Staffing for Today’s Bank Branches

DPA Insights
By Steve Mueller

The landscape of retail banking is changing. To meet the needs of digital consumers while still offering necessary face-to-face services, your financial institution may be planning to open a new branch, consolidate branches or reconfigure an existing branch. In each of these scenarios, you want to know what your staffing requirements need to be in order to provide great service in a cost-effective manner.

The actual process of staffing the branch is straightforward – match the supply of staff resources to the forecast workload demand. But, how to do that consistently and effectively whenever the need arises?

There are two paths you may follow – do it yourself and develop a staffing methodology in-house, or use a professional staffing solution. Before choosing, consider these factors:

  • Features. Do you only need a staffing solution, which is used periodically, or are there other desired features such as staff scheduling and performance reporting?
  • Technology (ATM, cash recyclers, teller capture, online banking, mobile banking, etc.) – Technology has an impact on the branch workload. Which services are you going to offer? Webster Bank recently chose to focus one branch’s services to meet the needs of digital-native customers.  What’s your model?
  • Workload Demand. How do you determine the labor hours you need? How detailed should you be? How do you come up with a number of hours of work for each hour or half-hour of the day?
  • Forecast method. How will you forecast staffing workload for the future?
  • Competitive Analysis. What are your competitors’ hours of operation?  How are they staffed?
  • Service Level. Do you want your customers to be served faster, the same, or slower than the competition?
  • Idle time. There are always slow periods no matter how tightly you staff. How will you make this time more productive?
  • Staff Roles. Teller, customer service rep, universal banker, concierge – which roles do you want in your branch? How will you determine their workloads? And what impact on staffing do you expect?
  • Performance Reporting. What do you want to measure and how will you do it?
  • Attrition / absenteeism rates. How will you prepare for absenteeism and attrition?

After considering the above, it’s time to decide which branch staffing method to follow.

The do-it-yourself option

This is potentially the cheapest solution. The caveat? Only if it’s developed properly by qualified people. The potential risk is in dealing with the almost unavoidable ‘bugs’ that can cause delays, add cost and threaten data. Also consider that there are many variables and factors that need to be considered in determining a branch’s workload and staffing. It is important to think through the process to ensure the outcome provides real value. The good news is that user training, trouble-shooting and support are performed in-house, provided the people who created the solution are still available. This solution will also likely be installed on individual computers or even on your institution’s main system as opposed to being web-based (aka Cloud-based, or Software as a Service). Creating this solution in-house may be best for very small financial institutions with just a few branches and little or no need for multi-functionality.

Professional Staffing Solution

In this scenario, a professional staffing consultant will work with you to develop the critical factors and data elements that build the workload demand profile of each branch. This is the information and data that is necessary to create the staffing solution and other capabilities. The solution may be anywhere from a ‘low tech’ spreadsheet that defines staffing requirements, to a fully featured software solution.

A software solution will usually be multi-functional and include staff scheduling and performance reporting along with staffing requirements. It can be installed on-premise on your institution’s system or accessed via the web. Technical support is usually part of a license or subscription fee, particularly if the solution is web-based, and this support also assures you that your solution is always up to date. Ask for a demo of the solution so you can see how well it meets your needs and budget.

Need support in managing your evolving branch staffing requirements? Shoot us an email or give us a call. We’re happy to discuss your specific needs.

For more than 32 years, Daniel Penn Associates LLC has been helping financial institutions, service companies, healthcare, government and maintenance organizations in industry seize control of their workload, determine staffing needs and reduce uncertainty.

Daniel Penn Associates Director of Commercial Operations Steve Mueller provides adept analysis of work and information flow, assesses management and work procedures and develops staffing and resource models for corporations, financial institutions and health care organizations.

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