We’ve seen dramatic growth in demand from our clients looking for Resource Planning professionals over the last ﬁve years, with a massive increase in spending, both on technology and people. This is largely because it’s a relatively new section of the market. While contact centres previously used Excel for resource planning (with many continuing to do so), more and more are using specialised Workforce Management tools which can provide a detailed view of your contact centre, and offer focused MI as a result.
The cost-saving beneﬁts of an effective resource planning strategy can, potentially, be huge. After all, the biggest overhead of any contact centre is its people, and efﬁcient planning of such a fundamental resource can be enormously cost-effective in the long term.
It’s not just about cost, either – it’s about job satisfaction and interest for your agents. It’s possible to have a broad spectrum of agents, with some bored, and others cracking under the strain, creating an enormous disconnect in their expectations, and the reality of their job. A good resource planner will enable you to ensure that the way work is distributed throughout your contact centre is both constructive, and fair.
From a recruitment perspective, the need for planning specialists has grown dramatically. However, there is still shortage of really high quality candidates despite a 66% increase in Resource Planning, MI and Dialler candidates registering with us per year from 2005 to 2010. The demand still massively exceeds the supply because of the niche position it occupies in the industry.
We’ve noticed that candidates who, a year ago, came to us with salaries between £26-30k per annum are coming back to us now with salary expectations around the £50k mark – which even more interesting in light of our previous blog Should Dialler Managers Be Paid More? which noted static dialler salaries throughout the UK. Resource Planners, on the other hand, seem to be very much in demand – with contact centres happy to pay big bucks for the right person.
Some contact centres use structured skill transfer and training to develop and progress their resource planning team from agent-level upwards, through a technical route of training – but this does require a huge leap in aptitude, and it’s not always possible to guarantee retention of these staff in the long-term.
One of the main problems our clients face when recruiting resource planning professionals is the difﬁculty in ﬁnding those multi-faceted, multi-talented planners who possess those increasingly important communication and stakeholder management skills. It’s essential nowadays for resource planners to be able to communicate, with those at a very junior level often expected to communicate effectively and conﬁdently, often to senior stakeholders both internally and externally.
Fundamentally, resource planning is about balance – balancing cost with performance, job satisfaction with productivity, and communication with technical aptitude.
Even once you’ve got the balance right, we do ﬁnd that if one or two Resource Planners move away from any given business, it can have a huge knock on effect. When there’s a lack of a succession plan internally, it becomes really important to recruit externally through the highest possible quality channels – and here comes the sales bit – like a recruiter that really understands the importance of Resource Planning in your business.
Earlier in the year we published our 2011 Guide to Resource Planning, a full guide to resource planning for the both the contact centre pro and the uninitiated. It’s a department in which we really know our stuff – and when we update our Salary Surveys for 2012, it’ll be interesting to see the results in the Planning department!
Cactus Search is the leading provider of Call and Contact Centre Management candidates to some of the most prestigious companies in the UK and Internationally.