Small Vent/Rant

Our teller line recently lost a few employees. In order to cover the upcoming vacations of current employees, we increased the hours of a few part-time employees and hired another part-time person. The supervisor is not pitching in to cover any of these shortages on the line (but is quick to offer suggestions of pulling people from other departments). That makes sense, right?! Wait, it gets better... Yesterday the supervisor asked for 4 additional unpaid days of vacation this fall. WHAT?! You're telling me your department is woefully short and then you're going to further contribute to the problem?! Our management team has had it up to here with this department/supervisor anyway, but I will wager that the request is approved. Sigh...

Thanks for listening forumites!


  • 21 Comments sorted by Votes Date Added
  • We have that issue too. I tell each Branch Manager (and the VP) the same thing... If you want to complain that you don't get enough days off, you can't in the next breath ask to borrow an employee because a teller called out sick. Every one of our branches has 1-3 more employees than they need, just to make sure lunches, vacations, and call-outs don't cause disruptions. If someone is out, as far as I'm concerned, the coverage is built into the staffing plan.

    BTW... I've been with this organization for about 4 years, and I can firmly say banking managers are (on average) pretty spoiled. Not many of them here would last a month in retail.
  • This employee has 18 vacation days and 3 personal days. Don't come crying to me because you don't have "enough" time to spend at your house in Florida. I've just about hit my breaking point with the department also because they just don't think outside the box on how they do things or how to schedule.

    "We're short today, I don't know where we're going to get people to cover. Donna doesn't come in until noon and Sarah's not in until 1."

    "Uh, did you call Donna and Sarah and ask if they can come in early? I guess Supervisor Janet is going to have to be in a window all day today."

    Come on! Think a little, just a little! What can you do to get through?
  • Not as much of a problem here as it was a few years back. We make sure our Teller Supervisors understand that one of their primary jobs is to ensure they have adequate, but not excessive, coverage in all facilities and if they are short handed they will be working in a Teller window themselves.
  • Most of our branch managers & supervisors are good about stepping up and making sure everything is covered, although we have had some in the past who didn't seem too concerned about whether or not the branch was properly staffed.

    One manager in particular called me up to tell me that there were a couple of employees terminating at the same time, and to complain loud and long about how short-handed they were. The supervisor under her was brand-new to the job and they were already running short-handed and she was in something of a panic about what they were going to do. However, when I called back the next week to talk to her, I was told that she had gone ahead and gone on her vacation, leaving the brand-new supervisor not only to try and figure out how to staff and run the branch while working a teller window herself, but also to somehow fit in the screening and interviewing of applicants!
  • It seems that this supervisor feels somehow "above" being a teller or scheduling herself as part of the line staff. Somehow I have become their go-to person to figure out how to fix the problem even though she's been told repeatedly to think outside the box and to come to management with solutions, not just problems.

    The solution must be to take extra vacation! Man, I'm dumb; that was the solution all along!! :)

    From the outside looking in it appears that the department is overstaffed for at least half the day. This tells me (and management) that they are not staffing appropriately, but nothing seems to change because "it's been like this for 20 years!" You do not need to fill every window on the line from 8 AM-4 PM every day in the fall and winter. I strongly believe they can run with 3 quite well. They just buck that to no end and say it isn't possible. No reason, just that it can't be done. Then stop coming to me for solutions! They can't see the forest for the trees.
  • I just love the "but it's been like this for 20 years!" argument. I get a lot of that sort of thing.

    We give all our branches a maximum number of employees that they are allowed to have. We allow them to determine their own minimum number that they can function with, but I am amazed at how many of them want to keep the maximum number on staff even during the less-busy times of the year. If you have a teller leave in November, odds are you aren't going to have to replace that position until at least May, when it begins to get busier. But the argument always is "well, I'm allowed to have six tellers on the line, so I need to hire somebody ASAP." And then you go to the branch and see that there are three tellers sitting there half the day just twiddling their thumbs.
  • But wait! There's more!

    If you don't fill a position immediately (especially in this climate) then it means the company is in trouble and about to go down the tubes.

    If you don't work your employees the maximum hours it means they will not be able to put food on the table AND pay for the extras on the new car.

    PLUS someone had to be stressed out by having a customer actually have to WAIT for them while they handled another problem, instead of the employee spending half the day waiting for a customer to need them.

    Ok. I feel better now.
  • Oh Nae, how I appreciate your sarcasm!!
  • When I first started here we had an AVP (in title only - not ability) that had been here since dirt first showed up and she supervised the lobby- Secretaries and Tellers. Her philosophy was, "You don't have to be busy - you just have to be available." From my retail background, this was wrong in so many ways. She made sure we always had a Teller at every Teller station, didn’t matter if they were needed or not. Here it is 14 years later and we have removed nearly half of the Teller windows. We now have additional branches and drive-in's but fact of the matter is – more and more people are using direct deposit, online banking, etc and there just aren’t as many customers coming into the lobby as there were a few years back.
  • Deposit growth is good, loan growth is good, but we have about 40% fewer teller transactions than we had five years ago. I told our AVP Member Services the next new hire we get for this branch (located in the admin center) needs to be capable of running our live chat-based online help (which we don't have yet). That's the name of the game now - don't hire people who can be trained to do the job you have available now... hire people who can be trained to do the job you're going to create.
  • Exactly. Yesterday I spent 3 hours talking to one of our newest tellers (who has over 11 years of banking experience, including being teller supervisor and handling BSA). She was bluntly honest, which I asked her to be. She picked up on and pointed out EVERY SINGLE ISSUE we know about and won't deal with. She also wanted to know why they weren't dealt with and said that nothing will change until the supervisor is a leader. I'm so tired of all the talk and no action I'm about ready to walk over there and tell them exactly what's wrong with their department (though it's not my "place" to do so). I don't care who quits and I don't care how long they've been here. Here's the job, here's the rules, and if you don't want to work based on those things, there's the door. Done.

    Maybe I should just wait until the supervisor is off on her extra 4 days of vacation...

    I'd love to give the supervisor's job to this new person. She'd straighten everything out in less than a month.
  • Wow, you've got a new teller with that much experience and who also knows BSA? That's more than most of our branch supervisors have...I hope you can hang onto her and promote her to something more in keeping with her experience and skill set!
  • Maybe this is too "out of the box" but have you considered "self-banking" lines like the self-checkout lines in grocery stores nowadays?
  • The newer ATM's will just about do that... "self-banking lines."
    I work at a bank and I don't know why I would ever come inside for banking purposes if I wasn't already here. An occassional trip to the safety deposit box would be about it. Payroll is direct deposit and I can get all the cash I need at multiple ATM's all over the place. Lately we are extremely busy with re-fi's for home loans. If you have not yet looked into refinancing your home loan it may be worth checking into.
  • I can't remember the last time I was in a bank. Like you said, direct depost and ATM's there is no reason to go inside. Even our business banking is done by drive-thru or night deposit and online.
  • I failed to mention that we added a mobile/courier Teller a couple of years back. A driver and a co-driver, bank employees, will come to your place of business and pick up your deposits, etc, via locked money bag and take them to the bank for you. The business does not have to go to the bank every day to make their deposits and such daily banking activities. This has been a very popular option with our business customers.
  • Some of our commercial customers use a courier service. Others have started processing their deposits and then sending us the file. Others "drop" their deposits in locked bags for us to process without them having to wait.
  • I have probably missed something here, but why are you granting her request?
  • I don't have the authority to grant or deny, but did put my opinion into the people who do.
  • Well...I would've lost the bet. The unpaid extra time was DENIED!!! I want to thank you all for listening and offering advice and opinions. I was close to saying, "Off with their heads!" :)
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