Case 25
Problems Behind the Counter
Background Information
Bob Cramer, 36 and recently divorced, manages the Oak Street Branch for the
Second National Bank and Trust. The Oak Street Branch has six tellers and does an
average amount of business. Bob has been with Second National since he graduated
from college and joined the management training program there. Bob is well liked
and generally enjoys his job, although now, at the height of summer, he is carrying
out the difficult job of preparing a disciplinary warning for one of his staff members.
Eight months ago, in January, Bob hired a new teller by the name of Connie
Tremont. Connie was 23 years old and a graduate of a local high school. Connie
had experience working as a claims clerk with an insurance company prior to com-
ing to Second National. Bob spent about 15 minutes interviewing her, and although
he had a few reservations about her appearance and communication manner, he
desperately needed someone who could start soon, and she was available immedi-
ately. Bob decided to take a chance.
She started in Second Bank’s three-week teller training school the next Monday
and finished it successfully. On her first day at the Oak Street Branch, Bob gave her
his standard five-minute welcome, then turned her over to the head teller. The head
teller introduced her to the other tellers, helped her get set up, told her to ask if she
had any questions, and then went back to her job. Connie began serving customers
soon thereafter.
Like all new tellers, it took her a long time to get adjusted and settled in. During
these break-in periods, Bob would wonder whether the teller training was really
needed because it always seemed to him that the tellers forgot everything once they
walked in the door. Nonetheless, he noticed that in spite of these difficulties,
Connie picked up the essentials of her work and began performing at an acceptable
level relatively quickly.
Unfortunately, Bob was also finding that the initial concerns he had about Connie
during the interview process had been well founded. While she could complete the
technical aspects of her work acceptably, she had a major problem with presenting
herself to, and working favorably with, the bank’s customers. Bob wondered almost
daily when she would recognize this problem and do something about it, but she
seemed oblivious to the matter and simply would not change. After six months, Bob
knew that if she did not come around quickly, he would have no other choice but to
release her. Although he dreaded the thought of being short-staffed again, he
thought to himself, “I’ve been short-staffed so many times before that I should be
used to it.”
Connie’s major problem is really a result of several factors. One factor is her
physical appearance: she is pretty and slightly overweight, but pleasingly so, but
she is obviously inattentive to grooming and personal hygiene—and Bob does not
have any sympathy for poor, sloppy grooming. After seeing repeated examples of

Get 50 Case Studies for Management and Supervisory Training now with the O’Reilly learning platform.

O’Reilly members experience live online training, plus books, videos, and digital content from nearly 200 publishers.