Many banks use an across the board method of workforce reduction laying off a pre-determined percentage of employees across the organization based on arbitrary factors like shortest tenure. This kind of top-down strategy for workforce reduction is a risky endeavor and often leads to unintended results.
Although across the board reduction is an easy strategy to implement, the only time it might work is if every function, every location, every day and every hour is overstaffed by the same amount. This scenario is not realistic, so how do you know where to make the cuts without negatively impacting quality and service? Some functions or branches may be understaffed, while others may be grossly overstaffed. Specific days of the week and hours within a day will present different opportunities given the high variability of customer demand.
When cuts are made in the wrong place or wrong time, customer service and quality suffer. For branch banks and call centers, customers are faced with extremely long queues. For back office operations, bottlenecks are introduced into the workflow and processors often overlook key quality assurance measures in order to meet strict deadlines.
The best way to deploy a workforce reduction strategy is to apply the principles of workforce optimization and follow a proven capacity modeling methodology.
An optimized workforce consistently delivers the expected quality and customer service at the minimum cost. The key concept is to match resource capacity with customer demand. Too much resource capacity is waste. Too little resource capacity results in poor quality and customer service.
Capacity modeling allows managers to thoroughly understand the current process – customer demand, volume flow, and productivity. With this knowledge, they can easily identify when and where a mismatch of capacity to demand exists, and hence, the opportunity to optimize resource capacity whether that involves creative scheduling, reassignment of resources or staffing reductions.
A workforce reduction strategy that includes capacity modeling ensures that the right reductions are made in the right functions at the right time – without sacrificing quality or customer service.