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Tune Up Teller Performance in 5 Easy Steps
Wednesday, December 10, 2014 6:40 AM

Engaged, high-performing tellers are the dream of every credit union. Yet there’s always a wide range of performance from high to low. If tellers perform essentially the same job, why does their performance vary so much? When tellers are measured against the same metrics, why do some tellers excel while others lag behind?

Obviously, the answer is that each teller is a different person—and each person brings his or her unique experiences and expectations to the job. If we recognize and accept these differences and focus teller onboarding and development around them, we will achieve performance gains faster and more successfully.

To raise the bar and optimize results, I recommend a personalized performance “tune-up” for each teller. Without a doubt, what drives top performance is a tune-up based on what is relevant to the specific needs of each individual. A NASCAR race team would never consider performing the exact tune-up for every car. Instead, the right adjustments and corrections are unique to each vehicle. Some cars need more, some less—and some don’t need a tune-up at all. It’s the same for tellers. To be effective, teller tune-ups must be relevant to each person’s specific performance levels and needs.

To help your team reach peak performance, tune up your tellers with these five easy steps!

  1. Dust off the job description.
     We all have job descriptions, right? Unfortunately, job descriptions usually sit on a shelf or in a file, never to surface again from a new employee packet. The job description sets the foundation for performance. It establishes common expectations for every teller. While the job description cannot guarantee performance outcomes, it is the best starting point for tuning up your team. So, don’t let the job description sit on the shelf. Dust it off, and start putting it to good use!
  2. Calibrate expectations.
    For an effective tune-up, make sure tellers are all on the same page when it comes to performance expectations. The job description is a great place to start, but it may mean different things to different people—and that means their performance will be different. A key element of an effective team is how they communicate and how they understand what is communicated. Tellers need a common and consistent way to discuss and evaluate performance. When discussing performance with your team, does each teller understand what is expected? Ask questions and check to ensure that every teller understands performance and job expectations in the same way.
  3. Diagnose current performance.
    While there is no substitute for day-to-day coaching and performance management, there is a need for diagnostic tools to benchmark current performance and competency levels. In other words, before starting the actual tune-up, we need to know what to tune up.
    So, what is the best way to diagnose and benchmark your tellers? There are a lot of available options including peer surveys, self-report, customer ratings, performance metrics, skill assessments, etc. My recommendation is to use tools that are calibrated to the specific competencies identified in the job description. Even more critical is to choose tools that provide an objective and independent measures of performance. Why is this important? Because subjective measures (such as surveys) are dependent on the perspective of the rater, so that personal biases and personalities influence the ratings. Objective performance measures (i.e., performance metrics and skill assessments) are more consistent, accurate, and reliable. The more precisely you diagnose tellers’ performance, the more effective their tune-up will be.
  4. Create a plan of action.
    With an accurate diagnosis of each teller’s strengths and improvement opportunities, you are now ready to create a tune-up plan for your team. The goal is to create a plan of action for each teller—not generalized across the team—but specific and relevant for each person. The key is to make it practical. You can include on-the-job activities, online learning, company training, etc. Whatever you choose, be sure the activities, priorities, timing, and expectations all tie directly to the objective diagnostic evaluation.
  5. Implement the plan.
    Equipped with a personalized plan for every teller, the tune-up can begin. Each teller has his/her own plan. Not only do they have a clear understanding of expectations, but more importantly, they now buy into the plan because it is designed specifically for them. The plan becomes a great discussion document between tellers and supervisors. This goes a long way toward removing wasted training and development time and expense. Tellers are getting exactly what they need and, as a result, they are more receptive to learning. What better way to achieve teller engagement and peak performance than to give each teller a personalized plan for success!

By now you may be thinking, “This sounds great, but who has the time to put it into practice?” Or, “Seriously, is it even practical to customize tune-ups for each teller?”

Absolutely. The good news is that the costs associated with personalized tune-ups is very low, while the return value—in teller engagement and improved performance—is very high.

Here’s to getting your teller line running on all cylinders. To learn more about tuning up teller performance, contact Kimberly Jones at Credit Union Resources HR Consulting, 800-442-5762, Ext. 6432

This article was written by Joseph T. Sefcik, Jr., founder and president of Employment Technologies Corporation, who pioneered and introduced the use of simulation for employment testing. For more than 30 years, he and his company have developed and implemented thousands of simulations. A focus of his recent work with credit unions has been in linking job competencies to performance planning. His company’s exclusive Career Prescription software links to EASy Simulation skills assessments to create automated, personalized development plans.

About Employment Technologies

Employment Technologies Corporation (ETC) is the world leader in simulation software for employment testing and talent management. ETC’s award-winning EASy Simulations® are proven to increase hiring accuracy, reduce hiring time and costs, accelerate employee development, and reduce turnover. ETC offers complete HR solutions for key credit union jobs, including tellers, collection agents, customer service representatives, team leaders, teller supervisors, and more.

Discover how EASy Simulations and Career Prescription can boost teller performance and transform your credit union.