By Jan Southern, Senior Consultant
With all of the planning a financial institution undergoes to ensure the right mix of products and services to create a strategy for success, too often management pays too little attention to whether or not the institution has the right number of employees working in the right capacity. But in today’s ever-changing environment, having the right size staff for your bank or credit union can be the difference between reaching your goals and falling short of the mark.
For instance, if your organization is overstaffed, a careful eye will see that there are most likely people sitting idle or unproductive during a good part of the day. Not only does this cost you in the form of excessive salary and benefits, it also can be distracting for the employees who are busy and unnecessarily tie up other resources, such as computers, desks and supplies.
On the other hand, if you are understaffed, the quality of service your financial institution provides can suffer as employees struggle to complete the tasks necessary to operate each day. And when the staff size is insufficient, wait time for your account holders is longer, and serious mistakes are made that can lead to lost business and reputational damage.
As one of the most valuable assets a bank or credit union has working in its favor, human capital is also one of the largest expenditures. So for financial and performance purposes, it is essential to take the time to “right-size” your staffing level to fit your operational and account holder service needs. Failure to do so can negatively impact employee morale, reduce the quality of service you provide and ultimately cause account holders to look elsewhere for the financial services they need.
Staffing study can provide balance
Maintaining the right-size staff isn’t something to be left to chance. What has worked in the past may not fit your current situation or an environment that could change over time. To truly be an efficient and effective organization, a thorough assessment of the financial institution should be undertaken, with an unbiased look at how each department is functioning.
A staffing study can help to provide an overview of your entire organization to determine if staffing decisions equate to the best ROI now, as well as for the long-term, based on such questions as:
• How long does it take to accomplish daily business functions in each department?
• What is the current workforce costing the institution?
• Is technology up-to-date, allowing your staff to work at maximum productivity?
• Are employees getting the proper training required to do their jobs effectively?
• Are there areas where one full-time position could be split into two part-time positions to provide more flexibility for the institution?
Once these questions have been answered, work standards can be established that give the organization measurements to use going forward to maintain adequate staffing levels.
Offering flexibility can be an advantage
In today’s ever-changing business environment, successful financial institutions are the ones that implement flexibility into their business routine. Employing part-time staff can be a cost-effective strategy for filling special business functions and can open up the possibilities of bringing new energy into the organization.
Historically, banks and credit unions have utilized part-time staffing to cover lunch hours, vacations, early morning or late evening and weekend hours. And while part-time pay is generally higher per hour than full-time, the part-time staff member doesn’t work as many hours and doesn’t receive benefits. Going forward, upcoming changes to healthcare legislation could increase benefit expenses even more. Plus, in today’s economy, part-time employment is a great alternative for many well-qualified candidates who need or want flexibility in their schedule.
Finding your “right-size”
Maximizing the capacity of your institution requires having the right balance of expertise and skill in every department. A staffing expert can help to determine the staffing model that will work best for your situation and assist you in putting a plan in place to achieve maximum results.
To learn more about staffing studies and other ways to improve profitability, contact us at Info@JMFA.com or 800-809-2307.