Contact Center Solutions Featured Article

Gig Economy Work Calls for New WFO/WFM Solutions

January 17, 2018

The proliferation of the smartphone and the app, the rise of the cloud, and the arrival of the digital disruptor have led companies of all stripes to launch digital transformation efforts. That includes leveraging digital technologies to do everything from design products to manage internal processes to provide customer service. Human resources is part of the digital transformation, as more companies adopt human capital management systems to recruit, onboard, deliver benefits to, train, and otherwise address employee-related processes. The way we use human resources themselves is changing too.

Traditionally businesses have hired on full- or part-time employees. And some have worked through employment agencies to get temporary works for times of high demand. But today business resources – including human resources – are available on a more elastic basis. And that is enabling businesses to access and use these resources on demand.

We can use our smartphones, tablets, and computers to get on-demand transportation through companies and apps like Lyft. We can get temporary use of party dresses through Rent the Runway. We can spin up computing resources at will via Amazon Web Services and Microsoft Azure. And now we can access talent via on-demand channels as well.

The concept of hiring outsourced and temporary help is nothing new, as noted earlier. Kelly Services has been offering temp help for years. And it’s not unusual for businesses to contract workers, sometimes even their former employees, when they need a little extra help. But, as Aspect Software’s Mike Bourke notes in this recent blog, the gig economy makes on-demand employment faster, easier, and more widely accepted.

Amazon is leading the way by supplementing its USPS deliveries with tap-for-hire drivers, Bourke points out. And, as we all have learned, where Amazon goes others tend to follow.

“Other industries are quickly catching on for services such as furniture moving, dog walking, and at-home makeup styling,” Bourke says. “And the contact center isn’t far behind.”

Using on-demand workers helps organizations more easily address spikes in demand. It also can enable contact centers to reduce expenses by 30 percent because they don’t have to pay benefits, Bourke says. It allows contact centers to broaden their pool of employees because they can engage with telecommuters. As a result, they get access to a greater number of more experienced candidates.

To enjoy all these benefits, Bourke says, contact centers need to adopt new workforce management and optimization tools, training, infrastructure, recruiting, and management practices.

“The forecasting portion of WFM remains essentially the same in the Gig Economy,” he says. “We still need to accurately predict the level of demand for staff for each type of work. But scheduling of individuals for the work predicted is quite different.”

Edited by Mandi Nowitz