2008 Annual Conference Wrap-up
With each passing year, the enthusiasm and excitement continue to grow at the SWPP Annual Conference. During this year’s event, over 325 workforce management professionals from around the world gathered at the Opryland Hotel in Nashville, Tennessee to network and learn with their peers.
This year more attendees arrived early in order to take advantage of the pre-conference sessions on Wednesday morning, and a few extra hours of networking. The formal conference kickoff began after lunch with an inspiring keynote address by Roger Crawford entitled “How High Can You Bounce.”
After the keynote, attendees were able to choose from seven concurrent breakout sessions. Some of the top-rated sessions included:
• Life Beyond Erlang C
• Attendance and Adherence
• 60 Ideas in 60 Minutes
• The Scheduling Swap
• Today's Top Workforce Management Trends
• Key Performance Metrics Revisited
• Truths and Myths about FMLA
Many more hot topics in today’s workforce management world were covered, including at-home agents, measuring the performance of workforce management teams, and transitioning to performance-based scheduling.
“I like that the conference sessions are driven by the work that we do and not the vendors or solutions that we use, said Tobin Hinebaugh of Neiman Marcus Direct. “The session topics were relevant because they were based more on the process used to meet challenges we all face.” Louise Andrew of Fairmont Hotels & Resorts noted that “The caliber of the sessions is impressive. Information is really current or leading edge. Speakers are excellent. Left with lots of new ideas to implement back at my centre.”
The conference activities encouraged the participants to network, and there was plenty of time provided so that everyone could meet in an informal manner at the opening night reception and our Thursday evening event at BB King’s Blues Club.
Randall Cochran of Foremost Insurance said that “the activities bring a good balance to the conference. It also gives a more casual opportunity to meet with your peers. I found these activities the best times to learn about some of the frustrations that others share and how they overcome obstacles.” John Foubert of BECU felt that “the activities were a lot of fun. I know in conference situations I find I have myself sticking to a small group of people I know. The activities helped me get out and meet more people.”
The attendees also had time to visit with the vendors in the Sponsor Showcase and see the latest and greatest technology in our industry. Conference sponsors included Aspect Software, Bay Bridge Decision Technologies, Calabrio, InVision Software, IEX, Pipkins, Spectrum, The Call Center School, UCN, and Verint.
“I really like getting to see the other workforce management systems that are out there and compare to what we are currently using,” said Corki Stokka of CDS Global. “It’s a great place to start getting prepared for the next upgrade or look for a replacement system.”
On Thursday morning, there was a special session to congratulate the five finalists for the Workforce Management Professional of the Year award, and to announce the 2008 winner. This year’s finalists included Liz Beardsley of Delta Air Lines, Tony Capuro of Prime Therapeutics, Taras Chmil of Siemens, Tony Graczyk of Principal Financial Group, and the 2008 Workforce Management Professional of the Year, Adelina Petrov of International Cruise and Excursions.
Friday morning dawned a little early for the attendees, but they headed to even more breakout sessions, and then enjoyed a closing general session before heading back home.
First-time attendee Angela Ford of Humana noted that “I very much enjoyed the opportunity to meet others in the WFM profession. I have two and a half years of experience in the industry and the conference confirmed my desire to continue my career in workforce management. I met wonderful people and have brought back many ideas to better my department.”
Jolaine Bamford of Cabela’s, who is a regular attendee at the event said that “It was a great conference! The topics were varied and pertinent to our operation. Also, of course a wonderful opportunity to talk to the SWPP Board members and peers in our industry, compare notes, and learn. Thanks for the hospitality!”
We hope we will see you all next year for the 2009 SWPP Annual Conference and follow Lisa Elbe of Wescom Credit’s advice. “I was asked to choose one conference this year since our budget for such things has been scaled back,” she said. “I chose SWPP because it always sends me back to the office fired up about Workforce Management and full of new ideas to try!”