Human Resources

Make Good Use of Teller Downtime

Downtime accounts for up to 30% of scheduled hours at some institutions.

November 19, 2013
KEYWORDS credit , lobby , management , unions
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With teller transaction levels dropping some 45% over the past two decades, according to Financial Management Solutions’ (FMSI) 2013 Teller Line Study, it’s clear that branches have less traffic with each passing year.

Technological advancements, from remote deposit for commercial accounts to online and mobile banking, are forever changing the mechanisms by which credit union members interact with their branch and access their funds.

Yet, these same members still expect a branch to be open when they need “face time” to resolve issues or receive personalized attention. So, how can credit unions remain financially strong while satisfying member demands?

One mechanism is to improve productivity through efficient use of downtime, also known as idle time or “excess waiting for work time.”

Through comparative evaluations FMSI has performed on many of its credit union clients, we have determined that downtime now accounts for up to 30% of employee scheduled hours. Credit unions that more closely manage this resource can maximize their staff productivity across the board.

First, credit unions must create work schedules, not only to ensure coverage during busy periods, but also to plan for using idle time. This requires the credit union to be on top of the ebb and flow of its branch traffic volumes.

This can be achieved through a dedicated forecasting and scheduling solution or, less accurately, through observation, industry averages and/or manual recordkeeping.

Once the credit union identifies likely idle periods, branch management should stop relying on the employees to fill idle time, when it occurs, with “busy work” in the branch.

Instead, management should identify specific tasks preferably derived from overloaded, revenue-producing departments that staff can perform during designated work periods that are forecast to be idle.

These tasks include following up on loan documentation or perform outbound member service calls. Targeted training exercises also are a good use of this time.

Assuming the credit union’s forecasts are accurate, this approach will enable branches to accomplish more work without expanding payroll resources. Over time, it can enable the credit union to reduce staff.

W. MICHAEL SCOTT is president/CEO of FMSI.

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Great article! Unfortunately, most employees don’t feel valued or appreciated by their supervisors or employers. In fact, research has shown that the predominant reason team members quit their jobs is because they don’t feel valued. This is in spite of the fact that employee recognition programs have proliferated in the workplace – over 90% of all organizations in the U.S. has some form of employee recognition activities in place. But most employee recognition programs are viewed with skepticism and cynicism – because they aren’t viewed as being genuine in their communication of appreciation. Getting the “employee of the month” award, receiving a certificate of recognition, or a “Way to go, team!” email just don’t get the job done. How do you communicate authentic appreciation? We have found people have different ways that they want to be shown appreciation, and if you don’t communicate in the language of appreciation important to them, you essentially “miss the mark”. Additionally, employees need to receive recognition more than once a year at their performance review. Otherwise, they view the praise as “going through the motions”. A third component of authentic appreciation is that the communication has to be about them personally – not the department, not their group, but something they did. Finally, they have to believe that you mean what you say. How you treat them has to match the words you use. If you are not sure how your team members want to be shown appreciation, the Motivating By Appreciation Inventory (www.appreciationatwork.com/assess) will identify the language of appreciation and specific actions preferred by each employee. You then can create a group profile for your team, so everyone knows how to encourage one another. Remember, employees want to know that they are valued for what they contribute to the success of the organization. And communicating authentic appreciation in the ways they desire it can make the difference between keeping your quality team members or having a negative work environment that everyone wants to leave. Paul White, Ph.D., is the co-author of The 5 Languages of Appreciation in the Workplace with Dr. Gary Chapman.

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