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The Right Branch Staffing Model to be Successful in the Branch

February 13, 2015

By Kim Edwards, Senior Vice President of Client Relations at FMSI

So many things in life start with a goal for success and end with reaping the rewards of that success! What better example than the Super Bowl for establishing a plan of action, setting goals and putting steps in place to achieve those goals. The incentive at the end is a chance to win the title and the coveted Super Bowl ring and the glory and recognition that comes with contributing to the team effort that got you there in the first place!  In business it is no different!

“Teamwork is the ability to work together toward a common vision and the
ability to direct individual accomplishment toward organizational objectives.
It is the fuel that allows common people to attain uncommon results.”
Andrew Carnegie, American Industrialist and philanthropist

Front-line employees hold one of the most “visible” roles and highest touch points with account holders in the organization.  Many would agree that they are the face of the financial institution (FI).  In most FI’s the only things measured on the front-line are outages, attendance and posting errors. Are you treating this position as one of the most important positions in the FI?   If not, this area can be frustrating for many reasons, including:

  • Having a lack of enthusiasm for the position
  • Incurring a more than acceptable amount of errors
  • Losing your best employees after only six months
  • Unacceptable cross-sell results, despite a dedicated training effort

How do you take ownership of this situation and make the changes necessary to enhance the staff performance, and motivate them to successful behaviors?  Employing incentives to drive desirable behavior has been an ongoing topic of discussion for many years.  Setting goals and incenting success at achieving those goals will foster an environment of performance expectations, and make your staff feel important.

Setting goals for your front-line employees is vital if you want to accurately measure individual performance and team contributions as well.  Measured goals may range from accuracy goals to sales and service goals.  Some of the most effectively managed goals are around productivity or transactions per hour.  Utilizing a metric to measure transactions per hour can provide a better understanding of performance.   The goals should make sense and be obtainable without being too big or too easy to reach, which can both have a negative effect on the work staff.

Having the right business intelligence in the branch environment is critical to achieve optimal sales, service and productivity performance.  With FMSI’s Omnix Performance Analytics™ you can benchmark the productivity numbers for top-performing front-line employees, and then implement a custom Incentive Pay Plan that rewards those top performers on the productivity numbers, as well as any additional metrics your organization deems critical in the employee performance expectations.

Having the right blend of metrics is the key.  Ultimately, it is critical that front-line employees concentrate on delivering an exceptional service experience, accuracy in transaction processing, account holder needs assessment and are operating at the highest level of productivity.

When performance is recognized and rewarded, staff members will be motivated to excel resulting in improvements in productivity and service levels.  What gets measured (and rewarded), gets done as the saying goes!

Here are five best practices to improve productivity through setting meaningful goals and implementing a successful incentive program.

  1. Establish an ongoing workforce optimization culture and develop the reports and enhanced scheduling to support it.  Consider outsourcing this initiative to an industry expert, such as FMSI, to provide actionable business intelligence to promote staffing efficiencies, cost savings through better scheduling, and higher productivity results.
  2. Run the workforce optimization initiative for six months to a year to solidly establish the culture and program.  Allow enough time to pass where front-line employees and branch schedulers are intimately comfortable with properly aligning the right number of part-time and full-time staff during the right time to achieve the productivity goals set for each branch location.
  3. Decide the details around the incentive program.  Will you use a team and individual combined approach, or will you separate them?  Teamwork is extremely valuable in the branch environment.  Also, establish the payout details and make sure they include managers and supervisors in these stages to get their buy-in and reward them for holding staff accountable for their own success.
  4. Have a rollout meeting and clearly communicate the details of the program to your branch managers who can then disseminate this information to their team. Focus on coaching for results!   Some of the detailed FMSI Omnix Performance Analytics™ management reports will identify critical coaching opportunities.
  5. Have ongoing reviews to ensure the program is producing desired results. Make adjustments and revise as appropriate.

When given the right tools, held accountable for excellence and rewarded for that performance you can cultivate a high performing front-line in the branch. Having the right business intelligence is a critical tool towards achieving the outcomes for success. Go for the goal and reward the success for the team!

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