we (and I agree with you) say "The company says do it this way" - the company is an intangible entity here - so who/what is saying it?>>>>


This in effect causes the manager to look for breaches of the rules leading to the mindset of staff 'getting one over' from the manager point of view.


>>>>Uhuh, this is reinforced by a 'stick' rather than a carrot management philosophy and further supported by a lack of circumpection in the personality of the manager.>>>

Would you agree that it is fair to say that some employees (including those managers) will take advantage of any loopholes or laxness where they can.

>>>There's a lot of conflicting evidence on this one - its a complex mix of motivation, need, culture, treatment, resentment - not everyone steals things when presented with an open window etc etc>>>>


If the above statement is true then the sign of a good manager is knowing the difference between a mistake made by an agent and an agent trying to take advantage coupled with taking the appropriate action.

>>>>Agree with that with the added caveat of understanding what causes the issues and the part that he/she, other managers, the employee and the organisation play in the issue at hand>>>>

The only way i can see to a real solution is for the companies to add the caveat that although 'we do things this way' exercise judgement when investigating any instances that appear to be breaches of the rules.

>>>Agreed, its called a disciplinary procedure, operating methodologies and employee expectations should be clearly defined within a Job Description, notwithstanding that the employee also has statuatory employment rights.>>>>

Thanks for that Scott, you picked up on what I was exploring and have helped me distill my thoughts. Thanks again.

WFM Analyst

n/a

Breaks...
Where I work we do not change anyone's break times unless it was really, really an emergency situation. Our agents have received training to learn to control their calls and therefore, in most instances, should be able to finish the call and log out within 3 minutes of their break start time. Anything more than 3 minutes counts against their compliance, so they do have a bit of a window there. Besides, other agents are consistantly scoring at 95% or higher, so if they can do it... :)

Call Centre Manager

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There is another way!
You work out how many people should be off at any one time operationally.

Devolve it down.

You then empower your TL/TM/whatever you call them! to deliver.

A high morale/high compliance solution that I have delivered is such empowerment;

In a pool of x people, a maximum of y can be on break at any time. People take their break when they like, within parameter, ( so nicoteine users and short day junkies are all happy!) which means that no-one has set break, so no-one goes over!

You need some kind of marker for a relay system, either online, or physically visible in the work area.

It's uncomfortable, but works!

Z


Resource Manager

Banking/Stockbroking Sector

Eamon - send me on your new contact dets
Eamon,

I hear you have recently moved - can you send me on your contact details to s.mcelney AT ntlworld.com.

cheers,
stuart mcelney

Director

LA Ltd

ditto
I'd appreciate your new contact details also Eamon, long time no hear :) tis pixie602002 AT yahoo.co.uk

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