There are no college degree programs for studies in workforce management . When I see a degree requirement in a WFM job posting , it ’ s usually for a business degree . We all know that degree would not produce a graduate with a working knowledge of how to generate a set of schedules . But there are places that offer training and certification for WFM Professionals .
ICMI . com is the fastest path to certification . They have a four-day Workforce Management Boot Camp ($ 2,199 ). After students complete the training , they have six weeks to take the online certification exam , including 75 multiple-choice questions in 90 minutes . Score 80 % or better , and the certification is granted , with no re-certification requirements .
SWPP . org offers a less-expensive path , ranging from $ 100 to $ 350 , depending on the specialty , but it takes longer and is more work to achieve . This program is the Certified Workforce Planning Professional ( CWPP ), and it ’ s been known to show up as a requirement in some WFM job postings . To earn your CWPP , you must pass multiple proctored tests ( two hours each ) and complete a project , including a presentation to certified reviewers . Then , your certification must be renewed every calendar year by collecting points through various activities . This program is NOT for entry-level hopefuls . You will need experience , and it helps to have that experience in several different environments so you ’ ll see there can be more than one way to do things .
... IT ’ S CRITICAL TO ATTEND ALL THE TRAINING WEBINARS AND READ EVERY ARTICLE ...
I can also tell you about both certifications from my personal experience . I was an original architect of ICMI ’ s WFM Boot Camp back in 2007 and was tasked with writing the exercises . I saw this as four days of total immersion into practicing everything in workforce management from A to Z , so I crammed over 80
CONTINUED ON PAGE 14 different activities into those four days . I had a vision of every student leaving that class and hitting the ground running with a full arsenal of knowledge , but the purpose of a boot camp is to teach the basic essentials needed to perform the job . Fortunately , cooler heads prevailed , and the team recognized the level of fatigue a person would feel after going through something that intense . Today this class is offered onsite and remotely , with a nicely paced balance and about a dozen exercises , some being group break-out sessions , with plenty of time left for WFM theory and discussion .
I also have my CWPP certification from SWPP in all three areas of expertise : Planning & Strategy , Staffing & Scheduling , and Managing Daily Staffing & Service . But this was not an “ easy A ” for me . For starters , the quizzes are designed to test comprehension of different WFM practices according to the specific study material , so it ’ s critical to attend all the training webinars and read every article on suggested content to make sure you are thinking in the same language as the testers . When it comes to the project , my advice is to choose your subject carefully and thoughtfully . I selected the project that asked which was better , Service Level or Average Speed of Answer , thinking it would be a clean solution with results built around metrics and data . Instead , it turned into the most challenging presentation I ’ ve ever made , with a lot of push-back from my reporting audience to justify the reasons for my choice . SWPP truly wants to see everyone succeed , and if you choose this route , be sure you take them up on their generous offer to provide you with a mentor to help you through the process .
Both programs offer a chance to take a sample quiz to see what you ’ re getting into before committing . Both programs ’ tests have considerable difficulty levels . Even today , when I retake these , I still can ’ t seem to get a perfect 100 % score . There ’ s always some language in there that I end up overthinking , and I get it wrong , probably the same reason I rarely win when I play WFM Jeopardy . That ’ s why it ’ s so important to understand the content standard , which comes easier after experiencing the classes firsthand and reading the materials provided .
III . CONTINUING EDUCATION
‘ It is not that I ’ m so smart . But I stay with the questions much longer .’
– Albert Einstein
I ’ ve spent a lot of time in my WFM career as a speaker , trainer , and writer . Even this morning , I was putting the finishing touches on my latest class which I designed as a crash course in Contact Center Forecasting . One of the few good things that came out of the pandemic is that it made Zoom a household word . The ability to share a desktop elevated WFM training to a whole new level . In the past , I was limited to a PowerPoint deck using a projector and a 24-point font , which is great for showing an agenda or pictures and ideas , but it was difficult to do a deep dive into the mechanics beyond that .
Remote training with screen sharing allows us to drill down into an Excel workbook and demonstrate step-bystep how to build a formula that calculates how much attrition we can afford before our service level fails . Or how to develop multiple forecasting methods with variable growth rates . Then , how to compare the strength of those results using Relative Absolute Error ( RAE ), in the hope it will lead to a better way of mathematically measuring a Forecaster ’ s ability . Forecasters are usually limited to simple forecast accuracy ratings , which tells us that the calls behaved the way we expected , or they didn ’ t , but shows very little about the quality of the forecasting process itself and the effort that went into producing the live forecast model . Now that we can open up this data for everyone to see and touch , we can talk through all of the layers and diverse elements driving the forecast .
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