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Management Strategies

09:49 AM
W. Michael Scott, FMSI
W. Michael Scott, FMSI

Retaining Part-Time Tellers: Five Tips for Keeping them Happy and Motivated

The ability to retain good part-timers can be difficult; here are some suggestions to increase their retention.

Bank management— and for that matter, the Human Resources department— is familiar with the benefits of optimally scheduling a mix of part-time and full-time tellers. They generally know this branch staffing approach can improve both customer service and workforce optimization. Unfortunately, the ability to retain good part-timers can be very difficult, a challenge many banks have improperly addressed, and therefore are not getting what they can out of such programs. This article will review why you should expend the extra effort to keep part-timers happy, and provide several suggestions on how to increase their retention.

The Role of Part-Time Staff

When assigned properly, part-time employees tend to work during peak transaction periods, which help keep their utilization percentage close to 100 percent. Workforce Utilization, or the percentage achieved by dividing the total number of teller processing hours by their payroll hours, is a metric easily tracked in staffing performance dashboards.

The top performing institutions from FMSI’s own data, collected from hundreds of banks around the country, consistently have higher part-time teller utilization percentages— clearly indicating the importance of effectively using part-timers in a successful branch staffing strategy. These same institutions have part-time staff hours making up 39%, on average, of their total teller hours worked.

What a Part-Time Teller Really Costs

The average cost to replace a well-trained, part-time teller (per FMSI data), in terms of separation, replacement and training costs, plus the performance differential between a green employee and a seasoned one, is more than $2,000. (If you'd like to tally your actual cost of employee attrition, you'll find calculators online. One we like is available at When you consider your part-time teller turnover, how many employees have you seen leave your organization over the last 12 months? Beyond the separation, replacement and training costs, are there other negative outcomes from your turnover? If your part-time-teller pool has a revolving door, the financial drain can add up quickly.

Hang onto that Valuable Resource

Many part-time tellers are short-term job seekers, either because they are looking for a permanent, full-time position or because they are students or other transitional workers who plan to move on to other things. However, there are still plenty of part-time workers who may stay with your institution for a considerable amount of time.

This is all the more reason to make an extra effort to retain quality part-timers, like working mothers or seniors, who may stay with the bank for 10 years or more. Another job with a better part-time benefits package may lure them away. So, what can you do?

The key to keeping good part-time staff (and to finding quality workers in the first place) is fulfilling their needs. The desires of workers vary from one part-timer to the next, and it's up to the bank to offer enough options to keep everyone content. Here are a few suggestions:

"Promote" Their Importance

Give part-time tellers access to the training and development materials (including classes, if you use them) that full-time tellers go through. This not only promotes service consistency, but it also sends part-timers the message that they are worth developing into a valued resource.

Incentives Work

Reward top-performing part-time tellers with retention and performance incentives. You'll still pay less than you do for a full-time employee with full benefits, but you will also keep the part-time worker more satisfied—and productive. Health Benefits

Some part-time workers would rather have access to health benefits than bonus pay. The more options you can provide to part-time workers, the more successful you will be.

Hire Smart and Honest

During hiring, treat part-time applicants as you would full-time candidates. Test them sufficiently and let them interact with other employees to ensure they are a good fit for the bank. If they might have a future with you, let them know it. Furthermore, be honest with yourself and the worker about your needs. It does you no good to hire a talented, skilled teller for a schedule that is unrealistic for them—or you—to maintain.

Putting the Pieces Together

While there are challenges associated with a part-time staffing strategy, FMSI’s real-world data definitively supports the extra effort that goes along with an enhanced and properly managed part-time teller staffing strategy. To see some of this data and learn even more strategies for hiring and retaining part-time tellers, download the FMSI white paper, Deep Diving the Part-Time Teller Approach, which is a free download at

W. Michael Scott is president and CEO of FMSI

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