At Fort Knox Federal Credit Union, we train tellers how to
correctly process deposits, withdrawals, loan payments, and many
other financial transactions. In addition, trainees are required to
focus on customer needs, not on meeting a quota, and our training
sessions stress this.
As I watched my son prepare for a college golf tournament, I noted
a number of similarities between golfing and teller training at
work. I had seen my son prepare for tournaments on numerous
occasions and had noticed his consistent routine, as well as his
attention to detail in preparing for a round of golf. His
dedication called to mind the continuing focus on the details that
make up superior member service in the credit union world.
And just as any good round of golf starts long before the golfer
approaches the first tee, training and preparation are just as
important in delivering superior member service. To help me draw
the comparisons more directly, I asked my son to share with me his
Golf game preparation
Step 1. The night before a round of golf, my son cleans the club
heads to ensure a debris-free surface. Golfers (or caddies) also
clean a club's head between shots before putting it back in the bag
so the club is ready for another use if and when needed.
Step 2. Next, my son scrubs down the grips to remove any oils that
may cause the club to slip during the swing.
Step 3. He also marks the golf balls with a permanent marker to
assist in identifying his golf ball from a competitor's, which
might be in close proximity or in a hazard.
Step 4. Then he cleans his shoes and replaces any cleats that may
Step 5. Lastly, he counts the number of clubs in the bag and places
the clubs in the bag in an orderly manner.
Step 1. A few days before a new employee's first day, we send a
letter that includes the time and place to arrive, which
identification records to bring, the recommended style of dress, a
training calendar, and a few other miscellaneous topics.
Step 2. Besides covering the basic new employee paperwork, we also
cover the history of our industry and our particular financial
institution. Over the past few years, Fort Knox Federal Credit
Union has continually been selected one of the best financial
institutions in our area and our financial soundness and strength
in our industry ranks very high. We explain what makes our products
and services better compared to our competition.
Step 3. To identify ourselves as individuals, members of a new
teller class share information on their personal work histories,
education, family, and hobbies. Occasionally, new hires' interests
or paths have followed in similar directions.
Step 4. Some new hires have worked as tellers before and some have
experience with the teller software that we use. Each new teller
receives a teller manual and all are encouraged to record their
notes in the manual as they learn about our software.
Step 5. To make the training as realistic as possible, the training
drawer has play money to be counted, verified, and placed in an
In golf, many times the golfer has a chance to play a practice
round to learn the course. During the practice round they determine
which club to use, where the bunkers are, the location of any water
hazards and out-of-bounds areas, and the layout of the green.
In teller training, the new employee can learn computer software in
a closed environment and can learn from mistakes in much less
stressful surroundings. The teller also learns about standard
operating procedures, including cash handling, check cashing,
proper identification verification, check holds, and counterfeit
and fraud scams, among others. After two to three days of practice,
tellers should be ready for live training.
The tee time has arrived and the golfer is ready to take the first
swing. He expects the ball to land in the fairway with a great look
at the green.
When the time arrives for the new employee to work on the teller
line, each one starts by observing a seasoned teller for a few
hours or a full day, followed by actually working the teller window
while being observed by a seasoned teller. Within four to five days
the new teller is ready to work independently.
At the end of every hole, each golfer records the number of strokes
it took to get the ball in the cup. At the end of an 18-hole round,
the golfer totals the number of strokes for all members of the
group and compares that number with the numbers counted by the
other golfers. If everyone's scores are the same then great; if
they are different, the group reviews each score hole by hole to
resolve the discrepancy. The scorecards are collected by the
tournament coordinator and recorded to determine the winners.
At the end of a teller's workday, the cash drawer, checks, and
other transactions are balanced and compared to the computer
totals. If all equal, great! If they don't, the cash drawer is
recounted, checks are totaled again, and transactions are reviewed
for accuracy. Another teller may also count the cash drawer and
review checks and transactions. Paperwork is then prepared for the
head teller to balance the branch's daily business.
There are certainly similarities between playing golf and
delivering accurate teller services. But beyond the technical
aspects of each endeavor is the passion one has for being involved,
and that is something one must find in oneself.