What Does It Take to Become a WFM Superstar? Ask Paychex’s Caryn Yurkstas | Calabrio
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What Does It Take to Become a WFM Superstar? Ask Paychex’s Caryn Yurkstas

We at Calabrio know firsthand how innovative and forward-thinking our customers are. But it’s even more special when leading authorities in the workforce management (WFM) space know it, too.

That’s exactly how we felt when we learned Calabrio customer Caryn Yurkstas of Paychex was named a “2019 WFM Professional of the Year” finalist by the Society of Workforce Planning Professionals (SWPP).

The honor was no surprise to us. As a senior workforce analyst for Paychex—a leading provider of integrated human capital management solutions for payroll, benefits, human resources and insurance services—Caryn developed her deep, well-rounded workforce management expertise by climbing the ranks within the company’s own contact center operations. Starting out with Paychex 15 years ago—before WFM was a formal discipline—Caryn self-trained and honed her skills as an agent before moving onto a workforce analyst role where, among other things, she spent 11 years forecasting contact center headcount and managing agent scheduling.

Caryn finds her real-world WFM experience to be invaluable to her and a huge boon to the organization because it gives her a unique perspective and instant credibility with the agents and analysts with whom she collaborates. And that’s exactly the kind of expertise that was needed when, in 2017, contact center operations had a hard time living up to the company’s lofty goal of never losing touch with its clients. Different Paychex contact center teams operated in siloes in one form or another, and used three different contact center technology systems, with each team doing its own thing. No formal WFM strategy existed.

Experiencing rapid client growth, Paychex knew that if it was going to stay true to its service promise of earning clients for life, it needed to find a solution that delivered scalability and efficiency. A siloed approach was no longer meeting client expectations for 24/7/365 service—nor could it support the company’s projected growth.

To remedy the situation, management decided to unify all users and WFM capabilities from three separate contact center systems into a single, full-featured platform—Calabrio ONE—and formally regionalize contact centers in order to unite the disparate groups residing in the same region.

And they tapped Caryn and her deep WFM expertise to help strategize, plan and execute the changes.

System and Team Unification Delivers Substantial, Immediate Results

By standardizing on the Calabrio ONE workforce management platform and regionalizing contact centers, Paychex immediately improved agent adherence by 20%, increased intraday optimization by 45% and delivered forecasting that—in its first 10 weeks—came within 5% of actuals.

Long-term results were equally impressive—the initiative saves Paychex $539,000 per year in productive time!

“These fast results really opened everybody’s eyes that these two strategies would work,” explains Caryn. “We gave them insights they’ve never been able to see before.”

The initiatives delivered additional business benefits as well. Contact center leaders were able to:

  • Optimize scheduling and intraday forecasting
  • Allow more staff to focus on relationship management by shifting from a support model with four dedicated agents to one with a single, dedicated agent
  • Implement a voluntary time-off program to prevent overstaffing during low-volume periods

Going Beyond to Help People Understand the “Why” of Workforce Management

Working for a company like Paychex—which has been recognized by Training magazine as one of the Top 125 training organizations for 18 years in a row (coming in at number 12 this year)—Caryn knows about and shares the importance the company places on training.

That’s why she collaborated with a colleague to develop and deliver live training programs that educate analysts and managers on the best ways to use Calabrio’s WFM capabilities, such how to track statistics and create reports. They also developed a “Coaching to the Metrics” training designed to help contact center supervisors understand how to best utilize the metrics delivered by Calabrio and beneficially discuss the results with agents. And, of course, an agent training curriculum featuring on-demand classes also was created.

All in all, this multi-pronged approach to training resulted in project managers with no previous WFM experience being up and running—fully functional—on Calabrio in only two weeks!

But for Caryn, helping people understand the “what” and “how” of WFM isn’t enough. She also wants them to understand the “why.”

Having spent time as an agent, Caryn knew the highest levels of adherence and agent engagement come about only if agents feel valued and trusted—and that only comes about if they understand why certain metrics are monitored. So Caryn incorporated into all of her trainings the rationale for WFM—the “why.” In this way, she ensures agents understand the benefits WFM provides to everyone: the agents, the company, and, most importantly, the clients.

The corporate benefits to Paychex are just the beginning, though. “I’m advocating for the WFM profession. I’m trying to bring more understanding and advancement to it,” explains Caryn.

Congratulations, Caryn! We’re proud to have you as part of the Calabrio team!

Angela Higgins
Angela Higgins, Director of Customer & Partner Engagement, is responsible for creating meaningful experiences through which customers and partners can engage with Calabrio and its products. Angela joined Calabrio with more than 15 years’ experience in marketing, including 8 years in B2B software marketing. She holds a B.A. in public relations from University of Minnesota, and a Master’s in Business Communications from St. Thomas University.
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