Summer vacation season is upon us. And so are summer hires. While many are of high school or college age, most are untrained in handling cash. That’s despite the fact that they’re required to do so by many service jobs like restaurants, concession stands and seasonal retail.
Hiring owners and managers are well-advised to invest the time and effort in training their summer hires to handle cash properly, even if they’ve already been on the job a few weeks.
Training these employees provides three key benefits:
• Fewer mistakes that reduce customer satisfaction issues and makes reconciliations easier;
• More efficiency that shortens customer wait times and helps ensure customer satisfaction;
• Less theft because these employees will know consider proper cash handling important enough to provide for their training and, most importantly, that you’re watching.
What’s more, this training is applicable to all seasonal employees, including ones hired for the year-end holiday shopping season and the “snowbird” season that spans the winter months in warmer climates.
To help, I’ve provided some suggestions below about training employees in handling cash quickly and effectively.
• Before you start…
Instate a no-theft, no-cheating policy. Look the employee in the eye and flatly state, “We don’t tolerate theft here, whether it’s stealing cash or goods. If you’re caught, you’ll lose your job, the police will be called and criminal files will be charged.” Pause a long moment, to let that sink in. Then add, “We also don’t tolerate cheating customers. If you see another employee stealing or cheating customers, I expect you to tell me. In return, I promise to keep your identity confidential.” At that point, you should ask them if they understand. Even better, you should get them to sign and date a simple, printed statement because doing so is further acknowledgement on their part of your no-theft, no-cheating policy.
• At the register…
o Go slow. For someone who’s never used a cash register before, the keyboard can be virgin territory, so keep that in mind when showing a new employee how it works. Explain what the different keys do before walking them through their first transaction.
o Keep it simple. Start with simple transactions, then work toward more complex ones and exceptions like voids.
o Show them, repeat. Walk the new employee through the steps of a transaction slowly. Repeat the steps, again slowly. Ask them if they understand and got it. (Of course, they’ll say yes.)
o Show you, repeat. Next have them show you the proper key sequence for that transaction. Then have them repeat.
o Products, promotions. Employees need to know products, especially similar ones that may have slight price differences, and store promotions, if any, so they can process both without having to call for time-consuming “price checks” or looking up codes.
o Counterfeit bills. Seasonal resorts and businesses are perfect places for counterfeiters to pass bogus bills for the very reason they’d prefer owners and managers not to read this post: because seasonal employees are often not trained in proper cash handling nor are they trained to spot fake bills. Identifying counterfeit currency is beyond the scope of this post, but click here for much more information on the subject that you can share with your employees.
• With the customer…
Instead of handing a customer a fistful of cash and coin back in change, employees should tell the customer what the amount of their change is—even if the register displays it for them—and then count it aloud back to the customer. Also, keeping the cash note on the register’s sill and not putting it into the drawer until after making change is a good practice to avoid customer disputes over what denomination they gave you.
• At shift’s end…
Teaching new employees how to count cash may seem like common sense and unnecessary, but that’s why so little training occurs—along with errors. Owners and managers who are used to handling cash need to remember that new employees haven’t done so before, so some basic training is necessary:
o They should find a relatively quiet, secure place to count their cash and avoid distractions that can cause them to miscount.
o They should use a calculator. While some people are gifted with the ability to add columns of figures in their head, most are not; they need calculators to do their sums.
o They should count their cash by denominations, then stack their bills by denomination, the smallest on top, with increasingly larger denominations following. This makes it easier for anyone having to manually count the bills after them to do so. If their cash counts exceed 100 notes per denomination, they should have currency bands from the bank (with different colors for different denominations) in which to wrap each count of a 100 notes.
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Again, these training suggestions can be used for all seasonal employees, not just summer hires. In fact, you can make them part of a documented training program for all employees, seasonal or not. To improve over time, we suggest keeping track of the frequency and types of cash-handling errors, which will indicate where you need to strengthen the program with additional focus.
One way to help your employees be more efficient and avoid errors when handling cash is with GardaWorld's CashLINK. This closed-loop system controls cash from point-of-sale to bank deposit. Employees deposit bills into “smart safes,” which read the denomination deposited and tracks deposits by user. GardaWorld then collects the data each day and transmits it to the customers' headquarters for sales auditing and banking reconciliation. Our trained messengers then pick up the cash and take it to the bank for deposit. To learn more, visit our website.