Verint on Tuesday announced new capabilities within its workforce management solution that automate compliance with CDC guidelines to reduce the risk of COVID-19 infection as employees transition back to the workplace.
New workflows automatically create a comprehensive schedule that is prescriptive, while including traditional workforce management criteria such as skill level, channels and peak hours.
Among the recommended modifications:
- Implementing staggered start times;
- Managing a mix of work-from-home and in-office agents;
- Adhering to safe distancing scheduling recommendations for buildings’ capacities, by floor, workspaces or zones;
- Instituting employee health checks, and allocating extra time for hygiene;
- Providing equal opportunities for employees to rotate in and out of the office;
- Ensuring employees who are not ready to return to the office are not scheduled to do so; and
- Accommodating mobile scheduling requests and notifications about schedule changes.
“Effectively managing today’s workforce is crucial for improving customer experience, operational efficiency and compliance,” said Kelly Koelliker, Verint’s director of solutions marketing.
“Yet currently rising expectations of both customers and employees have made forecasting and scheduling contact center agents and customer engagement resources exponentially more challenging.” she told CRM Buyer.
Verint’s solution “leverages artificial intelligence-infused automation and mobile tools to streamline forecasting and scheduling,” Koelliker remarked, and its flexible workflows let customers “transition back as slowly or as quickly as regulations and business needs warrant.”
Getting Ahead of the Game
“The inclusion of new capabilities makes [Verint] more competitive,” observed Evelyn McMullen, research analyst at Nucleus Research.
“Some large human capital management and workforce management vendors have rolled out contact-tracing functionality, but not much else has been done to address reopening operations beyond Q&As instructing users on how to use their existing capabilities to navigate new regulations,” she told CRM Buyer.
Verint’s solution is tailored for call centers, McMullen said, so, although it’s “ahead of the market in its response to reopening measures, this could be overlooked due to the fact that it is not a primary workforce management provider and is not optimized for most industries.”
The retail industry “will absolutely need these types of automated workflows in their workforce management applications, especially as schedule planning is expected to be one of the greatest challenges upon reopening,” she pointed out.
Obeying the Rules
Ninety-three percent of more than 300 human resources executives responding to an online Challenger, Gray & Christmas survey this spring said they would take precautions once their staff returned to work.
The respondents were from companies of various sizes with a national presence in the United State and representing a range of industries.
Rules for Work Post-Lockdown
The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s guidelines include recommendations for the following:
- Social distancing within the office;
- Daily health checks;
- Various workplace hygiene protocols, including conducting a hazard assessment of the workplace;
- Improving building ventilation systems; and
- Coordinating with state and local health officials to ensure compliance with local requirements.
Employers also must check the CDC website regularly for guidance updates.
The U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) also prepared guidance for reopening workplaces.
The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOCO) has issued 00000guidelines on a variety of pandemic-related workplace issues.
State and local governments hav issued their own guidelines. Here are the guidelines for Massachusetts, for example.
“Regulations are in flux worldwide,” observed Rob Enderle, principal analyst at the Enderle Group.
“From a global perspective, they should be — and likely have been — changing far more rapidly than they usually would, to address the expanding pandemic problem,” he told CRM Buyer.
Forty-seven percent of the respondents to the Challenger, Gray survey said they would follow the lead of their state governments with regard to reopening for business.
Another nearly 14 percent said they would heed the advice of a combination of local, state and federal leaders, as well as leading scientific experts and internal research. Of the remainder, 13 percent said they would adhere to the federal government’s guidelines, and nearly 13 percent said they would follow the advice of leading scientific experts.
The pros of Verint’s approach “include a significant amount of capability to deal with the new normal — the highly customizable nature of the offering, and how it anticipates the coming needs,” Enderle noted. [*Correction – June 10, 2020]
The new capabilities are for current Verint customers, whether they are using its solution on-premises or in the cloud, said Koelliker.
The new workflow “is a low-cost services package,” she noted, and a “small services engagement” will instruct customers on how to configure the solution so they can manage it for themselves.
*ECT News Network editor’s note – June 10, 2020: Our original published version of this story erroneously referred to Verint as a relatively small player in workforce management. Verint is a $1 billion publicly traded company, and it actually is one of the largest vendors in the workforce management space. We apologize for the error.
(We removed the following inaccurate text from our story: “Although Verint does not crack the top 10 list of workforce management vendors, ‘the true advantage of a smaller player like Verint is that because they’re small, they tend to spend more time understanding and engaging with their accounts,’ Enderle pointed out. ‘Their power is the ability to better listen to and respond to unique customer requirements and aspirational needs,’ he said. ‘They may never be the most feature-rich, but they should be more responsive than their larger competitors.’ … ‘The cons are Verint is a relatively small company and may become spread too thinly as firms come back to market and collectively need a lot of help to adjust. They could exceed Verint’s consulting resources,’ he said.”)