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Incentive Pay Program Drives Staff Performance & Productivity

May 12, 2011

Executives at Notre Dame FCU (NDFCU) are very satisfied with results from FMSI’s Teller Management SystemTM (TMS), seeing a front-line productivity increase of 17%. While the CU’s tellers are proud of that improvement as well, they are particularly pleased about what has helped them reach that figure: the FMSI incentive pay program.

Along with the TMS workforce optimization application, the $440 million credit union has incorporated FMSI’s default incentive pay program that rewards tellers based on the number of transactions they process.

“The incentive program complements TMS,” said Tim Martin, VP Branch Administration. “I see the results in the numbers, and I see the results in the faces of our tellers. It motivates them to work harder and more efficiently, driving them to reach their numbers. We are asking our staff to do more, and they are always willing. But making the extra effort is much more palatable when you get something extra for it.”

Implemented six months after the workforce optimization software was deployed, the incentive program produced quick, noticeable results, helping lift transactions per hour from 16 — where the CU stood before TMS — to 18.7 today. “We saw further improvement immediately when we introduced the incentive program,” said Tim, adding the incentives have also made front-line staff — all skill levels — much more willing to work Saturdays. “They know those extra hours give them the opportunity to earn more money.”

No More Spreadsheets and Guessing

The incentive program combined with the workforce optimization tool has reduced labor costs per transaction by 11%, and excess labor costs are down 25%, for a monthly savings of $6,496. The increased productivity and savings have added up, allowing the South Bend, Indiana-based credit union to lower its overall operating expense ratio. Tim stated that the improvements are a direct result of being able to “dig into the data” of front-line activity to understand staffing needs and correctly deploy tellers to meet member demand.  “We had to get away from the spreadsheets that really did not tell us what we needed. Prior to TMS, we would look at manually assembled data from a spreadsheet — basically transaction reports — guess, and go from there.”

Solving an Understaffed Branch Issue

The TMS workforce optimization application has streamlined the scheduling processand helped NDFCU adjust retail branch staffing levels to be more in line with member traffic patterns.“This does not always mean the credit union has to cut back.” Tim pointed out. TMS has helped by revealing where the credit union is understaffed.  At one branch, NDFCU quickly learned that more employees were needed to keep member service high.  “Not having enough tellers can be more harmful than having too many,” Tim explained.

Gaining a clear understanding of member traffic patterns has helped NDFCU make better use of part-time employees, as well. “It takes a little time to really move that metric,” stated Tim, who said part-time utilization has improved 23%. “You have to be patient and as employees leave, you can make adjustments with part-timers.”

Best Practices from the VP of Branch Administration at NDFCU

  • Spend time looking at the data. The more you look at the activity reports, the more you learn about your staffing needs, which translates into better member service. The reports are very clear and consistent, which makes it even easier to spot needs as the months go on. I spend a fair amount of time reviewing the reports to fully understand what is happening in our branches.
  • We have two floating tellers, which has given us flexibility to react to the TMS data more effectively. We have 11 locations and many branches are close enough together that we don’t make a big impact on an employee’s commute when we send him or her to different offices. We can even shuttle floaters between branches on the same day.

The benefits of TMS are recognized throughout NDFCU, from management to the front line. TMS delivered what the credit union asked of it, and the incentive program pushed results higher. “Our main goal was to increase teller transactions per hour, and we have achieved that,” noted Tim. “Much of the success can be credited to the data, but the incentive program has played a key role — not only in the numbers but in the attitude of our employees.”

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