What Exactly is FTE


fte definition

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What Exactly is FTE?

I have heard the term FTE freely used as a indication of headcount required in a team but i feel that more often then not is the FTE figure irrelevant to practical headcount requirement.

I would like someone to explain/calculate FTE in simple language / simple arithmetic. Let me give a head start by a simple example, & we can tweak the parameters once we (‘I’) get the basics right :-

We have a 17×7 operation.
Coverage is 06:00-23:00 HRS..open 7 days a week..only FT workers..8.5hr shifts
Calls per day = 1700 (evenly distributed as 100 per hour)
AHT = 360 secs
Shrinkage = 0 %

What is the Full Time Equivalent “FTE” for above example ?
What does this figure signify ??

Question asked by King

FTE = Full Time Equivalent

FTE = Full Time Equivalent.

You only have full time staff.

Therefore your FTE = The number of staff you require.

It has no bearing on number of calls, shrinkage etc…

It is merely the number of full time staff required. This can be factored as Fulltime staff + Part time staff.

2*50% hours = 1FTe

With thanks to Dave

Level of Service

You’d need about 37, this is assuming a reasonable service level delivery.

You need to take into account what level of service you plan to deliver to your customers in order to come up with and FTE figure. By taking a service level (most commonly a % of calls answered in x seconds) into account this inflates the FTE requirement above that simply required to deal with the workload (1,700 x 360).

If we assume that on top of the work that needs to be done we need to have an additional 25% of resource (i.e. work forms 75% or .75 of the total requirements) then the amount of employed hours is therefore

7 x 1700 x 300 / .75 / 3600 = 1,587

If we assume that an FTE works 5 days a week, 8.5 hours per day and shrinkage is 0% then the FTE requirement is

1,587 / (5 x 8.5) = 37.3

With thanks to Eamon

Calculation Method

Let’s skip the 75-25% work load from the equation (for sake of simplicity!)

I agree with calculation method :-

  • Weekly Workload (in secs) = 1700 calls x 7 days x 360 secs AHT = 428400 secs
  • Weekly Workload (in hrs) = 428400 / 3600 = 1190 hrs
  • Staffing avbl (in hrs) = 8.5 hrs x 5 working days per week = 42.5 hrs

FTE = 1190 / 42.5 = 28 (per week)

Similarly, FTE required per day is 20 which will fulfil our hourly FTE requirement of 10 which is constant throughout the week.

The problem lies in fact that neither have we considered start/end time of activity, nor have we considered shift start/end times. That is where the FTE calculation seems a waste to me.

If we reconsider a different start end time of activity …eg. 09:00-21:00 HRS, the FTE calculation still gives a weekly FTE 28 & daily FTE 20 ….

however, now the hourly FTE required is 14.17…… and these 20 FTE per day are not enough to maintain a regular coverage of 14.17

Where then lies the practical use of FTE ?

With thanks to King

It Makes Sense When You Use Workload

If you ignore workload as you have above, it appears that you would not have sufficient agents, but in Eamon’s scenario he assumed that agents would work for 75% of their weekly hours, if you extended the opening hours, but did not assume an increase in work then the 75% may drop to around 60%, this would then increase the required staffing levels and therefore increase your FTE.

I haven’t done the maths, so the 60% is an estimate

With thanks to Scott

FTE – Adding Occupancy

I agree with Eamon’s idea of adding occupancy and other factors to evaluate workload.

My intention in excluding it from equation was to keep the focus on my main concern

i.e. the FTE calculated on a weekly level (28) does not help us meet the hourly FTE requirement if the activity timing in the example is 09:00-21:00 (all other workload, etc kept unchanged)

You can do the calculation with or without increase in workload, either ways the issue still persists.

With thanks to King

Practical Application

It makes sense what you are saying, but with 10 agents per hour 36 Hrs and 100 calls x 360 AHT, 36 Hrs

You are assuming that 8.5 of your agent/day hours are 100% productive, in effect you have determined the time required to deal with your calls, with all things are equal, calls/hour, AHT/call.

It’s a theoretical solution, but one that you would never be able to practically apply

With thanks to Scott

FTE and PTE

To my understanding this was it really mean.

  • FTE = Full Time Employee
  • PTE = Part Time Employee

With thanks to Juan Carlos

Its Full Time Equivalent

Its Full Time Equivalent

for example: 2 part timers doing 4.25 hours would equate to 1 FTE! (i.e. the equivalent of 1 full time person)

With thanks to Michael

KEX

Let’s skip the 75-25% work load from the equation (for sake of simplicity!)

I agree with calculation method :-

  • Weekly Workload (in secs) = 1700 calls x 7 days x 360 secs AHT = 428400 secs
  • Weekly Workload (in hrs) = 428400 / 3600 = 1190 hrs
  • Staffing available (in hrs) = 8.5 hrs x 5 working days per week = 42.5 hrs

FTE = 1190 / 42.5 = 28 (per week)

Similarly, FTE required per day is 20 which will fulfil our hourly FTE requirement of 10 which is constant throughout the week.

The problem lies in fact that neither have we considered start/end time of activity, nor have we considered shift start/end times. That is where the FTE calculation seems a waste to me.

If we reconsider a different start end time of activity …eg. 09:00-21:00 HRS, the FTE calculation still gives a weekly FTE 28 & daily FTE 20 ….

However, now the hourly FTE required is 14.17…… and these 20 FTE per day are not enough to maintain a regular coverage of 14.17

Where then lies the practical use of FTE ?

Thanks to Kex

FTE Requirements Will Not Differ

Regardless of operational hours your FTE requirement will not differ as your workload, your figures, does not change.

FTE is mainly used as a finance metric purely for costing purposes, you will always staff to heads.

With thanks to Steve

FTE

That is exactly what i am trying to bring up

If FTE figure does not change, regardless of operational hours, we should not be using “FTE” as a finance metric for costing purposes.

In our quest for a definitive figure to arrive at a cost, we consider all possible elements of AHT, SQL target etc but chose to ignore 2 very important elements viz. “Operational hours” & “Shift start/end times”.

If operational hours exceed the shift length, the FTE calculated is not enough to have sufficient coverage. If the op hrs are 24hrs with long periods of peak & trough through the day, the FTE figure turns out to be absurd!

With thanks to King

Calculate the Number of Hours You Need

Calculate the number of hours that you need to deliver the service, add on any shrinkages then build your shifts, from this you can derive the FTE figure.

FTE is a currency mainly used for finance purposes and helps simplify the costing process.

With thanks to Steve

FTE Calculation is an Underestimate

Thanks for continuing this discussion. I hope to have more people voicing their opinions on this issue.

In most cases FTE calculation is an underestimate of actual resources required (I am talking purely from an inbound Contact Centre perspective with at least 1 or 2 distinct peak periods of business activity).

In such cases, if we use FTE for costing purpose then we will be under-calculating the actual cost of resources….. or more drastic result would be that we never get the actual requirement of resources recruited since the budget has only approved resources based on “FTE” calculation.

With thanks to King

Your Headcount and FTE are Different.

I’m sorry but….

There’s only a certain number of ways we can all say it.

Your headcount and FTE are different.

A calculator will tell you HOW you need to staff (in hours) this is your FTE.

It’s up to you to staff to that.

With thanks to Dave

Need Your Help In Staffing

I am new with Workforce planning. We have a new campaign that we’ll be starting on Jan 2009. The client gave these figures as part of their requirement:

  • Number of agents required : 100 (70 voice and 30 non-voice)
  • Working hours : 12 hrs, 9AM to 9PM EST, Mondays thru Fridays
  • 5 hours, 12PM to 5PM EST, Saturdays and Sundays
  • Number of calls per agent daily : 200 calls
  • AHT : 180 seconds

How many agents should we hire for this campaign since it is based on FTE?

What other info do i need to ask the Client about so we can arrive at a good forecast?

thanks in advance!

With thanks to Anna

Ask Your Planning Department

I would suggest that you ask your planning department.

Whilst I don’t mind assisting if someone has a major issue at this point it would appear you as a senior manager are just saying, “Tell ma what to do.”.

This is a fundamental core part of your business and something you, or your staff, *SHOULD* be able to do.

As a note the numbers below cannot be correct.

200 calls per agent per day with an AHT of 180 gives 10 hrs Talk time per agent.

Never ever let the client dictate FTE numbers before you’ve had chance to look at said numbers.

With thanks to Dave

Understanding

There are lots of terms bandied about in call centres – FTE, agents, AHT’s etc and these can all be interpreted in different ways.

Looking at your figures from your client the number of FTE required could be interpreted to two different ways.

“Number of agents required: 100 (70 voice and 30 non-voice)” – if you are handling the entirety of the workload on this campaign (i.e. you are not handling a subset of a larger group of calls) then this could interpreted as the MAXIMUM number of agents required at the busiest part of the day.

Broadly speaking then that would equate to 141.7 FTE based on a 37.5 employed week. Assuming a 80% – 20% split of Full-time to part-time resource that would be 167 agents

However, if you interpret it as a flat agent requirement across all the opening hours (e.g. if you are handling calls at the front of the queue and calls overflow to another resource) then the agent requirement is much higher – 255.4 FTE based on a 37.5 hour employed week. Again assuming a 80% – 20% split of Full-time to part-time resource that would be 301 agents

Given a potential difference of over 100 FTE and 130 heads, it is worth asking your client for a clearer definition of the work to be done.

I’d ask things like

  • How many calls do you expect the entire operation to handle each week?
  • Will the operation be solely responsible for handling those calls or do they overflow elsewhere?
  • Is the agent requirement the maximum required at peak or the minimum required across all the opening hours?
  • Given the “200” calls per day do you envisage that agents would work 12 hour shifts? (Dave is correct at an AHT of 300 secs that would be 10 hours of handling time per day per agent, given breaks and some downtime the minimum shift would be around 12 hours long)

With thanks to Eamon

Client is Dictating FTE

I agree with the above. Today your client is dictating FTE tomorrow they will be questioning your absence and attrition.

Keeping in mind 180 secs of AHT will take 12 hour shift is an ideal scenario, what about the fact that we will not be able to give that AHT at the onset of the campaign then you will be questioned for abandoned calls and SL.

With thanks to Sudhindra

FTE More Details

Could you please give me the following details so that I can calculate FTE roughly and let you know:
SLA details (SL, ASA, ACW etc)

With thanks to Sudhindra

Difference Between FTE and CPU

I would really like to know the difference between FTE and CPU. Which is beneficial to the Company providing services (for ex technical support for ABN) and to the company providing service (ABN).

With thanks to Paritosh

Nice Thread

FTE is for production (hourly line requirement)

HC comprises of all buffers including leaves, absenteeism, attrition etc.

From Finance perspective HC is what is supposed to be used.

From SL performance perspective, we should use FTE.

Calculating FTE count based on monthly data for an arrival based process will not be accurate. You would need to calculate hourly requirement and roll it up to daily / weekly / monthly and then add all the buffers to arrive at HC.

Hope this explains.

With thanks to Pamposh

Requirement of FTE for Outbound.

FTE stands for Full Time Equivalent.
FTE Requirement for Outbound
Demand of FTE for O/B utterly depends on the subsequent factors:-

  1. Number of calls to be created.
  2. Average time of O/B call.
  3. Right party contact proportion.
  4. Required time for handling the call.

Example:-

If you know your total number of labour hours for one year then divide it by 2080 (8hours/day *5days/week*52weeks/year = 2080hours/year)

Suppose your department’s total labour hours reported to payroll for Jan – Dec 2014 were 13,104.

Then, 13,104/2080 = 6.3FTEs.

With thanks to lisa

Published On: 12th Apr 2022 - Last modified: 5th May 2022
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