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Tap Into the Benefits of Part-Time Employees

March 22, 2012

By Gordon A. Williams IV, Executive Vice President of FMSI

When we visit our current FMSI clients and prospective clients, we are consistently asked about utilizing part-time tellers.  By better serving daily and weekly fluctuations in demand, most understand the key role part-time employees play in improving branch efficiencies.  However, the actual execution of such a program can be difficult for them—especially in finding, hiring, and retaining part-time employees.

Many organizations have shared with us that they have tried the part-time employee route in the past and they have yielded less than desirable results.  Some of the issues they encountered have included high turnover rates and employees that were not as devoted to the organization.  While it is not difficult to see why many financial institutions (FIs) have “thrown in the towel” for recruiting a more flexible workforce, it does bring up an important question.  How are other FIs having such great success with their part-time teller programs?

Top 10 FMSI “Part-Time to Full-Time Percentage” Clients

Institution names have been changed for privacy reasons.

Suggestion 1:  Pay More per hour for Part-Time Employees!
At most organizations, a part-time teller usually earns the same hourly rate as their full-time counterpart.  However, the benefits that a part-time teller receives are usually much less.  Typically, organizations have not offered health insurance and other benefits that full-time employees receive to their part-time staff.  What’s the reason for this?  Well, honestly, benefits for part-time employees haven’t been a necessity.  The employee might have a spouse that receives benefits, might be partially retired, might be a stay at home parent looking for a modest supplemental income, or could be a college student on her parent’s health insurance.   With all these differing scenarios, offering benefits might not be a win for a part-time employee.

What can be offered to part-time employees that are perceived as an added benefit? Could you offer a package that pays them 20% more per hour for the right availability?

Employee Hours Needed Hours Worked Hourly Wage Cost to Employer
Part-Time Teller 20 20 $12 ($10*1.2) $276*
Full-Time Teller 20 40 $15.50 $620*

*Cost to Employer reflected above is a weekly cost.

In the above scenario, an employer is able to still save $344 per week, even when they are paying a part-time teller a higher amount per hour—for covering peak transaction periods—compared to a traditional full-time teller approach.  Over the course of a year, this organization can save over $17,000 while reducing part-time teller turnover with a more aggressive part-time employee hourly wage.

Suggestion 2:  Retention Bonuses!
One question that is often asked is why part-time employees have higher turnover rates than full-time employees.  One of the reasons behind this is the ability to earn an additional dollar per hour amount in a similar position at a different financial institution.  An additional dollar per hour might not seem like a lot of money, but for the part-time employee, it is a sign that they are progressing in their career by earning a higher hourly wage.  Many organizations have successfully changed this behavior by offering retention bonuses to their employees on an annual basis.  When you reflect on the amount of resources you invest in recruiting and training new employees, could it make sense to offer an annual or biannual retention bonus of $1,000 instead of investing heavily in resources to replace them?

Suggestion 3:  Career Growth!
If the part-time positions you have filled within your branches have merely been a training ground for full-time positions within your organization, perhaps it is time to embrace that scenario.  Many of the part-time teller positions that you might need filled in your branches would be a great fit for a college student.  Is it possible for your organization to develop a program with a local college or university where students can work part-time for the four years they are in attendance, and then progress into a full-time position pending graduation?  If you could build the right program, your part-time employees would be filling the required teller position for as many as four years before moving on into other areas after graduation.  Embrace the training ground that might exist, and put it to use at your organization.

The execution of a part-time employee program can be difficult for effectively finding, hiring, and retaining part-time employees.  However, many have reaped the benefits of being able to attract better talent with more competitive offerings, such as higher hourly wages, retention bonuses, and more structured part-time employee programs.  Can you make your part-time employee offering stand out, and in turn, tap into the benefits of improving branch efficiencies?

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