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Building a Susta Workforce in th Transportation In A Systems App Introductio An Overview of th Guidebook Modu inable e Public dustryâ roach n. e les
I-1 The purpose of TCRP Project F-16A was to integrate and build on the best available public transportation and peer-industry workforce research. Specifically, the goal of this project was to offer a compelling analysis of effective tools for public transportation leaders to use to imple- ment state-of-the-art workforce practices that produce better business results while also sup- porting more effective, integrated organizations that are rewarding places to work. To achieve the stated goal, practical guidance was created to provide direction for public trans- portation systems in building a sustainable workforce. For the public transportation industry to proceed in this effort, public transportation organizations must invest in four key areas: (1) effective workforce strategies that enhance organizational processes; (2) research-supported, public-transportationârelevant performance metrics to evaluate the impact of workforce strate- gies; (3) image management techniques that improve perceptions of the public transportation industry; and (4) benchmarking processes that allow for continuous organizational improve- ment. The guidance for investing in these four areas is organized in a series of four modules, as indicated Figure I-1. What follows in this introduction is a more comprehensive discussion on the topic of building a sustainable workforce in public transportation that presents further guidance on accessing and using the four modules. I.1 Building a Sustainable Workforce in Public Transportation The concept of sustainability is commonly associated with environmental or ecological move- ments, and the public transportation industry has certainly played an important role in efforts to reduce the environmental impact of automobile use. But in a broader sense, sustainability is much more than an environmental undertaking. Sustainability incorporates concepts public transportation industry leaders are generally familiar with: endurance, renewal, maintenance, diversity, planning, and efficient use of resources. Sustainability elements such as maintenance and planning have obvious applications to the state of good repair of transit equipment and the operational design for delivery of public transportation services, but no less important are their applications to the public transportation workforce. Like a poorly maintained bus, a neglected workforce will lose its ability to function effectively over time, and even possibly fail to carry out its basic public transportation mission. This analogy does not overstate the stakesâpublic transportation supported over 10 billion passenger trips in 2011 (American Public Transportation Association, 2012). The industry can- not afford to run short of employees with the technical skills and other competencies needed to I n t r o d u c t I o n An Overview of the Guidebook Modules
I-2 Building a Sustainable Workforce in the Public transportation IndustryâA Systems Approach safely deliver high-quality service. Nor can it afford to promote leaders who lack the vision and determination to create lasting change. Unfortunately, this is precisely the prospect the public transportation industry faces if it does not reengineer many of its current workforce practices. Clearly, a more sustainable model is needed to lead the industry into the next decade and beyond. But how would a sustainable workforce look compared with the current public transporta- tion workforce? Why is an integrated focus on workforce sustainability needed, as opposed to simply redoubling efforts and adding resources to workforce programs and strategies already in place? And if a sustainable public transportation workforce is the goal, how do we get there? In the following sections we discuss in greater depth a clear vision for building a sustainable public transportation workforce, the reasons that achieving this vision is crucial to the success of the industry, and the path to achieving it. I.1.1 What Does a Sustainable Workforce Look Like? Perhaps the best way to try to understand what a sustainable workforce looks like is to examine what an unsustainable workforce looks like. An unsustainable workforce could be one in which retirements over the next 5 to 10 years are expected to exceed 50% of the workforce. It could be one that has relied on a depressed national economy to stem the tide of these retirements and provide a robust applicant pool, in spite of the fact that wages are often less than competitive with other industries. It could be one in which the industry is undergoing enormous technological changes that require advanced skills that do not exist in sufficient numbers in the existing work- force or in much of its applicant pool. Additionally, those in the younger generation developing the desired skill sets may not see jobs in the industry as particularly interesting or fulfilling, or worse, they may not know that these jobs exist at all. Even those who get their start in the indus- try may feel that they do not have a clear career path and that there are better opportunities for advancement elsewhere. Moreover, all of these factors could coexist in an industry facing grow- ing demand for its services and shrinking operating budgets. In fact, in many ways this describes the state of the public transportation industry today. Figure I-1. The four modules. Module 4: Engage in Continuous Improvement via Benchmarking Purpose: outline a comprehensive, systematic approach to benchmarking in order to achieve replicable results Module 3: Improve Image Management to Become an Employer of Choice Purpose: improve public perception of the industry with a particular focus on local, community-level receptiveness to transit organizations Module 2: Use Metrics to Evaluate the Impact of Workforce Practices Purpose: internally evaluate and compare workforce practices and programs prior to, during, and following implementation Module 1: Tailor Effective Strategies into Workforce Practices Purpose: improve recruitment, retention, training and development, and professional capacity-building practices within the public transportation industry Content: image management approaches Content: five phases of benchmarking process Content: organizational performance metrics Content: workforce development strategies
An overview of the Guidebook Modules I-3 The status quo is plainly unacceptable, as is the current public transportation industry approach to solving these workforce challenges. To effectively design a more successful path moving for- ward, public transportation industry leaders must first agree on the desired outcome. Leaders must consider what a sustainable public transportation workforce looks like, not just in the ideal, but also in the real world of limited budgets, often adversarial labor relations, and increasing ridership demands. In short, a sustainable public transportation workforce is one that performs effectively, encour- ages employees to improve and grow with the organization, relies on effective laborâmanagement partnerships, and renews itself with qualified talent to replace those who choose to leave. Many public transportation organizations have recently been overwhelmed with applicants for frontline positions while struggling to find qualified candidates for technical, professional, or managerial positions. This has led to critical knowledge and skill gaps. In contrast to this scenario, a sustain- able workforce is one that is able to attract a sufficient number of employees with the skills and competencies to effectively carry out their job assignments. Furthermore, a successful future for the industry demands that employees develop their knowledge and skills, both in their current roles and cross-functionally, so that a cadre of qualified public transportation industry profes- sionals can be developed to lead the industry through the mounting operational and fiscal chal- lenges it will inevitably face in the years ahead. A sustainable workforce is therefore one in which both the organization and the individual take training and development seriously and enthu- siastically pursue opportunities for growth. However, a competent and improvement-focused workforce is of little use if the best employees leave for better opportunities elsewhere and take their knowledge with them. Having engaged and committed employees at every organizational level, from bus operator to CEO, needs to be the goal of every public transportation organization. When employees do choose to leave, a sustainable organization relies on its strong image among current employees and potential outside applicants to attract qualified candidates ready to seize the opportunity created by each job opening. One might question whether this vision is achievable. After all, the workforce challenges described have been widely recognized by public transportation industry leaders for years, and various strategies have been pursued to address most of these challenges independently. For example, incentives have been used to improve retention of experienced employees on the verge of retirement, and public transportation organizations have tried to recruit qualified talent from similar industries. Ultimately, this piecemeal approach amounts to plugging cracks in a dam, when what is really needed is a new and stronger dam. I.1.2 Why Is an Integrated Approach to Workforce Sustainability Needed? Human resource staff in every industry invest substantial time and money trying to understand the reasons employees join organizations, thrive or fail there, or choose to leave. The factors affecting these human resource concerns have serious implications for organizational performance. It can be difficult for organizations to identify which, if any, of its workforce programs are affecting employee decisions and performance. As a result, building a sustainable workforce can feel like an ineffi- cient process of trial and error. For example, a public transportation leader might have difficulty determining if performance is suffering because training is inadequate or because the talent pool recruited into the organization lacks the potential to capitalize on the training. In another example, a public transportation leader may be unsure if retention rates are high because employees are totally engaged or simply because their skills are limited and they have no better employment options. Although achieving a deeper understanding of the effectiveness of individual workforce strategies is important, it is equally important that public transportation leaders recognize that neglecting any individual area of workforce development hinders efforts to build a sustainable workforce.
I-4 Building a Sustainable Workforce in the Public transportation IndustryâA Systems Approach Putting oneself in the position of a top-performing public transportation employee makes it easy to see why a multipronged approach to workforce development is desirable. Even in a com- petitive labor market, top-performing employees typically have a large number of employment choices, and in return for their strong performance, they will most certainly expect an employer to support their skill development and provide opportunities for career growth. Organizations that reward performance in this way become employers of choice and succeed by motivating strong performers to stay with the organization and achieve their full potential. At the same time, such organizations are able to recruit new and potentially strong performers into the organiza- tion. They are able to build a sustainable workforce in which the vast majority of employees value their employer, take pride in their work, and share their positive experiences with colleagues in other public transportation organizations and other industries. In contrast, organizations that do not effectively implement strategies to address all aspects of workforce development may be forced into a position of attracting and retaining large numbers of underperforming employees with limited career alternatives. For example, despite spending heavily on recruitment and new-hire training, a public transportation organization could lose its top talent to competitors if it does not invest in ongoing employee develop- ment and professional capacity building. Top transit performers often feel that their growth is stunted within the industry and decide to move to other industries that prioritize their career development. These unfulfilled transit employees may share their negative opinions with colleagues inside and outside the transit organization, thus jeopardizing future recruit- ment and retention efforts. Additionally, an organization might maintain high retention rates at senior staff levels but limit opportunities for strong performers at lower levels to progress, likely decreasing retention rates for the lower-level positions. Limiting the recruitment of new talent can take away opportunities to invigorate the transit organization with ideas from other industries. In all these situations, the results are similar: the transit workforce ends up with a disproportionate number of disengaged employees with limited potential to grow with the organization. Instead of being an employer of choice, the transit organization becomes an employer of last resort. In order to avoid such an outcome, public transportation organizations need to pursue a com- prehensive and cohesive approach to building a sustainable workforce that focuses on four key organizational processes: recruitment, retention, training and development, and professional capacity building. Each of these processes is defined in Exhibit I-1. Organizational Process Name Definition Recruitment Involves all aspects of bringing individuals into the public transportation organization, such as determining the desired candidate pool, seeking out appropriate candidates, promoting job vacancies, and selecting/hiring individuals into the organization. Retention Refers to keeping existing productive employees within the public transportation organization by reducing voluntary and involuntary (e.g., terminations) turnover. Training and Development Teaches the knowledge and skills required to effectively perform a specific job while orienting employees and reinforcing on an ongoing basis the mission, vision, goals, and culture of the public transportation organization. Professional Capacity Building Builds cross-functional knowledge and competencies across job categories to better position individuals for advancement while enhancing their understanding of the public transportation organizationâs big-picture mission and strategies for carrying it out. Exhibit I-1. Definitions of organizational processes.
An overview of the Guidebook Modules I-5 Exhibit I-2 illustrates how these four workforce processes are interrelated. Recruitment and retention are the foundational elements, or building blocks, of workforce development. Public transportation systems must attract, hire, and keep skilled workers to remain successful. The exhibit also indicates that training and development is the key element of a strong public trans- portation workforce due to its relationship with both recruitment and retention. In other words, when skilled employees are hired, they must be properly trained and developed in order for them to have a positive impact on public transportation mission achievement. Effective training and development programs enhance a public transportation employeeâs sense of organization and job fit; thus, training and development also has a direct relationship with whether an employee remains with the organization. The exhibit further points out that recruitment, training and development, and retention processes all underpin professional capacity building, which is the pinnacle of workforce development. All three supporting functions must be working properly for professional capacity building to thrive. The triangular shapes that make up Exhibit I-2 help to provide another illustration: the relation- ship between the investment made in the workforce pipeline during recruitment and how the depth of that investment can affect the impact training and development has on growing and sustaining a capable workforce. Example Scenario A shows a series of arrows traveling horizontally across the exhibit. The first solid arrow demonstrates a longer-term, more solid investment in recruit- ment (hence, the length and continuity of the line) as compared to the dashed arrow in Example Scenario B. This depth of investment in Example Scenario A results in a narrow, more strategic selection of candidates into the workforce; hence, the illustration depicts the arrow permeating the narrowest part of the triangle for recruitment. This narrow focus on obtaining a qualified pool of candidates that fit well in the organization typically results in a workforce that better responds to training and development programs, allowing training and development to have a greater impact on that workforce. In Example Scenario A, note how the arrow also enters the broadest part of the training and development triangle. This is in contrast to where the arrow enters that triangle for the broad-sweeping, nonstrategic recruitment approach demonstrated in Example Scenario B. In Example Scenario B, the recruitment goal may have been too heavily focused on quantity versus quality of candidates, which results in a number of candidates that may not have the minimum qualifications needed to learn the training objectives or conduct the work effectively; thus, training and development has less impact, and ultimately dollars are wasted due to high employee turnover. Professional Capacity Building Recruitment Processes Training and Development Retention Processes Example Scenario A Example Scenario B -$$$ -$ Turnover Workforce Pipeline Exhibit I-2. Model of workforce processes and interrelationships.
I-6 Building a Sustainable Workforce in the Public transportation IndustryâA Systems Approach I.1.3 How Can Public Transportation Achieve the Vision of a Sustainable Workforce? Recognizing the importance of the four major workforce processes and their interrelation- ships is a critical first step on the path to building a sustainable workforce in public transporta- tion. Thus, the four modules of this guidebook further describe the workforce processes and relationships introduced in Exhibit I-2. Of course, understanding these processes is not the same as being able to leverage them to improve organizational effectiveness. To strengthen the pros- pect of achieving the goal of a sustainable workforce, public transportation industry leaders would be well served by making an ongoing commitment to implementing proven strategies and evaluating the effectiveness of these strategies while continuing to seek out new and inno- vative ideas to integrate into workforce processes and promoting awareness of all these efforts. In support of this goal, the four modules of this integrated guidebook also provide valuable research-based guidance to the public transportation industry on multiple aspects of building a sustainable workforce to establish the public transportation industry as an employer of choice. The function of each module in support of this overall goal is described in the following. The introduction to each module includes: â¢ An overview of the moduleâs purpose and content, â¢ A fictional example scenario describing how an organization in the public transportation industry might use the module, â¢ A highlights section that provides guidance on where to locate answers to common questions, and â¢ Instructions for interpreting and using information presented in each module. I.2 Module 1: Tailor Effective Strategies into Workforce Practices Module 1 capitalizes on the fact that the foundation for this process has already been built over the past decade by the efforts of human resource leaders and workforce researchers. Reports, studies, articles, and guidance generated through the Transit Cooperative Research Program (TCRP), the American Public Transportation Association (APTA), the Community Transpor- tation Association of America (CTAA), the Federal Transit Administration (FTA), and other public transportation stakeholders have documented effective workforce practices from both inside and outside the public transportation industry. These documents and guidance describe many potential strategies to solve specific types of workforce challenges, but there have been few efforts to integrate the most effective strategies across all public transportation workforce devel- opment processes into a unified and accessible format. Building a sustainable public transporta- tion workforce requires a comprehensive approach to workforce development. Providing public transportation leaders with access to a single source for effective strategies and best practices in recruitment, retention, training and development, and professional capacity building is central to positively affecting workforce sustainability. Module 1 is designed to be this source. The module provides public transportation organizations with a range of effective strategies and practices to tackle the most pressing workforce challenges of today and tomorrow. By col- lecting these promising strategies in one place, the module acts as a springboard for the industry to start making important changes to its workforce programs. As a whole, these strategies are designed to address workforce needs of public transportation organizations of all sizes, modes, operating characteristics, and geographic locations, though some strategies may not be feasible or necessary for all organizations. Each strategy is presented with a detailed description, a list of key implementation steps, and examples of programs and tools from inside and outside the industry.
An overview of the Guidebook Modules I-7 I.2.1 Module 1 in Practice Mock scenario: A large multimodal transit system located in the Northeast has been experi- encing difficulty in recruiting and retaining individuals with the technical skills necessary to sup- port its transit rail operation. The transit system is having particular challenges with identifying and attracting qualified candidates for rail maintenance positions. Additionally, it has lost many key rail maintenance employees to other industries that have compatible technical skill require- ments because the transit systemâs wages are not competitive with the wages offered by these other industries. The CEO of the transit system established a working committee of rail and human resource staff and tasked this committee to identify new strategies to guide overall agency recruitment and retention efforts, with a strong emphasis on rail maintenance. This committee reviewed guidance from TCRP and APTA and found the information helpful. It further deter- mined that the transit system should use the approaches presented in Module 1 to re-engineer rail maintenance recruitment and retention activities. Specifically, the committee decided to use a social networking recruitment approach that it hoped would provide a greatly expanded pool of technologically savvy applicants to fill maintenance positions requiring advanced knowledge of computers and technology. It also focused on redesigning the employee benefits package to better compete with the higher wages offered by competing industries. The results of the com- mitteeâs efforts based on the guidance provided by Module 1 were twofold. First, the transit sys- tem received more applications for rail maintenance positions from highly qualified individuals. Second, the system noticed a small but significant accompanying reduction in rail maintenance employees leaving the agency for higher paying jobs in other industries. I.2.2 Module 1 Highlights â¢ Employee referral programs provide a network of potential applicants at minimal additional cost. Citibus succeeded by offering $500 bonuses to employees that referred a successful hire (p. 1-8). â¢ Off-the-shelf assessment tools like those used by the Southeastern Pennsylvania Transportation Authority to assess customer service skills may be an affordable way to refine selection (p. 1-9). How can I start attracting better candidates in the shortest amount of time? â¢ Social networking through sites such as LinkedIn provides access to people who might then go directly to public transportation career websites (pg.1-11). â¢ Developing school curriculums for transit careers expands the talent pool and increases preparation for technical careers (p. 1-11). How can I reach a new generation of technologically savvy applicants? â¢ Alternative employee benefits reward employees and promote commitment for minimal additional cost (p. 1-17). â¢ By making work more enriching, transit systems increase the intrinsic rewards of a transit career (p. 1-20). How can I minimize employee losses to other industries with better wages? â¢ Mentoring programs like those at Santa Clara Valley Transportation Authority allow the organizationâs best leaders to groom the next generation (pg. 1-16). â¢ An internal management university streamlines and adds consistency to training of future leaders (pg. 1-34). How can I prepare future leaders for the challenges of the next decade? â¢ Knowledge management systems enable transit systems to document and access important institutional knowledge on demand (p. 1-38). How can I prevent critical knowledge loss due to pending retirements or layoffs?
I-8 Building a Sustainable Workforce in the Public transportation IndustryâA Systems Approach I.2.3 How to Use Module 1 The first module presents strategies that can be used to update or create programs in any public transportation organization to help recruit, retain, and develop employees. This module should be used as a guide to determine the types of programs that could be implemented within an organization and can be especially beneficial as a first step in creating and implementing workforce development programs. At the start of Module 1, a table (as featured in Table I-1) is presented that allows readers to easily locate strategies based on relevance to audiences, jobs, system demographics, and time to implement estimates. Further, for each strategy, a table is presented that includes information about the strategy and its various facets and helpful implementation techniques. These tables include the information described in Figure I-2. I.3 Module 2: Use Metrics to Evaluate the Impact of Workforce Practices Exploring alternative workforce strategies is a good place for most transit systems to start; however, a set of potential strategies alone does not resolve the concerns many transit leaders have regarding which interventions will provide the greatest return on investment given the limitation of organizational resources. To address these concerns, public transportation organizations must commit to a consistent, data-driven approach to evaluating current and alternative workforce practices. Too often, transit decision makers find themselves following the latest human resource trend or pursuing pet projects generated by new leadership. The danger of these approaches is the potential for public transportation employees to become confused and frustrated with per- petual change, negatively affecting the implementation of a comprehensive workforce develop- ment model. Further, given the interrelation of human resource processes, it is entirely possible that an organization could discard a perfectly acceptable retention strategy as unproductive when the real problem might relate to ineffective recruitment efforts or the lack of a solid training and development program. To avoid this pitfall, a more rigorous approach to human resource deci- sion making is required for public transportation. By adopting a reliable set of shared metrics to evaluate workforce practices, public transportation organizations will be able to systematically identify the strategies that will help them achieve desired results. Strategies Target Audience Job Types System Size Time to Implement Page Number Jo b C a n di da te s C o m m u n ity M em be rs Fr o n t L in e St a ff Pr o fe ss io n a l/ Te ch n ic a l S ta ff Su pe rv iso ry / M a n a ge m en t St a ff O pe ra tio n s M a in te n a n ce Pr o fe ss io n a l/ Te ch n ic a l A dm in ist ra tiv e H um a n R es o u rc es La rg e o r m id - siz ed u rb a n Sm a ll u rb a n R u ra l 0â 3 m o n th s 3â 6 m o n th s 7 m o n th s- 1 ye a r M o re th a n 1 ye a r Recruitment Host career days for students 1-7 Implement employee referral programs 1-8 Recruit nontraditional applicants 1-9 Table I-1. Sample Module 1 table.
An overview of the Guidebook Modules I-9 Module 2 contains metric scorecards for the four organizational processes that provide pub- lic transportation organizations a consistent and quantifiable approach to evaluate the impact of current and potential workforce strategies in order to make informed decisions regarding which of their existing workforce practices are worth keeping and which new strate gies are likely to have the greatest return on investment. By comparing workforce strategies using a consistent set of metrics and anchors, public transportation leaders and human resource man- agers can simplify difficult decisions and articulate the costs and benefits of each approach to senior leadership. Given that transit organizations vary widely in size and operating char- acteristics, the metrics are designed to be easily understood and used, have broad applica- bility, and be adaptable to the needs of diverse audiences. Separate scorecards for frontline positions along with customizable anchors provide flexibility across a wide range of transit organizations. I.3.1 Module 2 in Practice Mock scenario: A large multicounty rural transit system operating in a southern state has been experiencing a number of operational and personnel problems. Over the past year, bus accidents and passenger incidents have increased, particularly during the first year of a driverâs employment. The implications of this trend raised great concern within the transit system man- agement team. After carefully reviewing guidance that could assist the transit system in revers- ing this trend, management decided to follow strategies presented in Module 2 for evaluating Figure I-2. Information found in strategy tables in Module 1. The tables in Module 1 include the following information 1. Organizational process name. 2. Name of strategy. 3. Description of what the strategy entails. 4. Steps to implement the strategy. 5. Examples of effective programs. 6. Website addresses of example programs. 7. A note to identify union considerations. RECRUITMENT STRATEGY 3: Implement Employee Referral Programs Description Key Implementation Steps Sample Programs In industries with high turnover rates and challenges in recruiting engaged and qualified employees, a great way to find appropriate candidates is through an employee referral program. Employee referral programs are an internal recruitment strategy in which current employees are awarded bonuses or other rewards for referring candidates who are hired into a specific job. Current employees are typically able to identify qualified candidates because they are familiar with the job requirements and know if the skills of people they are acquainted with match those requirements. Candidates hired through referrals typically stay longer and assimilate faster than those hired through other methods (Barrick and Zimmerman, 2005). Note: It is important to include requirements, procedures, and all relevant details of the program in the organizationâs employee handbook. Also, organizations should involve union leadership in the planning for and implementation of employee referral programs. 1. Determine specifications for program (e.g., what constitutes a successful referral?) 2. Decide on a budget for the program and allocate funds or resources for rewards. This includes determining the amount of individual rewards or bonuses. Offer a charity donation option. 3. Develop a comprehensive online system to streamline the referral process 4. Advertise the referral program to employees and list jobs for which referrals can be made. 5. Offer a hard-to-hire bonus for employees who refer successful candidates for especially hard- to-recruit positions 6. Proactively approach employees who have ties to key feeder organizations (e.g. competitors, associations) to request assistance in recruiting or identifying potential employees from these organizations âª Ann Arbor Transit Authority: Uses a referral bonus system and requires the person who provides the referral to serve as the new employeeâs mentor. The system believes this added commitment enhances the quality of the referrals and increases success rates of new hires. (TCRP Synthesis 40) âª SRA International: Employees receive a monetary reward for each successful referral,. http://www.sra.com/news/press- releases/2007/phoenix97bd.php âª Citibus: Increased the applicant pool for bus operator positions by offering a $500 incentive. âª JBS Carriers: Every non-recruiting employee of JBS is entitled to an award of $1,000 upon hiring of a successful referral: $300 after 30 days of the new employeeâs service and $700 after 6 months of service. http://www.jbscarriers.com/Referral.aspx 1 2 3 4 5 6 7
I-10 Building a Sustainable Workforce in the Public transportation IndustryâA Systems Approach workforce practices. Based on these materials, management made slight adjustments to the anchors of the training metric scorecard and used it to measure two important metrics: post- training knowledge and skill testing, and post-training performance of drivers. By evaluating new employee performance against that of experienced drivers, management learned that its initial training program left new drivers ill-prepared for several important aspects of their jobs. These results led transit management to redesign its new-hire driver training program, placing increased emphasis on testing the proficiency of trainees in the areas of defensive driving, pas- senger assistance and securement, and response to on-vehicle emergencies. This more structured approach to evaluating driver trainee performance had two major impacts. First, it led to a small increase in the number of trainees who failed to successfully complete new-hire driver training because they lacked the ability to safely perform job functions. Although this negatively affected the organizationâs retention statistics, it was deemed to be more cost-effective in the long run due to the reduced risk of driver error. Second, the number of vehicle accidents and passenger incidents during a transit driverâs first year of employment decreased dramatically. The manage- ment team credits its use of the metric scorecard approach for elevating the transit systemâs safety record and reducing insurance rates. I.3.2 Module 2 Highlights â¢ The recruitment scorecard for frontline positions provides two separate metrics to quantify turnover during training and during the remainder of the first year because both are signs of recruitment concerns (p. 2-15). How can I account for the effect of recruitment on employee turnover? â¢ Each metric scorecard includes a set of global metrics to evaluate each of these factors (among others) across all program areas. â¢ The anchors are consistent across scorecards but can be modified as needed. How can I weigh the importance of cost, time, and program longevity? â¢ In addition to a training satisfaction measure, the training scorecard includes measures of post-training knowledge, skill, and employee performance (p. 2-32). Are existing training programs providing a sufficient boost to effectiveness? â¢ Professional capacity building can be assessed through measures of employee involvement in decision making (p. 2-37). â¢ The number of jobs filled internally indicates the organizationâs success in promoting employee growth (p. 2-36). Which strategies are most effective at preparing employees for leadership roles? I.3.3 How to Use Module 2 The second module provides metrics that can be used to evaluate public transportation recruitment, retention, training and development, and professional capacity-building practices. This module will be helpful for public transportation leaders who want to determine which practices will be the most beneficial and cost-effective for their organizations. Module 2 includes the information shown in Figure I-3.
An overview of the Guidebook Modules I-11 Module 2 includes the following information: 1. For each metric: what the metric is, why it is important, and how to use it. 2. A scorecard for each organizational process that includes: a. Five organizational process-specific metrics, b. Five global metrics, c. Rating anchors providing guidance in making ratings, and d. Likelihood of success of the practice. Metric 1: Stakeholder buy-in. o What this metric is defined as: Stakeholder buy-in indicates the support available for a specific practice from important stakeholders (e.g., management, employees, unions). This metric considers the amount of understanding that stakeholders have of a practice and their willingness to sponsor or promote the implementation of that practice. o Why this metric is of value to transit: Stakeholder buy-in is an essential metric because without it, the success of a program is unlikely. Stakeholders are the individuals who will be the support for implemented practices and champion these efforts to others. If stakeholders do not have a clear understanding of a specific practice, they are not likely to promote it or help to make it successful. o How this metric can be measured/implemented: To utilize stakeholder buy-in, appropriate stakeholders for your transit system should be identified. These can be individuals or groups who have a vested interested in the transit system or the program that is being implemented. Once stakeholders are identified, their level of Recruitment Practices Scorecard â Supervisory/Technical Positions Title of Practice: (Enter here) Metrics Recruitment-Specific Rating Scales (Based on experience or projections) Score 0-25 26-50 51-75 76-100 1. Time to fill position â¢ Over 8 months â¢ Greater than 5 up to 8 months â¢ Greater than 2 up to 5 months â¢ Less than 2 months 2. New hire turnover within the first year â¢ More than 40% of new hires turnover â¢ Over 20% up to 40% of new hires turnover â¢ 10-20% of new hires turnover â¢ Less than 10% of new hires turnover 3. New hire performance rating â¢ Bottom 25% of employees â¢ Slightly lower than average employees â¢ Slightly higher than average employees â¢ Top 25% of employees 4. Recruiting cost ratio â¢ More than budget target â¢ Right at budget target â¢ Slightly under budget target â¢ Significantly under budget target 5. Offer to acceptance ratio â¢ Less than 40% of offers accepted â¢ More than 40% up to 60% of offers accepted â¢ More than 60% up to 80% of offers accepted â¢ More than 80% of offers accepted Subscore: Metrics Global Rating Scales (Based on experience or projections) Score 0-25 26-50 51-75 76-100 6. Stakeholder Buy-In â¢ Stakeholders unaware of program â¢ Stakeholders know of program but have a lot of questions â¢ Stakeholders understand program and only have few questions â¢ Stakeholders already onboard 7. Time to implement â¢ Over 1 year â¢ Over 6 months up to 1 year â¢ 3 up to 6 months â¢ Less than 3 months 8. Cost to implement â¢ More than budget target â¢ Right at budget target â¢ Slightly under budget target â¢ Significantly under budget target 9. Full return on investment â¢ Over 1 year â¢ Over 6 months up to 1 year â¢ 3 up to 6 months â¢ Less than 3 months 10. Sustainability â¢ One-time program â¢ Program information must be continually updated to remain current â¢ Program can be updated annually and reused â¢ Program can be continually used with minimal maintenance Subscore: Notes: Likelihood of Success Going Fwd Total Metrics Score Success Very Unlikely 0-250 Success Unlikely 251-500 Success Likely 501-750 Success Very Likely 751-1000 1 a c d 2 b Figure I-3. Information found in Module 2.
I-12 Building a Sustainable Workforce in the Public transportation IndustryâA Systems Approach I.4 Module 3: Improve Image Management to Become an Employer of Choice The effect the public transportation industryâs image has on the success of efforts to build a sustainable public transportation workforce cannot be overstated. Positive and negative per- ceptions of public transportation organizations have been forged over decades by customers, media coverage of the industry, and statements by politicians and others about the effectiveness and efficiency of public transportation. These perceptions can potentially affect a wide range of employment decisions, including whether to apply for a transit job, whether to stay in a transit job, or whether to pursue professional development opportunities that further a career in the industry. Although many transit systems have positive reputations in their communities, others, fairly or unfairly, have to overcome negative public perceptions. Consequently, the investment of the public transportation industry in building a sustainable workforce could be squandered if the industry does not simultaneously improve its image among potential applicants and employ- ees. Getting the message out about the benefits of a transit career is as important as any of the other human resource strategies that focus on enhancing workforce processes. To assist public transportation organizations in improving their image to become seen as employers of choice, Module 3 highlights many of the current perceptions around the country about the public transportation industry, strategies and tools that can be used to improve these perceptions, and metrics to measure the effectiveness of a public transportation organizationâs image management practices. Some of the topics addressed include appealing to younger gen- erations, leveraging partnerships to build the image of the industry, and specific processes to follow to reach those who would not have otherwise considered a career in transit. The tools and strategies vary in complexity, but public transportation organizations of all sizes should be able to find resources to improve their image and that of the industry overall. I.4.1 Module 3 in Practice Mock scenario: The management team of a large urban transit agency that provides bus service to a major city on the West Coast has had increasing concerns about the negative perceptions the public has of the agency. These perceptions seem to stem from a combination of media coverage and statements by local political leaders and could affect the transit systemâs ability to garner local financial support and attract highly skilled job applicants. To assist in addressing this issue, tran- sit management turned to Module 3. Management first explored approaches to build the overall reputation of the transit agency within the community. Based on local concern for environmental issues, the transit system determined it would emphasize the role transit plays in improving the environment by redesigning the color and graphics on the outside of its buses. It developed a speakerâs bureau of transit employees who were trained to make presentations on the contributions transit provides to the city. These presentations were made at high schools and colleges, chamber of commerce meetings, human service agency conferences, and economic development meetings. The transit system contacted media outlets and provided materials on the transit agencyâs strong safety record and information on the ways transit improves quality of life for a diverse profile of riders. To create political buy-in and support, transit management requested time at city council meetings to discuss the agencyâs future strategic priorities. Beyond these general efforts to improve the perception of the transit system, management began developing new approaches to appeal to a younger generation of potential employees. These approaches included presenting transit as an employment opportunity for young professionals to make a significant contribution to their community, and developing a series of career advancement programs to allow for promotion and personal growth within the transit agency. These combined efforts led to a general improvement of the transit systemâs image, heightened political support, and an expanded pool of qualified young candidates for job openings within the systemâs professional and technical support ranks.
An Overview of the Guidebook Modules I-13 I.4.2 Module 3 Highlights â¢ Perceptions of transit jobs are discussed, including the lack of awareness regarding non-customer interfacing positions (p. 3-4). â¢ Effects of geographic and cultural factors can have an impact on perceptions of transit and its perceived desirability as a career (p. 3-7). What are the current perceptions of the industry that affect the workforce? â¢ Strategies and samples from transit systems that have branded themselves as âgreenâ employers illustrate the benefits of this approach (p. 3-8). â¢ Via Mobility Services in Colorado uses hybrid vehicles and green graphics to create a positive image of the organization (p. 3-17). How can I leverage the green aspect of transit to attract applicants? â¢ Strategies that emphasize community impact can appeal to socially conscious young professionals (p. 3-8). â¢ Partnerships such as APTAâs blue-ribbon panel on youth outreach help introduce a new generation to transit careers (p. 3-10). How can I improve our image to appeal to a younger generation of employees? â¢ Improvements in labor and management relations can help create a positive culture of shared success (p. 3-10). â¢ Programs like the Keystone Transit Career Ladder Partnership demonstrate the commitment of management to the success and career development of its employees (p. 3-11). What changes can we make in the workplace to improve our image? â¢ Metrics are provided to evaluate the reach of an organizationâs message in terms of both depth and breadth (p. 3-21). How can I measure the potential impact of various image management strategies? I.4.3 How to Use Module 3 The third module contains information about image management within the public trans- portation industry. This module can serve as a reference to help transit systems understand public perceptions regarding transit, both positive and negative. Additionally, transit systems can use the information provided in this module to develop strategies to improve their images. This module provides a variety of helpful information, summarized in Figure I-4. I.5 Module 4: Engage in Continuous Improvement via Benchmarking Investing in the most cost-effective human resource strategies to build the public transpor- tation workforce is important but still does not address one of the most critical elements of sustainability: the concept of continuous renewal. Although the strategies and metrics provided in the other modules are designed in anticipation of the challenges the public transportation industry will face over the coming decade, there are limits to the powers of foresight. More- over, neither the public transportation industry nor its workforce is static; therefore, a stag- nant approach to workforce development will quickly fail to keep up with the growing and
I-14 Building a Sustainable Workforce in the Public transportation IndustryâA Systems Approach shifting demands for transit services and the need for a highly skilled public transportation workforce to support these demands. As the public transportation industry and its workforce evolve, each transit organization will have to work to stay ahead of the curve. Just as concepts of continuous quality improvement have helped to drive process improvements in many industries, public transportation leaders can build a more effective and sustainable workforce by engag- ing in continuous workforce improvement strategies. An effective way to achieve continuous improvement is to compare strategies and performance to peers in oneâs own industry or other industries. This process of benchmarking against other organizations helps to identify what works at oneâs own organization and what innovative strategies pursued by other organizations Transit as Green-Collar Employer The Bay Area Rapid Transit (BART) Bicycle Task Force and the inclusion of bike lockers at BART stations have improved the riding experiences for cyclists in the greater San Francisco area and enhanced their green image. The Bicycle Task Force reviews BART policies, rider suggestions, and discusses problems and complaints of bicyclists to improve bicyclistsâ experiences with BART. Information provided in Module 3 includes: 1. Image challenges facing the transit industry (not shown), 2. Opportunities to promote the image of transit, 3. Examples of programs or transit systems using these opportunities, 4. Tools to help improve the image of the transit industry (not shown), and 5. Metric scorecard to rate image management strategies. Image Improvement Strategies Scorecard Title of Strategy: Metrics Image Management Rating Scales (Based on experience or projections) Score 0-25 26-50 51-75 76-100 1. Share of employees who characterize job as having positive impact Employees do not make connection between their jobs and making positive impact Employees aware their jobs have some positive impact but do not describe their jobs as making positive impact Employees make connection between their jobs and positive impact; will sometimes describe their jobs as making positive impact Employees often describe their jobs as making positive impact when talking to co- workers, friends, and/or riders. 2. Percentage of applicants who characterize transit industry as having positive impact Less than 25% of applicants 26-50% of applicants 51-75% of applicants More than 75% of applicants 3. Proportion of community reached by âpositive impactâ communications. Community mostly unaware of agencyâs positive impact Community is aware of agencyâs positive impact but specifics are unclear Community is mostly aware that transit agency is a making a positive impact Community aware transit agency makes positive impact; knows of specific impacts 4. Percentage of riders who consider use of transit a âpositive impactâ choice Less than 25% of riders 26-50% of riders 51-75% of riders More than 75% of riders 5. Number of applicants and/or employees who choose transit career because job makes a positive impact Positive impact of jobs is almost never mentioned as factor in career choice Positive impact of jobs is mentioned less than 50% of the time as one factor in career choice Positive impact of jobs is mentioned more than 50% of the time as one factor in career choice Positive impact of jobs is routinely referenced as key factor in making job choices Subscore: 3 5 2 Figure I-4. Summary of information provided in Module 3.
An overview of the Guidebook Modules I-15 could be implemented by oneâs organization. By sharing best ideas across public transporta- tion organizations and adapting the most desirable ideas of other industries, the industry can enable its workforce to achieve the cost-effectiveness and safe delivery of quality services that are integral to the transit mission. The process of continuous improvement through benchmarking can be complex, however, and easy-to-follow guidance is needed to help public transportation organizations of all sizes continuously improve their workforce practices. Module 4 clearly lays out a flexible process for a wide range of public transportation organi- zations to benefit from ongoing self-evaluation and comparison of strategies and performance to their peers. The benchmarking approach described builds on each of the previous modules by combining measurement of existing performance and evaluation of alternative strategies through comparison with industry leaders. The module includes guidance and helpful tools for the five phases of the benchmarking process: planning, analysis, integration, action, and maturity. It covers everything from what to measure to who to compare to and how to learn from the results. By committing to ongoing benchmarking, public transportation organiza- tions help ensure that their investment in a sustainable workforce continues to pay off well into the future. I.5.1 Module 4 in Practice Mock scenario: The management team of a small urban bus transit system located in the upper Midwest determined that it needed to embark on a continuous program for quality improvement to help build a more effective and sustainable workforce. The transit system was experiencing increasing demands for transit services while the quality and skills of its workforce to support these demands had grown stale. Management felt that this pattern could potentially negatively affect the future quality of service delivery and the safety of its operation. Given the limited internal resources available to create an effective improvement program, transit man- agement decided to implement a simple benchmarking process consistent with the guidance presented in Module 4. The first challenge was to identify appropriate performance measures to evaluate based on the organizational rewards this evaluation process could provide. The management team identi- fied two processes to study within each of these four areas: recruiting high-quality employees, retaining employees who have the required skills for success, ongoing employee training and skill development efforts, and building employee professional capacity through cross-functional exposure and upward mobility. Once management created process maps of its own practices in these areas, it then embarked on a search to find peer transit systems to benchmark against. Because it did not have the resources or infrastructure of larger transit systems on the coasts, management decided to benchmark against peers that were operating in the same region of the country, had approximately the same number of vehicles and employees, and internally deliv- ered both fixed-route and ADA (Americans with Disabilities Act) paratransit services. Through the resources of APTA, CTAA, and the FTA, management identified two peer transit agencies to partner with in this benchmarking process. The three agencies agreed to collect and compare data based on mutually acceptable procedures and protocols. This benchmarking activity not only allowed the agencies to learn from each other, but also helped each agency to individu- ally develop new, and at times hybrid, workforce development strategies based on proven and effective approaches of one or more of the benchmarking partners. Based on the positive ini- tial success of this benchmarking effort, the three partners agreed to continue ongoing mutual benchmarking efforts and to pool resources to conduct studies of innovative practices used by other transit systems.
I-16 Building a Sustainable Workforce in the Public transportation IndustryâA Systems Approach I.5.2 Module 4 Highlights â¢ The module provides questions to consider before deciding whether to embark on a benchmarking study (p. 4-4). Is benchmarking going to be worth the time and effort required? â¢ The module provides guidance on how to evaluate which measures are best equipped to gauge performance (p. 4-6). â¢ Graphics are provided to explain how to conduct process mapping to better understand the organizational process being studied (p. 4- 8). How do I know what is most relevant to measure? â¢ Organizations must consider whether to conduct internal, competitive, industry, functional, or generic benchmarking (p. 4- 10). â¢ Characteristics such as region, revenue-vehicle miles, fleet size, number of employees, operating modes, and size of service area can be used to identify a partner (p. 4-10). How can I identify an approriate peer to benchmark against? â¢ Providing the partner organization with comparable data can be a good incentive for participation and cooperation (p. 4-10). â¢ Data collection protocols promote consistent procedures and improved data reliability (p. 4-15). How can I make sure the partnership and data collection go smoothly? â¢ A clear action plan keeps everyone on the same page during the implementation of new strategies (p. 4-22). â¢ Recalibrating metrics enables the process to remain relevant and promotes a sustainable workforce (p. 4-24). How do I ensure that the results of the process are put to good use? I.5.3 How to Use Module 4 Module 4 provides information that can be used to help conduct a benchmarking study with the purpose of improving workforce development practices within a public transportation orga- nization. This module provides step-by-step guidance on implementing the benchmarking pro- cess and explains why each step of the process is important. This module can be especially helpful for public transportation professionals who wish to conduct a benchmarking study but may not have human resource staff with experience on this type of project. The benchmarking module includes the information in Figure I-5. I.6 Synopsis of Each Module In Appendix B, brief synopses are provided that overview the content of all four modules. These synopses provide tips for resource-strained public transportation organizations that wish to review an abbreviated approach to the module. For optimal utility, it is strongly recommended that each aspect of the guidance provided for a particular strategy, metric, step, or tool be fol- lowed according to the detail provided in the full module. However, as practitioners who per- form under similar resource challenges and market demands, the authors recognize that it is important for public transportation decision makers to have a means for achieving a certain level of effectiveness when resource investments are limited.
An Overview of the Guidebook Modules I-17 I.7 Route Map of Modules Although each module can be used independently, to achieve the best results, the modules should be used in concert with one another. The content across the four modules is highly interrelated in that the metrics and benchmarking provide progressively more detailed evalua- tion of strategies, and image management supports all workforce development initiatives. The route map in Figure I-6 displays some examples of the content of each module as well as the note worthy intersections of topics across the modules. Although this route map represents only a small portion of the overall content in the modules, it includes some of the major workforce issues that public transportation leaders must address and provides page numbers for users wishing to focus on particular topics. The benchmarking module includes the following information: 1. Overview of the benchmarking process and its phases. 2. Step-by-step instructions for each benchmarking phase. 3. Importance of each phase and how it will help transit systems. 4. Practical tools to guide managers in navigating the benchmarking process. Important Questions to be Answered in Phase 1 The first phase of the benchmarking process, Planning, will help answer the following important questions: â¢ What are you going to benchmark? â¢ Who will be the benchmarking partners? â¢ What methods will be used to conduct the benchmarking study? Gap Analysis Tool Metric Sponsor Performance Partner Performance Direction of Gap (Positive, Neutral, Negative) Degree of Gap (% of Partner Performance) Important Inputs and Enablers Potential Practices to Close Gap Example: Percent of jobs filled within 3 months 45% 76% Negative 59% Best in class benefit package Restructure benefit package, highlight quality-of-life benefits 2 4 3 1 Figure I-5. Summary of benchmarking information provided in Module 4.
Community impact of transit, p. 3-8 Recruiting youth and social networking, p. 1-11 Recruiting nontraditional applicants, p. 1-9 Measuring diversity turnover, p. 2-19 Measuring employee engagement, p. 2-19 Making jobs more enriching, p. 1-20 Measuring recruiting costs, p. 2-12 Developing career paths, p. 1-37 Filling jobs internally, p. 2-36 Awareness of transit careers, p. 3-6 Selecting a benchmarking partner, p. 4-9 Marketing partnerships, p. 3-15 Training partnerships, p. 1-29 Making transit a better place to work, p. 3-10 Take action to close performance gaps, p. 4-25 What is benchmarking and do we need it?, p. 4-3 Preparing for benchmarking, p. 4-5 Collecting the right performance data, p. 4-11 Turnover during initial training, p. 2-11 Impact of training on ops and safety, p. 2-28 Measuring involvement in decision making, p. 2-37 Measuring image management eï¬ectiveness, p. 3-21 Perceptions of public transportation, p. 3-5 Becoming a green jobs employer of choice, p. 3-8 Improving organizational culture, p. 1-17 Creating a corporate college, p. 1-27 Mentoring and coaching for leaders, p. 1-35 Making sense of the data collected, p. 4-14 Making sure we donât slide backward, p. 4-36 Image Management Benchmarking Strategies Metrics Impact of employee turnover on knowledge loss, p. 2-21 Develop a knowledge management system, p. 1-38 Figure I-6. Route map for a sustainable workforce.