Future WFM Operating Standard

From WFM Labs


This document aims to introduce a new standard for workforce management (WFM) and the approach used to successfully support the future of contact center operations. While all contact centers and WFM teams have variations in how they conduct forecasting, scheduling, and real-time management, this standard seeks to recommend a new approach to a profession that is due for an overhaul.

We present why now is the time for change and then outline a future for workforce management leveraging two frameworks:

  • GRPI Framework: Goals, Roles, Processes, and Interpersonal Relationships (Beckhard, R. 1972).
  • PPT Framework: People, Process, and Technology (Dr. Harold Leavitt, Leavitt’s Diamond Model, Applied Organization Change in Industry - 1964).

In redesigning the future WFM standard, we will recognize two overlapping areas in the above frameworks: process and interpersonal relationships / people. For our use, we will combine these two frameworks into a summary GRPI-T framework:

  • Goals
  • Roles
  • Processes
  • Interpersonal Relationships / People
  • Technology

We present the future of WFM with this GRPI-T framework in a new light, where employees are prioritized first and how automation technologies can be leveraged to benefit employees. We propose new methods for creating more resilient capacity plans incorporating simulation and variance probabilities into our processes. We offer unique strategies leveraging real-time automation to address variations to our plan. Finally, we propose a new category of goals, roles, and processes for WFM teams, where WFM teams leverage technology and automation to impact employee satisfaction and retention. WFM’s direct involvement with employee satisfaction and retention will introduce a radically different interpersonal relationship with WFM's primary customer, the frontline employee.

While we introduce a new approach to WFM, some traditional goals, roles, processes, and relationships remain intact. For example, two conventional goals of 1) meeting service level objectives and 2) optimizing staff to achieve expense targets are still considered critically important. However, by leveraging automation and simulation techniques, and taking an employee-first stance, this new standard will support achieving traditional goals with a bonus: solving the legacy contact center problem of employee attrition. Attracting, developing, growing, and retaining employees is at the core of the next generation of workforce management principles.


Workforce Management Standard Introduction

This section helps set the base framework for what "traditional WFM" focused on. A brief introduction to traditional goals, roles, processes, interpersonal relationships and the technology commonly leveraged by WFM organizations

Changes to the Future of Workforce Management

This standard focuses on intersecting drivers behind the need for developing an entirely new approach to the Workforce Management function. Those areas include exponential advancements in technology, the global pandemic (COVID-19), the dramatic growth in independent workers/gig economy, a new generation of workers, “Generation Z, and extraordinary times of business uncertainty.

WFM Goals

The future WFM standard outlines both traditional goals and presents new goals to address the changing dynamics described in Changes to the Future of WFM, with special emphasis on “uncertainty”.  

WFM Roles

This WFM standard outlines future organizational roles.  The roles align high-level activities & processes managed by the WFM organization.  

WFM Processes

This WFM standard outlines future WFM processes.  The standard proposes both changes to traditional forecasting, scheduling and real-time processes to address the changes to the Future of Workforce Management.

Interpersonal Relationships

The future WFM standard proposes a new employee-first framework, where interpersonal relationships between WFM, Finance, HR, Contact Center management and frontline employees are significantly enhanced. While recognizing the unique challenges contact center employees face, this standard establishes a framework for open communications, feedback, creative contributions, transparency and trust to achieve the collective organizational goals.


The future WFM standard leverages traditional ACD & WFM software, but places special emphasis on automation and simulation, and leveraging command center technologies.

WFM Assessment

Where are you on the new WFM Maturity Curve? Take this quick WFM Assessment to plot your practices!