Far and away the most profitable asset for a bank is its people. It stands to reason that optimizing your most important asset is critical to increasing efficiency and becoming a top performing bank. As part-time or “gig worker” becomes more popular, bank staff management becomes more complicated and bank training requirement increase, bank human capital management is more critical to success than ever before. Add to the equation changing areas of responsibilities such as universal bankers, a larger number of workers working at remote offices, the pressure to reduce costs, and the greater emphasis on customer service, and you have all the elements in place to need an application that can make your bank better at managing human resources. Having a workforce management application allows banks to best match resources with objectives. In this article, we look at the how, why and options for banks.
The more employees a bank has and the more dynamic scheduling requirements that are needed, the more a bank needs a workforce management system. Call centers, retail loan production offices, and branches all can benefit from the predictive forecasting that many of these workforce management systems specialize in. Consider a branch network that can have 80% swings in day-to-day traffic (very common) combined with a 15+ person workforce, many part-time, to fill those branch positions all with various requirements, and you get the perfect workforce optimization problem. By using dynamic forecasting, banks can not only save between 10% and 20% in labor costs compared to manual scheduling but can reduce the customer’s time in the branch by a similar amount.
The rise of the universal banker has further supported the need for not only dynamic scheduling but task management. Workforce management applications can now also schedule non-transactional tasks, special projects and sales calls during lighter branch traffic hours. As branch traffic decreases and line bankers take on more tasks, functionality to handle task assignments become increasingly important.
A workforce management system allows banks to leverage their data in new ways to predict not only staffing needs but potential problems caused by absenteeism around holidays, requested vacation time, and sick days. Being able to look a year into the future and not only know what times are at risk for being understaffed but also what employees are at risk for not being available can bring all sorts of problems to light before they occur. Knowing you are going to have these problems allows managers to move schedules, talk with employees and bring on new hires in time for these at-risk periods.
Overall, just on payroll costs, banks usually saved between six and ten percent of their total payroll expense. These savings were usually achieved within three quarters, thereby more than paying for the cost and effort (below).
Integration To Finance and Planning
Many human resource systems fail to help with workforce optimization, and those that do are siloed to the human resources department. The future of banking is a more integrated approach which is why workforce management can help benefit not only front-line managers, employees and the HR department but also compliance, risk, and finance.
For example, a good workforce management application will not only be able to help with creating forecasts but will integrate with the general ledger and budget system to make this process more efficient.
While every bank is different, most banks are very similar as to their requirements and needs. Below, are our basic requirements when choosing a bank workforce management system:
Goals: Labor optimization + Compliance + Cost savings in management + Employee ease of use
Required Functionality: Financial service oriented, Online + Mobile Access, hourly/salary/contract labor compatible, and must be able to handle dynamic scheduling
Functions: Time/Attendance Tracking, Scheduling, Task Management, Fraud Detection and Analytics
Other: Must be cloud based with no need for social or wearable integration
In addition, we have arrived at the following requirements from the line perspective:
Vendors To Consider:
We have reviewed close to 60 companies and have come down to a shortlist of who we like that might be worth your bank’s consideration.
ActiveOps: This Company specializes in banks and is good for institutions that have between 100 and 10,000 workers. We like the mobile app, data reporting/visualization, forecasting, task management and budget planning functionality compared to others. The platform is a little weak on the customization of workforce rules, branch scheduling, absence forecasting, detection and third-party integrations.
ADP: ADP is the most common vendor for banks and the benchmark for US industry. The main advantage of having different modules that banks can customize a platform to fit their size and needs. Most community banks use their mid-tier application, EzLaborManager, that works well for up to 1,000 employees but is most utilized by banks with between 50 and 500. The platform is weak in allowing employees to trade shifts, branch scheduling according to demand, budgeting, and forecasting. Great mobile capabilities, APIs for data integration and one of the best application for compliance as they include both the Fair Labor Standards Act management and the Affordable Care Act functionality that includes alerts and notifications. Small banks, with under 50 employees, can use their “Run” application, while large and national banks use their Enterprise eTime platform.
Ceridian: Ceridian is a good, general workforce application mainly for larger banks with greater than 3,000 employees due to its price and capabilities. Ceridian has good integrations and strength in task management around defined projects.
Genesys: What Ceridian is for the large bank, Genesys is for the smaller bank with around 400 employees. Genesys modules are good in a number of areas with some weakness in customizations, time/attendance tracking for employees that don’t have access to a computer and fraud detection. Banks with call centers should consider Genesys due to their demand-driven scheduling functionality.
Kronos: While not that popular among banks, more banks should consider. Tools such as their Lobby Tracker and Appointment Concierge can help in workforce management, and their banking practice continues to grow. Good for banks with employees between 500 and 10,000 employees, Kronos understands the shifting employee workforce of banks and is solid with the basics plus scheduling, mobile and the customization of rules. Their Workforce Ready platform still needs some work on budgeting, analytics, fraud detection and forecasting.
Putting This Into Action
Starting simply with attendance management, shift scheduling, absence tracking and tasking is a good start before implementing analytics, optimization, demand forecasting and other components. In addition to a phase in the process, getting staff support, of course, is the key to success. Before choosing a system, be sure that a wide variety of staff gets to take the application for a test drive and attempt to use it on a day to day basis.
If you have an existing payroll vendor or system, check with them to see if they have a workforce management module or application. If not, and non-salaried staff makes up a large part of your workforce, and you have dynamically changing shifts, workforce automation can make a material difference. Given labor costs, the importance of human capital productivity, banks need to go from just tracking human resource metrics to optimizing our most important asset.
Submitted by Chris Nichols on November 20, 2017