Branch Banking Strategies for Market-Level Scheduling
I recently read an industry piece on the use of float pools and float pool managers within branch banking that raised a few concerns for me about how banks were managing this challenge in today’s thinly staffed branches. There seems to be gap between how banks approach market-level scheduling and the common best practices and advanced technology used in retail and other industries. I wanted to address some of the challenges banks face using float pools and float pool managers, as well as strategies to overcome them.
Workforce Management and Float Pools
In industries where advanced workforce management is more widely adopted, market-level scheduling is more likely to be managed without float pools, even for highly skilled employees like pharmacists. One reason for the implementation of a centralized pool of floating staff and regional float managers in banking seems to be as a work-around, due to the lack of the workforce management capabilities. I believe this approach has some challenges. These challenges—multi-step processes, back and forth communications between staff and float managers, human error, etc—can limit the efficiencies otherwise gained using modern workforce tools, resulting in less accurate forecasts, inflexible staffing processes, and ultimately greater employee dissatisfaction.
Many of our customers in highly regulated industries have leveraged our modern workforce management capabilities to eliminate these challenges with automation and real-time visibility. Some of the capabilities that make this possible include:
- Automated forecasting & scheduling technology that generates recommendations for how to fill a schedule shortage based on colleague availability and skills sets, facilitating a speedy resolution without guesswork
- Mobile, real-time notifications that identify possible resources and enable you to broadcast the opportunity to qualified employees instantly
- Native iOS or Android applications that allow employees to easily bid and accept additional shifts via their mobile device, as well as manage availability, preferences, and skills to allow for matching the right employee to the open shift in real-time
- An easy-to-use manager dashboard (“MyWork”) that allows these scheduling changes to be managed in real-time on a mobile device, while showing the manager all the critical information to make the decisions on-the go.
Considering Culture Barriers
I’ve found that many banks are still leveraging regional float pool managers and large float pools because of people, process or cultural factors internally; for example, some banks feel that using float pools helps maintain equitable, full-time schedules. However, float pools are not the only way to schedule at the market-level, while ensuring these cultural values. For example, leveraging improved technology to automatically assign the float resources, rather that float pool managers, can create FTE savings and eliminate any favoritism. Additionally, this approach empowers the front line in the process, rather than pulling in a middle-person. Similarly, choosing to increase part-time staff and offer more flexible work arrangements may not match your current bank culture, but it could open up your workforce to a qualified pool of individuals not interested in full-time work, like working parents or retirees looking for additional opportunities.
Modern workforce management technology supports both a central float pool approach or assigning staff at a market-level who are not part of a float team, so it’s worth considering the benefits and drawbacks to float pool scheduling.
- The perception of a home team (floater pool) including corresponding managers that help train and support this team aside from the local branch
- Ensuring pay and achievement satisfaction, including separate sales goals, achievement opportunities, perception of advancement, and a routine change
- The local branch team’s perception that floaters are parachuted in
- The lost ability for existing part-time staff not in the pool to pick up hours to fit their needs, ensuring they don’t look elsewhere for full-time roles and improving their retention
- The missed opportunity to gain staffing efficiencies and to attract expert non-traditional or working parent employees with more part-time options
- The inability to attract and retain younger workers by providing them with modern scheduling tools with the latest mobile technology or gig-economy style work schedule
If your bank is considering a new or upgraded workforce management technology, I want to ensure you consider all of the options without being constrained by the limitations of previous-generation technology. I’d also encourage you to have good understanding of the potential benefits and drawbacks of the central floater pool and regional scheduling manager approach, as well as the alternatives.
To see the technology in action and to understand the benefits of automating floating staff assignments, click here to schedule a demo and learn more about how Reflexis can help your bank.