Fortune 500 bank tailors staffing, saving millions while reducing risk

Strategic workforce blueprinting in the bank’s contact centers and risk management functions decreases personnel costs, cuts redundant requisitions, and delivers quick ROI

When a top global bank’s staffing issues led to substandard customer service and regulatory problems, leaders sought a solution to fundamentally revamp and align their workforce. Following a rapid implementation of an Anaplan solution for strategic workforce blueprinting, the bank was able to systemically and successfully align its workforce with its operational and strategic needs, while reducing personnel costs and eliminating redundant job requisitions. The bank also avoided staff furloughs and gained a holistic global view of its personnel landscape, all without increasing its risk profile.

With Anaplan, we know what our hiring will cost and how that affects our risk profile.
Head of Process Optimization, Fortune 500 Bank


decrease in personnel costs as a percentage of net operating income


annual return on investment in contact centers from the workforce planning solution


of redundant job reqs eliminated (outside of contact centers) through global alignment

Banks need to keep three groups happy: customers, regulators, and shareholders. The first two groups care about service levels and compliance, and the third cares about performance — which is driven by service levels and ensured by compliance. It’s all a delicate balancing act as demonstrated a few years ago when inadequate staffing affected services at a top global bank. Customers noticed service shortfalls in the bank’s contact centers. Meanwhile, the bank chose to overstaff its transaction monitoring, fraud prevention, and other risk-associated teams rather than risk regulatory scrutiny.

Because the bank lacked a clear view of customer demand, it had the wrong number of people in the wrong places, focused on the wrong activities, or insufficiently skilled to meet their job requirements. In addition, due to a lack of transparency and consistent controls across geographies and regions, redundant resources were hired — and because workforce plans existed in multiple silos throughout the bank, staffing costs couldn’t be easily aggregated and frequently exceeded budgets.

“Transaction monitoring alone required 15 people just to load the volumes, look at productivity levels, and factor in shrinkage levels in the contact centers,” notes the bank’s Head of Process Optimization. “Those jobs are all maintenance and data manipulation, and the people doing them didn’t actually make decisions with the data.” The 14 spreadsheets used by the team were up to eight megabytes in size, and scenario creation (to assess the impact of fluctuations in call volumes across channels, for example) using the spreadsheets took three to five days. 

Forecasts used by tens of thousands of people

“A head of business in a bank is not going to look at 14 different spreadsheets, determine what they mean, and turn it into action,” the Head of Process Optimization says. “We needed a way to reconcile it all into something understandable and actionable.” The bank addressed this challenge beginning in 2019 with a strategic workforce blueprinting (SWB) solution built on the Anaplan platform. The SWB solution consisted of:

  • Capacity planning to forecast short-term contact center demand with higher accuracy.
  • Driver-based demand planning that determines staffing needs over a longer timeframe based on criteria such as role-based productivity across channels.
  • Integrated budget-to-hire aligned finance, HR, and talent acquisition teams beyond contact center employees. (This solution was created later.)

“We wanted a uniform workforce process for our contact centers — a solution that could quickly collate our data, give us instant summaries and consistent output, with very good version control,” the Head of Process Optimization says. To get a clear view of customer demand, they built a transaction monitoring solution in Anaplan in just a few weeks. Today the solution analyzes 42 million customer contact data points across multiple channels to provide a single source of truth for customer demand.

Holistic workforce plans deliver sustainable savings

The demand forecasts now feed into headcount plans for more than 10,000 employee and agency staff in contact centers and risk management functions (e.g., transaction monitoring, name screening, payment screening, fraud, and antibribery and corruption). “With Anaplan we know what our hiring will cost and how that affects our risk profile,” the Head of Process Optimization says. Personnel costs at the bank have decreased by 2.6% as a percentage of net operating income since implementing the Anaplan solution for strategic workforce blueprinting. (Independent calculations show that the bank’s peers had a 2% increase in personnel costs over the same timeframe.) “It’s conservative to say that we paid back our Anaplan investment at least 10 times over in just one year in the contact center,” he reports.

Because staffing plans are aligned with the company’s actual needs and can be monitored holistically across the company and around the world, 30% of open job requisitions in one 60,000-FTE division have been identified as redundant and eliminated — without increasing the bank’s risk profile. This delivered more than $125 million in savings if just 25% of those redundant roles had been filled.

Most importantly, the savings are sustainable, even as the bank grows. Because scenario planning, which formerly took up to five days for each iteration, is now readily possible, headcount is continuously monitored and adapted to current needs across bank operations. Thousands of furloughs have been avoided, leaders have real-time visibility into workforce levels, and workforce costs are being integrated into financial plans at the business-unit level.

“Our ability to right-size the organization without negatively impacting risk or service levels is much better,” the Head of Process Optimization concludes. “That keeps customers, regulators, and our leadership happy.”

Fortune 500 Bank illustrative image 1
Fortune 500 Bank illustrative image 2