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You can significantly reduce tardiness, absenteeism and employee dissatisfaction by getting frontline agents involved in developing new schedules, says Tiffany LaReau, Pipeline author and certified workforce manager at Human Numbers, a firm that provides forecasting and scheduling services to contact centers.

LaReau recommends forming a schedule focus team—a diverse group that includes a good representation of your center. Have the team brainstorm scheduling constraints (e.g., service goals, operating hours, team sizes and required staff by intervals, day of weeks, etc.), agent desires (e.g., daycare, school, traffic) and schedule options (consecutive days on/ off, 4×10 vs. 5×8 shifts, rotating weeks, weekend coverage, flexible or part-time shifts, etc.).

Practical Tips for Call CentersPractical pointer: The schedule focus team should come up with a fair process for matching shifts to employees. “Team members can also serve as the Schedule Champion for their areas, a peer who agents can go to when they need to discuss schedule issues,” LaReau says.

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