By Bryan Hanks,
Vice President, JMFA Recruitment Services
As bank and credit unions continue to face the challenges of on-going regulatory requirements, growing competition and increased member service expectations, the need for highly qualified employees is a constant concern. To make matters worse, more and more long-time employees are entering their retirement years while a stronger economy is creating new opportunities for experienced employees who may have been staying put until the job market improved.
And while having the right balance of products, technology and service access points is important for maintaining consumer loyalty and a strong community presence, financial institutions that have employees who are knowledgeable and possess excellent service skills have an advantage in the marketplace.
Filling staffing gaps can be time-consuming, especially when an organization lacks a mentoring program to help build and maintain bench strength. And given that staffing represents one of the largest expenses on a financial institution’s balance sheet, not many institutions have the luxury of back-up personnel waiting in the wings to fill vacant positions.
Expertise when you need it
In many situations, contract staffing can provide a bank or credit union with top talent to fill any staffing needs, for as long as necessary. For instance, while your full-time staff is proficient in running the regular day-to-day operations, there may be times when you need to augment your staff or bring additional people into the institution for a short period of time. Contract staffing is a cost-effective way to get the exact talent you need for such situations as:
- completing strategic planning initiatives before the end of the year;
- providing an interim professional to fill an open executive position caused by a retirement or resignation;
- maintaining uninterrupted service due to maternity, medical , disability or military leave; and
- providing access to specific skill sets needed for special projects – such as a core conversion, implementing EMV chip card technology into your ATM network, loan analysis and underwriting, asset liability management and audits – or in the event of temporary seasonal staffing needs.
Contracting temporary staff alleviates the need for full-time employees to incur additional responsibilities on top of their own work assignments, which can have an adverse effect on morale and a negative impact on service.
Plus, in the event you gain access to someone who has the skill set and personality that fit your organization’s culture, a temporary assignment can turn into full time if a vacancy occurs or you add a new position to the organizational chart. This provides you with a qualified candidate – if the person is interested in becoming full-time – who has become familiar with your processes and your consumers, which can be a real boost to maintaining uninterrupted service and consumer loyalty.
Contract staffing is a cost-effective solution
In addition to providing the exact skill set you need for a specified amount of time, contract personnel can save you the cost of full-time employee benefits, such as medical and dental insurance – that may be required due to changing healthcare regulations – along with 401(k) options, employment taxes, payroll fees and workmen’s compensation. And since these employees are hired to complete only specific pre-determined duties, there are usually no additional training costs required.
If you aren’t sure what solution is best when your institution is faced with a staffing shortage or you need additional personnel on a temporary basis, a recruiting expert can help you to determine whether contract solutions – such as interim hires, consultants or project staffing – are better alternatives than hiring permanent, full-time employees.
Just make sure you contract with a consultant that focuses specifically on the financial services industry to get the benefit of a wide range of candidates with the exact knowledge and experience you need. And before you enter into a consulting contract, find out if the provider has a strong social media network that is connected to the level of talent you are seeking. In today’s job environment, finding the best fit for your exact staffing needs requires a multi-tiered approach, which includes traditional search techniques along with accessing social media networks that provide broader access to industry connections and talent.
Get connected before the need arises
For the best results, get to know a recruiting consultant before you need the service. This will give the experts time to get to know your institution and understand your potential staffing needs, before you find yourself in a critical situation. Then, when the need arises, you will have a project management professional in place to find the temporary talent you need, allowing you and your full-time staff to maintain your focus on providing consumers with uninterrupted service.
JMFA is a leading provider of profitability and performance-improvement consulting. For more than 35 years, JMFA has been recognized as one of the most trusted names in the industry, helping financial institutions reach their goals. JMFA is recognized for earnings enhancement and expense control programs, executive placement, as well as product, service, pricing and technology-improvement consulting. Simply stated, JMFA’s programs and services are designed to increase income or reduce expenses. JMFA is proud to be a preferred provider for performance-enhancement consulting services among many industry groups.