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A Forward Thinking Financial Institution Optimizes its Workforce

November 23, 2010

Babies in the Workplace

Credit Union Excels with Part-Time Employees and “Babies in the Workplace” Initiatives

Having a baby is one of the most exciting and demanding times in life.  With all the smiles and love there are also new life responsibilities that can often seriously affect employers and employees alike.  What if, to ease the transition of a new baby into a family’s life, an employer allowed them to bring their newborn to work?  UNCLE Credit Union (UCU), a forward-thinking four location financial institution based in California, did just this and has been very successful implementing other progressive workforce optimization practices that have led to substantial labor cost savings for their credit union.  Specifically, in the last couple of years they have also improved the efficiency of their teller-line operations with the assistance of actionable business intelligence from FMSI’s Teller Management SystemTM (TMS).   Dree Johnson, Sales and Service Director for UCU, described the benefits of their innovative approaches by stating, “Change can be difficult for an organization, but complacency is worse.  The implementation of progressive programs such as our Babies in the Workplace initiative and the Teller Management SystemTM – required some patience – but ultimately reduced staff shortages, established accountability amongst our employees, and significantly improved employee morale.”

UCU’s Babies in the Workplace Initiative

Over the years UCU had lost many exceptional employees to mommy duties.  With this costly turnover significantly affecting the credit union’s bottom-line, the question was asked – what if we allowed mom’s to bring their newborns to work?  Dree explained the subsequent discussions between UCU’s management team by stating, “I remember talking with my associates about what was the worst that could happen.  We really could not think of anything that would stop us from implementing this program.  At the end of the day we were much better off having an employee working at 66% capacity – for a six-month period – compared to entirely losing the performance of a great employee combined with the costly endeavor of replacing them.”  UCU’s Babies in the Workplace Initiative was pretty simple. Newborns could come to work until they were 8 months old or crawling – other than that parents could care for their newborns at their branch as needed.  The program has been a huge success for UCU.

Improving Part-time Employee Utilization

One of the TMS reports that UCU has benefited greatly from is the part-time employee (PTE) utilization report.  This report allows UCU to monitor and improve their PTE utilization percentage by providing them with timely decision-support business intelligence.  Prior to having this performance management information, UCU would simply replace a full-time employee (FTE) when they left the credit union.  This approach was logical and seamless, but was not taking into consideration a critical variable.  If an organization is not scheduling their teller-line based on historic transaction volumes, they are most likely experiencing an inefficient overstaffed branch environment.  Instead of replacing FTEs when they leave, it is a more complete approach if they review each vacant teller scenario to see if the historic transaction volume warranted hiring another FTE.

Once armed with the TMS reports, when a teller position opened up due to attrition, UCU was able to reference the TMS metrics to see if it made sense to utilize PTEs vs. replacing the FTE.  The TMS report provides a detailed breakdown of historic transaction volumes per day and per hour.  With this information, they were able to significantly improve their efficiencies by better matching their teller schedules to the transaction volume demands of each branch.  In the past year, UCU has taken their part-time utilization percentage from 2.8% to an astounding 17.9%. 

Managing Processing Transaction Hours Vs. Non-Processing Duties

Dree routinely analyzes the TMS metrics for teller transaction processing vs. non-teller transaction processing functions, such as balancing a cash drawer.  She has utilized this information to help establish employee accountability as it relates to productivity on the teller-line.  She explained her use of the TMS processing hours report by stating, “Before having The Teller Management SystemTM, we did not have a resource to track detailed productivity information.  It was difficult to quantify the productivity of our branches and individual tellers.  Having the actual numbers in front of me allowed me to ask individuals specific questions about their numbers.  This process ultimately led to greater accountability and we have seen an overall decline in our non-teller transaction processing activities as a direct result, which is now at 12.8% from an initial 30% when we first started using TMS.”


Tips & Best Practices from the Sales and Service Director at UNCLE Credit Union

  • Use your TMS reports to determine when you should start your afternoon breaks.  For example, one of our branches changed their break from 3:00 to 2:00 on Fridays – to help avoid being understaffed during one of the busiest rush periods of their day.
  • Always reference the TMS reports when an employee requests time off.  With the reports you should be able to answer the question – based on historic transaction volumes during the requested time off, does this request work for the business? 
  • I have had success with regular one-on-one webinar meetings with our branch managers.  We review the particular branch TMS reports on the webinar and it allows me to be more efficient by not having to travel.   

Instead of carrying out business as usual, UNCLE Credit Union has successfully implemented innovative and effective initiatives.  In the last few years, this forward thinking credit union has not only established a newborn to work policy allowing the credit union to retain their best employees, but they have also significantly improved their overall teller-line operation efficiency with FMSI’s Teller Management SystemTM.

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