Identify Who Has Management Potential
Before you commit time and resources to developing a select few analysts into your future resource planning managers, it’s important to first identify who has the traits and potential to succeed.
Here are five skills and personality traits to look out for:
1. Problem Solving
When looking externally, the common response to the recruiter question “who is your ideal person for this role?” is “a problem solver”. That’s why analytical skills are key to look out for in anyone you’re planning to promote.
Analytical skills are pretty much a given in all levels of roles in the planning environment, but for a manager, this goes that bit further.
You’re looking for someone who likes tackling an issue, who will proactively look for improvements, and then is capable of addressing any challenges by stepping back, looking at the detail, and applying a bit of creativity to finding solutions.
Top Tip! Look to your most enthusiastic team members first. The above-mentioned problem-solving skills are nearly always a by-product of being passionate about best practice.
The planning team essentially utilizes the contact centre’s primary resource – people.
That’s why you need your future leaders to have a degree of empathy and approachability, as this will help them to manage this resource in an efficient way, which looks after individuals’ wellbeing, but also meets service levels and corporate strategic goals.
This extends to organizational awareness too and a general understanding and empathy for how their work impacts their colleagues day-to-day.
3. Good Communication
Every planning manager has an internal audience – their team, operations, marketing, HR, finance, and more. Quite often, they will also have third-party relationships that they manage with technology providers too – for example, their workforce management tool.
This puts communication skills and the ability to tell a story utilizing data high on the list of necessary skills!
Being able to simplify the complex and create a positive working environment – even in a hybrid setting – is also critical to being able to successfully step up into a managerial role to lead and direct a team.
For information on communication styles, read our article: How Communication Styles Affect Assertiveness
4. Strategic Thinking
You’re looking for a strategic thinker too. Someone who’ll always be thinking about their own development, as well as where the team has a skills gap that can be bridged to better serve your business. Someone who wants to give their team purpose, a target to aim for, and a sense of achievement.
You’d also like them to have a degree of commercial awareness. This will be someone that builds trust and rapport internally and externally and garners respect, but is also very focused on delivering positive outcomes for everybody involved.
5. Good Time Management
In the planning world, things never stay still. Quite often, day to day, there will be lots of peaks and troughs of activity that need to be urgently addressed and tackled and dealt with, and action plans put into place.
Prioritization and time management skills are therefore key. A good planning manager can manage not only their own time effectively, but also appropriately distribute the workload across the team, so there’s a balance.
Put Development Plans in Motion
Now that you’ve identified your future resource planning managers, here are some top tips and exercises to help them reach their full potential:
1. Create a Recorded Development Plan
When working with anyone with leadership potential, you’ve got to have structure, otherwise you’ll end up with a very fragmented process and lose buy-in quickly.
One way to develop your future resource planning managers is to discuss common goals that align with their ambitions and aspirations and outline a process of how they can increase their expertise, so at some point, when an opportunity opens up, they’ve got the toolkit and experience to ace the internal job application.
Top Tip! Be careful to manage expectations here. If there aren’t a wealth of opportunities coming through, you should be clear on the merits of personal growth and boosting their CV in the short term.
Why not ask experienced members of the team to get involved in mentoring and coaching once a month – for just an hour?
Even booking in 15 minutes at 5pm or grabbing a glass of wine at 6pm (even virtually) to have a chat about what they’ve learned or want to do next can add up across the year.
3. Ask What THEY Think
A good exercise to stretch and test potential leaders and get them thinking is to ask: “What could we do better?” and give them time to explore and even present back their answers.
More generally, it’s good to get into the habit to ask for their opinion on projects. Not only will it provide some additional perspective, but it will broaden their exposure to the operation.
4. Encourage Networking
Get them networking! Sharing best practice with industry peers across different sectors and organizations can empower them to bring something innovative back to their team.
If they aren’t already on LinkedIn, encourage them to get online and actively get involved in conversations and debates too.
Top Tip – Join the ’Call Centre and Contact Center Community’ LinkedIn group of 40,000+ members to discuss the latest trends and industry challenges.
Also encourage them to either join or network with the community at The Forum, which provides best-practice guidelines, virtual and in-person learning modules, and annual conferences for enhanced networking and knowledge sharing.
5. Give Regular Feedback
Nurturing your future resource planning managers doesn’t have to be a big drain on your time.
Simply getting into the habit of providing regular feedback (the good, the bad and the ugly) can make a big difference to someone’s personal development and learning.
6. Give Them Extra Responsibilities
Don’t just tell and teach, let them learn for themselves by giving out extra responsibilities to challenge them. For example, you could invite them to present some data to justify why performance last week didn’t reach the standard.
Over time, you could even extend this to letting them lead some side projects (with steering guidance). They may fall down a little bit at the beginning, but it’s a valuable opportunity to learn on the job.
7. Involve Them in Strategic Meetings
If something big and exciting is happening, involve them in some of the strategic planning decisions!
For example, if you’re about to begin the process of upgrading your technology, you could invite them to watch the vendor demos.
With thanks to Ian Lasplace, Director at Longreach Recruitment, providing specialist recruitment expertise within WFM, Resource Planning, Analytics & Customer Contact.
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