BY KEVIN STEEL
The challenge of staffing branches with a cost-effective approach still remains, especially when stacked up against the pressures of member expectations for prompt service. These days, credit unions are viewing branches as sales centers as opposed to transaction hubs which as a result may have an impact on staffing levels. The issue begs the question: Should credit unions continue to schedule employees to meet current demand, or instead aim to expand personnel to meet ambitious sales goals?
Personnel expansion to meet sales goals, also known as market-based staffing, or as I like to call it “The Field of Dreams Strategy”- since it seems to be based on the idea that if you build a branch, members will flock to it. However, that is a rare case, and despite how successful the execution of new branch may be, the lobby traffic accumulates over time. And for existing branches, setting high sales goals and then staffing to meet them does not necessarily translate to success. Front line staff can only sell to account holders who walk through the door.
The demographics of a particular are aligned with the specific goals for developing it usually makes the scheduling and deployment of staff an a spirational task with market-based staffing .A standard goal for a branch could be to produce 50 mortgages and 500 new accounts, so the need for a staff on board that can handle all the members required to make those sales goals a reality is crucial. But without materializing those members in a short time frame, what you have instead is idle staff and unproductive operating expenses.
Given these challenges, a more efficient, simplified approach leverages technology advances to track branch transaction patterns so managers can schedule employees for the current volume of interactions, with the flexibility to staff up quickly as demand picks up. Think of it as “just-in-time staffing”—assigning the right financial professionals in the right branches at the right time. Several strategies, data sources, and automated tools support optimal staffing across the branch network, including: