Assisted Learning Pathways

Our Assisted Learning Pathway is a six-month programme which blends virtual learning with regular tutorials, so you can join from wherever you are. Explore how to implement new approaches in key specialist areas, with modules updated to show the latest trends & development. Build skills in bite-sized steps and in interactive ways, as part of a group alongside others. Upcoming dates are shown further down this page.


Assisted Learning Pathway Feedback 

“On both a personal and professional note, the timing of this programme was perfect! It has changed my way of thinking about not just  work but also personally to different situations. It has made me more proactive in preparation for meetings/presentations as I am able to apply the techniques I have learned to get the desired results from my audience and to also ask more insightful questions to gain a better understanding of the task/situation. I have applied this to my immediate team but also to my wider stakeholders.”  James Waller, Strategic Change Analyst, e.on


Managing Assumptions

Understand the need for everyone to realise the importance of managing your assumptions and how targets can drive behaviour

 - Consider the importance of assumptions in your models
 - Ensure understanding of the impact of variances through the day and between people
 - Build your stakeholder engagement

Operating and budget plans

Learn how important it is to define the operating model and then agree the key assumptions to form the budget. See practical examples of budget and operating models and explore the importance of accurate forecasts and agreed assumptions.

 - Understand the key assumptions to start calculating FTE requirement
 - Classic mistakes and pitfalls to avoid
 - Interactive module including Excel Spreadsheet operating model exercise

Forecastable Metrics

In many organisations forecasting is limited to volumes of contacts or work, but we can do so much more. Whether we are forecasters or analysts, applying these techniques to our other metrics can open up a wealth of opportunities for improvement.

- Learn how using forecasting techniques can open up new opportunities in your organisation.
- Hear how innovation awards finalists are putting this into practice

Intro to Advanced Vol & Flex Balancing Mathematics

Understand the benefits of taking a more in-depth view into the volatility of your supply and demand, and flexibility requirements.

- Understand the value of further analysis.
- Learn analysis techniques to measure variance
- Translate this into a practical output for flexibility

Intro to the Planning Cycle

Date TBC

Learn the role planning plays in implementing your strategic objectives.  Understand the importance of your role and how you can help others.
 - Understand how the strategic objective is implemented into a forecasting, scheduling and real-time plan.
 - Learn about the importance of effective data checkpoints, change governance and hand-overs 
 - Play apart in driving continuous improvement and become the nerve-centre of the business

Advanced Vol & Flex Balancing Mathematics

Develop your flexibility offering with deeper analysis of your supply and demand, driving a workforce strategy.

- Understand the scale of volatility
- Engage your stakeholders with advanced analysis
- Use this to drive decisions and develop a workforce strategy

Driving Strategy through Forecasting

Date TBC

This course is part of the 'strategic analyst' series of webinars, designed to help everyone in analytical roles become a more active contributor to their organisation’s strategic narrative.

In this webinar we will explore:

-    What is strategy 

-    Benefits of working at the strategic level 

-    Making sense of your organisational strategy

-    Forecasting with you strategy in mind

-    Influencing strategy through forecasting

1-Day Telling A Story With Numbers Workshop

Date TBC

This one-day training workshop is the opportunity for you to discuss the benefits and implications of different approaches and learn about the critical factors to consider. Use this course to help you determine what approach to develop in your own operation.

  • Be able to display complex data in a simple way
  • Have techniques for emotional engagement
  • Have a clear engagement strategy

Measures of Success for Forecasting

The setting of an arbitrary blanket target of say +/-5% forecast accuracy highlights that an organisation does not truly understand the nature of forecasting. Explore the key responsibilities of forecasting and how to take a holistic view when setting measures of success. Learning outcomes include:

- What does good look like? Explore the key characteristics of an ideal forecast and key considerations to develop understanding and learning.
- Define your purpose. Understand how forecasting can support your business strategy and impact it can have on customers and colleagues.
- Creating the right measures. Understand different perspectives and develop a holistic framework of success measures.

Telling Stories with numbers

In this webinar we explore techniques for presenting and communicating data to support turning insight into action.  These include:

- The Pyramid Principle
- Emotional Engagement
- The Pattern of Great Presentations

Introduction to Forecasting (including Best in Class)

This module provides an introductory understanding of:

 - the fundamental inputs and outputs of the forecasting processes.
 - the role of forecasting within the planning cycle 
 - the characteristics of best in class forecasting teams as evidenced throgh The Forum's standards-benchmarking programme

Understanding the Flexibility Toolkit

Date TBC

One you have determined the volatility of your volumes you can start to think of ways to manage this through scheduling. The flexibility toolkit contains 18 options that you can use in your business. Learning outcomes include:

- What are the flexibility options and which can be combined? 

- Pros and cons of each method and case study examples of how they’ve been implemented.

- Understanding how different tool kit options can be used strategically and tactical

Operating models, routing strategic and skill design

Date TBC

How Multi-skilling routing works & load balancing between sites or teams plus more

- IVR Vs Routing

- Operating Models

- Breaking Erlang

- Purposes of multiskilling

- Balancing conflicting view points

- New potential planning logics

Managing Assumptions

Date TBC

Understand the need for everyone to realise the importance of managing your assumptions and how targets can drive behaviour

- Consider the importance of assumptions in your models

- Ensure understanding of the impact of variances through the day and between people

- Build your stakeholder engagement

Advanced Volatility & Flexibility balancing strategies

Date TBC

Develop your flexibility offering with deeper analysis of your supply and demand, driving a workforce strategy.

- Understand the scale of volatility

- Engage your stakeholders with advanced analysis

- Use this to drive decisions and develop a workforce strategy

Measures of Success for Scheduling

Date TBC

Scheduling is much more than creating shifts and therefore the success criteria for shift design is much more than schedule fit.  This module will explore the key responsibilities of a scheduler and how a holistic view is required to set measures of success.  Learning outcomes include:

- What does good look like?  Understand the importance of scheduling and the key responsibilities, including key characteristics of good and bad schedules.

- Define your purpose.  Understand how schedules support your business strategy and its importance to customer and employee satisfaction

- Schedule fit & other measures.  Introduction to different ways of measuring scheduling fit and how these can be incorporated into a more holistic framework of success measures.

Introduction to Scheduling

Date TBC

This module provides an introductory understanding of:

- The fundamental inputs and outputs of the scheduling processes.

- The role of scheduling within the planning cycle 

- The characteristics of best in class scheduling teams as evidenced through The Forum's standards-benchmarking programme

How to drive engagement through shift review

Date TBC

Shift reviews deliver many benefits to many areas of the business

- Performance - Improved customer experience

- Attrition, Absence - Reduced stress of busy peaks and boredom of quiet times

- Employee Engagement - Flexibility to meet lifestyles of your teams

Understand the key principles which will drive engagement across your organisation, face the fear of shift patterns and bring a united, collaborative approach to making change possible

Shrinkage: Tracking, Managing and Optimising

Date TBC

This was held on 9th November: Deeper dive into shrinkage, historical tracking, forecasting and incorporating in long and short term planning.

Understand the importance of tracking and manging your shrinkages so they are optimised for your staff. Learning outcomes include:

- What is included in shrinkage?

- The importance of standardised tracking

- How do you categorise to monitor and report?

- Which numbers should you use for planning?

- Why you should spend as much time forecasting Shrinkage as work volumes.

Measures of Success Real Time

Date TBC

Understand how to create the right measures to track and develop your real time effectiveness. Learn how to create the right process, aligned to your strategy and how to take a holistic view when setting measures of success. Learning outcomes include:

- What does good look like? Explore the key characteristics of an ideal real time function and key considerations to develop understanding and learning.

- Define your purpose. Understand how real-time planning can support your business strategy and impact it can have on customers and colleagues.

- Creating the right measures. Understand different perspectives and develop a holistic framework of success measures.

Introduction to Real Time

Date TBC

This module provides an introductory understanding of:

- The fundamental inputs and outputs of Real-Time processes.

- The role of Real-Time Planning within the planning cycle 

- The characteristics of best in class Real-Time teams as evidenced through The Forum's standards-benchmarking programme

Volatility vs Flexibility in Real Time

Date TBC

Develop a deeper understanding of your supply and demand intra-day profiles to understand how much flexibility you have and need.

- Understand how to measure the variability of intraday profiles

- Learn how to create triggers for action to flex your staff

- Improve your operational readiness to become more effective

Using RAG models to take action

Date TBC

Understanding how to create effective thresholds to really drive improvement through easy to understanding Red, Amber and Green status.  This module will explore classic mistakes and top tips to improve how you communicate numbers:

- The purpose of Red, Amber and Green status

- Mistakes to avoid

- Top tips, new techniques and tried and tested examples

Measures of Success: Balanced Scorecards

Date TBC

Understand how to create the right measures to track and develop your real time effectiveness. Learn how to create the right process, aligned to your strategy and how to take a holistic view when setting measures of success. Learning outcomes include:

- What does good look like? Explore the key characteristics of an ideal real time function and key considerations to develop understanding and learning.

- Define your purpose. Understand how real-time planning can support your business strategy and impact it can have on customers and colleagues.

- Creating the right measures. Understand different perspectives and develop a holistic framework of success measures.

1-Day Stakeholder Engagement and Communication

Date TBC

Learn how to create your own stakeholder map and communication plan, teaching you basic influencing skills to help you succeed. After this course, you will;

  • Understand how to identify stakeholders and use a mapping tool
  • Create a communication plan and engagement strategies for stakeholders
  • Be able to deploy simple influencing skills at work

Building and optimising Real-time RAG Models

Hosted on 10th March 2020 by David Preece

Drive decisions and continuous improvement by building effective RAG status trigger for actions, which engage the operation and improve performance. This module follows the “Using RAG models to take action”.

- Learn how to set appropriate thresholds for in-day reporting
- Understand different ways of engaging the operation
- Create a learning mechanism to drive continuous improvement

Digital Planning including Asynchronous Messaging

14th Oct 2021, 13:30 - 15:00

9th Dec 2021, 13:30 - 15:00

Free Webinar - 2020 Vision: Crystallising your knowledge Launch

Hosted on 27th April 2020 by Phil Anderson and Paul Smedley

2020 is The Forum’s 20th year and this year we want to look back on our first 20-years and think ahead for the next 20-years. Our vision, back in 2000, was and remains to raise standards in customer operations helping to set standards across Planning, Insight and Quality. Now, having established communities of best practice we can continue to raise standards and prepare for the future.

This year’s theme refers to the clarity and sharpness of vision required to purposely move forward towards your targets, goals and dreams. Whilst recognising the benefit of our fluid thinking over the past 20-years to crystallise our knowledge of best practice and standards.

 - “Purpose, Learning and Self-Awareness” Keynote from The Forum’s Phil Anderson
 - 2020 Best Practice Guide launch and chapter review
 - 2020 Best Practice Programme – how to get involved

Free Webinar: Contact & Call Centres Re-imagined - Planning Flexible Workplace Strategies for the traditionally non-flexible business. Sponsored by Anaplan

23rd September 2021, 12:00

Remote and hybrid work was historically seen as only for the lucky few, and certainly never for the likes of contact or call centre workers. That all changed when the pandemic sent all non-essential workers around the world home. It not only worked – many businesses saw productivity increases.  Twelve+ months later, with lessons learned, the question on many leaders’ minds for their business critical contact centres, is should we bring them back?

The right decision is not obvious, and must be anchored to the business goals and strategy. We will spend this session sharing approaches and highlighting some of the dependencies and variables to consider as you navigate the future of work for your organisation.

Free Webinar: How your business can fight back against volatile demand ~ Sponsored by QStory

30th September 2021, 12:00

Traditional forecast models and techniques have been undermined by changes in customer behaviour as a result of the pandemic which have made demand levels increasingly volatile. Instead of being a cause for concern, is this an opportunity for Planning teams everywhere to change their focus?  Is it time that the focus was placed on flexibility and the ability to respond to volatility? In this webinar, David Preece from QStory and Dave Vernon Director at The Forum will discuss the drive for accuracy vs the drive for agility and highlight the key role that Intraday Automation can play in helping planners to adapt to 'the new different'.

Virtual Networking Group for Planning

12th October 2021, 13:30 - 15:00

7th December 2021, 13:30 - 15:00

Virtual Networking Group for Asynchronous Messaging

14th October 2021, 13:30 - 15:00

9th December 2021, 13:30 - 15:00

Planning & Insight in the Back Office Assisted Learning Pathway

w/c 29th November 2021, Virtual Kickoff

Learn how to apply the whole planning cycle, from capacity to scheduling & real time, with the chance to explore further your role and where it fits in.

After this session, you will understand;

 - The key elements of capacity plans and backlog management
 - How to set up effective data, reporting & comms plans
 - Crucial elements of a good plan and their impacts, including shrinkage, models & forecasting

Best Practice in Planning Assisted Learning Pathway

w/c 29th November 2021, Virtual Learning

Learn how to apply the whole planning cycle, from capacity to scheduling & real-time, with the chance to explore further your role and where it fits in.

After this course, you will;

 - See how each planning stage impacts others
 - Explore the importance of handoffs and the data journey
 - Understand the importance of shrinkage and forecasting in maintaining an effective plan

Capacity Planning, Forecasting & Budgets Assisted Learning Pathway

w/c 29th November 2021, Virtual Learning

This course gives you knowledge to support you in your role and overcome the obstacles you face, to help you create a culture of data-driven decision making.

After this course, you will understand;

 - The key numbers in a capacity plan & how to explain them
 - How plans & forecasts flows from strategy & budgets through the entire planning cycle
 - Managing data to ensure a single version of the truth

Scheduling & Wellness: Managing Flexibility Assisted Learning Pathway

w/c 29th November 2021, Virtual Learning

Learn about lifestyle and wellness options that help balance people with business needs and explore the volatility of your operations’ workload.

After this course, you will understand;

 - How to analyse your flexibility requirements and opportunities
 - What options are available to improve your coverage while supporting wellness & lifestyle
 - How to develop a flexibility strategy that is a corporate asset

Operational Readiness & Effectiveness Assisted Learning Pathway

w/c 29th November 2021, Virtual Learning

Learn how to determine the optimal approach and build an operational playbook, in order to improve your Real-Time function and tactical planning framework.

After this course, you will understand;

 - The role of Real-Time and how to add most value as analysts
 - The predictability/impact of events. How to set effective triggers and actions
 - How to analyse your flexibility demands and manage shrinkage

Planning & Insight in the Back Office Assisted Learning Pathway

w/c 7th March 2022, Virtual Kickoff

Learn how to apply the whole planning cycle, from capacity to scheduling & real time, with the chance to explore further your role and where it fits in.

After this session, you will understand;

 - The key elements of capacity plans and backlog management
 - How to set up effective data, reporting & comms plans
 - Crucial elements of a good plan and their impacts, including shrinkage, models & forecasting

Best Practice in Planning Assisted Learning Pathway

w/c 7th March 2022, Virtual Learning

Learn how to apply the whole planning cycle, from capacity to scheduling & real-time, with the chance to explore further your role and where it fits in.

After this course, you will;

 - See how each planning stage impacts others
 - Explore the importance of handoffs and the data journey
 - Understand the importance of shrinkage and forecasting in maintaining an effective plan

Capacity Planning, Forecasting & Budgets Assisted Learning Pathway

w/c 7th March 2022, Virtual Learning

This course gives you knowledge to support you in your role and overcome the obstacles you face, to help you create a culture of data-driven decision making.

After this course, you will understand;

 - The key numbers in a capacity plan & how to explain them
 - How plans & forecasts flows from strategy & budgets through the entire planning cycle
 - Managing data to ensure a single version of the truth

Scheduling & Wellness: Managing Flexibility Assisted Learning Pathway

w/c 7th March 2022, Virtual Learning

Learn about lifestyle and wellness options that help balance people with business needs and explore the volatility of your operations’ workload.

After this course, you will understand;

 - How to analyse your flexibility requirements and opportunities
 - What options are available to improve your coverage while supporting wellness & lifestyle
 - How to develop a flexibility strategy that is a corporate asset

Operational Readiness & Effectiveness Assisted Learning Pathway

w/c 7th March 2021, Virtual Learning

Learn how to determine the optimal approach and build an operational playbook, in order to improve your Real-Time function and tactical planning framework.

After this course, you will understand;

 - The role of Real-Time and how to add most value as analysts
 - The predictability/impact of events. How to set effective triggers and actions
 - How to analyse your flexibility demands and manage shrinkage

Planning & Insight in the Back Office Assisted Learning Pathway

w/c 16th May 2022, Virtual Kickoff

Learn how to apply the whole planning cycle, from capacity to scheduling & real time, with the chance to explore further your role and where it fits in.

After this session, you will understand;

 - The key elements of capacity plans and backlog management
 - How to set up effective data, reporting & comms plans
 - Crucial elements of a good plan and their impacts, including shrinkage, models & forecasting

Best Practice in Planning Assisted Learning Pathway

W/C 16th May 2022, Virtual Learning

Learn how to apply the whole planning cycle, from capacity to scheduling & real-time, with the chance to explore further your role and where it fits in.

After this course, you will;

 - See how each planning stage impacts others
 - Explore the importance of handoffs and the data journey
 - Understand the importance of shrinkage and forecasting in maintaining an effective plan

Capacity Planning, Forecasting & Budgets Assisted Learning Pathway

w/c 16th May 2022, Virtual Learning

This course gives you knowledge to support you in your role and overcome the obstacles you face, to help you create a culture of data-driven decision making.

After this course, you will understand;

 - The key numbers in a capacity plan & how to explain them
 - How plans & forecasts flows from strategy & budgets through the entire planning cycle
 - Managing data to ensure a single version of the truth

Scheduling & Wellness: Managing Flexibility Assisted Learning Pathway

w/c 16th May 2022, Virtual Learning

Learn about lifestyle and wellness options that help balance people with business needs and explore the volatility of your operations’ workload.

After this course, you will understand;

 - How to analyse your flexibility requirements and opportunities
 - What options are available to improve your coverage while supporting wellness & lifestyle
 - How to develop a flexibility strategy that is a corporate asset

Operational Readiness & Effectiveness Assisted Learning Pathway

w/c 16th May 2022, Virtual Learning

Learn how to determine the optimal approach and build an operational playbook, in order to improve your Real-Time function and tactical planning framework.

After this course, you will understand;

 - The role of Real-Time and how to add most value as analysts
 - The predictability/impact of events. How to set effective triggers and actions
 - How to analyse your flexibility demands and manage shrinkage

Planning & Insight in Field & Branch Operations

Next Date TBC

Learn how to apply the whole planning cycle, from capacity to scheduling & real-time, with the chance to explore further your role and where it fits in.

After this session, you will understand;

 - The key drivers of performance and how to explain them
 - How to set up effective data, reporting & comms plans
 - Crucial elements of a good plan and their impacts, including shrinkage, models & forecasting

As a member, you are not on your own but part of a community with others facing many similar challenges. We are here to help you to make a tangible impact in your organisation and show how developing the capability of each specialist professional function is fundamental to your business.

Book for one of our events to experience our exceptional community or get in touch to talk about how we can help you and your teams to be fully effective in adding value to your business. Email advice@theforum.social, call 0333 123 5960 or contact any of The Forum team

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About us

As an independent association established since 2000, we offer a trusted space for professionals in contact centre, field service, back office or retail operation. Benchmark against the best in class and learn from innovators and pioneers.

Learning Academy

On-demand modules

We have a wide range of virtual modules that you can view at your own pace.

Covid-19 Webinar Series 2

You have a community of support at The Forum. See the series of free webinars to help you through this unusual situation.

Conferences

National Conferences 2021
w/c 1st November Virtually and 9th November face-to-face
Annual conferences dedicated to the needs of their communities.

Customer Strategy & Planning 2021
Catch up on the highlights
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