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Building a Susta Workforce in the Transportation In A Systems App inable Public dustryâ roach Module Tailor Effective S into Workforce P 1. trategies ractices
1-1 Module 1 Contents Module 1: Tailor Effective Strategies into Workforce Practices Content of the Sections 1.1 Recruitment Overview 1-4 1.1.1 Description 1-4 1.1.2 Challenges for Public Transportation 1-5 1.1.3 Impact of Effective Strategies 1-6 1.1.4 Relationship to Image Management 1-7 1.1.5 Effective Recruitment Strategies 1-7 1.2 Retention Overview 1-13 1.2.1 Description 1-13 1.2.2 Challenges for Public Transportation 1-13 1.2.3 Impact of Effective Strategies 1-14 1.2.4 Relationship to Image Management 1-15 1.2.5 Effective Retention Strategies 1-15 1.3 Training and Development Overview 1-20 1.3.1 Description 1-20 1.3.2 Challenges for Public Transportation 1-22 1.3.3 Impact of Effective Strategies 1-23 1.3.4 Relationship to Image Management 1-24 1.3.5 Effective Training and Development Strategies 1-25 1.4 Professional Capacity-Building Overview 1-31 1.4.1 Description 1-31 1.4.2 Challenges for Public Transportation 1-31 1.4.3 Impact of Effective Strategies 1-32 1.4.4 Relationship to Image Management 1-33 1.4.5 Effective Professional Capacity-Building Strategies 1-33 This module presents effective strategies for building a sustainable public transportation workforce. It outlines these strategies based on the four major organizational processes described in the introduction to this guidebook. As a reminder, these organizational processes are recruit- ment, retention, training and development, and professional capacity building. The strategies described in this module have been shown to be effective across the public transportation indus- try as well as in other industries. M o d u l e 1 Tailor Effective Strategies into Workforce Practices
1-2 Building a Sustainable Workforce in the Public Transportation IndustryâA Systems Approach Content of the Sections Each section in this module introduces the organizational process highlighted in that section and includes the following information: â¢ Description â Provides a definition and summary of the organizational process and insights from relevant research, including timely public transportation studies. â¢ Challenges for public transportation â Identifies workforce struggles the public transporta- tion industry faces with respect to the scope of this project. These challenges are the impetus that justifies the need for the identified strategies. â¢ Impact of effective strategies â Provides a summary of the potential impact and broad out- comes of the strategies listed in the section. â¢ Relationship to image management â Articulates the relationship between the organiza- tional process and the management of the industryâs image. This section supports one of the underlying goals of this project: to improve perceptions of the public transportation industry, enabling it to be seen as an employer of choice among nontraditional job candidates. Each section also provides at least 10 effective strategies that speak to the organizational pro- cess highlighted in the section. Each strategy is presented in a summary table that includes the following information: â¢ Description of strategy. â¢ Key implementation steps (overview). â¢ Sample programs (in public transportation and other industries). An overview of strategies for each of the organizational processes is provided in Table 1-1. This table lists all of the strategies described in this module and provides information to help a public transportation organization easily determine if the strategy may be useful to implement within its agency. For each strategy, the table also contains the target audience for the strategy, the type Strategies Target Audience Job Types System Size* Time to Implement Page Number Jo b C an di da te s C om m u n ity M em be rs Fr o n tli ne St af f Pr of es sio n a l/ Te ch ni ca l S ta ff Su pe rv iso ry / M an ag em en t S ta ff O pe ra tio ns M ai nt en a n ce Pr of es sio n a l/ Te ch ni ca 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 -S iz ed U rb a n Sm al l U rb a n R ur a l 0â 3 M o n th s 3â 6 M o n th s 7 M o n th sâ 1 Y ea r M or e Th a n 1 Y ea r RECRUITMENT Host career days for students 1-7 Develop and implement internship and scholarship programs 1-8 Implement employee referral programs 1-8 Recruit nontraditional applicants 1-9 Establish applicant screening process 1-9 Incorporate realistic job previews 1-10 Highlight employee benefits 1-10 Use social networking 1-11 Develop student curriculum or training programs 1-11 Use structured interview protocols 1-12 Target candidates from other industries 1-12 Table 1-1. Overview of strategies.
R ur a l Strategies Target Audience Job Types System Size* Time to Implement Page Number Jo b C an di da te s C om m u n ity M em be rs Fr o n tli ne St af f Pr of es sio n a l/ Te ch ni ca l S ta ff Su pe rv iso ry / M an ag em en t S ta ff O pe ra tio ns M ai nt en a n ce Pr of es sio n a l/ Te ch ni ca 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 -S iz ed U rb a n Sm al l U rb a n R ur al 0â 3 M o n th s 3â 6 M o n th s 7 M o n th sâ 1 Y ea r M or e Th a n 1 Y ea r PROFESSIONAL CAPACITY BUILDING Develop a management university/academy 1-34 Establish regular management retreats, workshops, and leadership events 1-34 Use competency-based leader selection and training 1-35 Implement mentoring/coaching programs for leaders 1-35 Institute a job rotation program 1-36 Use cross-training or shadowing 1-36 Develop formal career paths 1-37 Use individual development plans (IDPs) 1-37 Implement workforce/succession planning 1-38 Develop a knowledge management system 1-38 *Large or mid-sized urban = population over 200,000; Small urban = population between 50,000 and 200,000; Rural = population under 50,000. Assess/improve organizational culture 1-17 Implement a rewards program for high performers 1-18 Improve existing work schedule 1-18 Recruit/promote current employees 1-19 Establish diversity goals and policies 1-19 Emphasize job enrichment 1-20 TRAINING AND DEVELOPMENT Leverage existing training and development programs and opportunities 1-25 Explore available funding for training 1-26 Make training attractive 1-26 Address training needs in conjunction with performance appraisals 1-27 Create a corporate college for on-the- job training and certification 1-27 Adopt means of supporting higher education and training 1-28 Institute internship or apprenticeship programs 1-28 Develop partnerships with other organizations 1-29 RETENTION Create dual career tracks for managers and technical experts 1-15 Create advancement within positions 1-16 Implement employee mentoring program 1-16 Offer alternative benefit packages 1-17 Develop a job mentoring program 1-29 Ensure that transfer of training occurs 1-30 Place a high priority on safety- and security-related training 1-30 Table 1-1. (Continued).
1-4 Building a Sustainable Workforce in the Public Transportation IndustryâA Systems Approach of job position the strategy relates to, the agency size the strat- egy is most appropriate for, the likely length of time required to implement the strategy, and the page number to locate more information about the strategy within this module. 1.1 Recruitment Overview This section provides an overview of effective recruitment strategies relevant to public transportation organizations. It provides an overview of the features of recruitment programs, some of the challenges that drive the need for effective recruit- ment strategies, the impact of strategic recruitment initiatives, and the relationship of recruitment to managing perceptions about the public transportation industryâs image. 1.1.1 Description Recruitment involves determining the desired candidate pool and seeking out those candidates, promoting job vacan- cies, and selecting/hiring individuals into the public transpor- tation organization. An effective recruitment strategy helps a public transportation organization attract and hire quali- fied candidates that possess necessary skills and helps build the professional capacity of the organization to handle future market demands. The recruitment process involves drawing from a talented candidate pool and implementing selection processes that ultimately result in employing workers who have a good fit with the transportation organization. In areas where the candidate pool lacks critical skills required by the transit industry, the recruitment process can also include building a pipeline of potential candidates through education, training, and outreach. The public transportation industry can benefit from embrac- ing targeted recruitment strategies. Targeted recruitment strat- egies include (1) outlining the desired knowledge, skills, and abilities (KSAs) required for open positions based on current job requirements and anticipated future demands; (2) identify- ing nontraditional sources to reach a diverse candidate popula- tion with specific capabilities; and (3) promoting organizational benefits and policies that will be attractive to the candidate population. As part of the recruitment process, it is important to pro- vide a realistic picture of both the positives and the challenges of a position and communicate information about the norms and culture of the organization. This communication allows for a reciprocal recruitment process whereby the organization selects candidates with the necessary skills and capabilities to fill a position, and the candidate makes an educated decision to self-select in or out of the organization. This dialogue also Recruitment Strategy Highlights Â¾ Important Elements â¢ Outline desired knowledge, skills, and abilities (KSAs). â¢ Identify nontraditional candidate sources. â¢ Increase awareness of open positions. â¢ Promote organizational benefits. â¢ Develop future applicant skills. â¢ Provide a realistic picture of the job. â¢ Efficiently and accurately screen applicants for desired skills. Professional Capacity Building Recruitment Processes Training and Develop- ment Retention Processes Â¾ Key Challenges Facing Public Transportation â¢ Attracting diverse candidates to jobs. â¢ An aging workforce. â¢ A competitive labor market. â¢ Increased use of technology. Â¾ 11 Effective Recruitment Strategies â¢ Host career days for students. â¢ Develop and implement internship and scholarship programs. â¢ Implement employee referral programs. â¢ Recruit nontraditional applicants. â¢ Establish applicant screening process. â¢ Incorporate realistic job previews. â¢ Highlight employee benefits. â¢ Use social networking. â¢ Develop student curriculum or training programs. â¢ Use structured interview protocols. â¢ Target candidates from other industries.
Module 1: Tailor effective Strategies into Workforce Practices 1-5 prevents the public transportation organization from devoting significant resources to onboard- ing a candidate who may only be interested in short-term employment (Onboarding is the pro- cess of bringing new employees into the organization and providing them with the necessary knowledge to be successful members of the organization.) Targeted recruitment can lead to selecting workers who are strong fits with the organization, are likely to feel supported by the organization, and who want, therefore, to remain and be contributing members of the organi- zation for the long term. Thus, effective recruitment translates into higher retention rates and furthers many other workforce development goals (e.g., employee engagement). Recruitment is often considered the beginning of the transportation workforce pipeline, affecting those applicants entering the workforce or changing jobs, but it should also be con- sidered an ongoing organizational process that combines with retention efforts to maintain an organizationâs best possible staff (Cronin et al., 2011). A strong workforce ensures that criti- cal tasks are completed correctly, enhances the overall effectiveness of a public transportation organization, and helps present a positive public image of the organization. With an effective recruitment strategy, public transportation organizations can ensure that they are bringing in the best-qualified candidates for their job vacancies in a timely and cost-effective manner. 1.1.2 Challenges for Public Transportation As described in NCHRP Report 685: Strategies to Attract and Retain a Capable Transportation Workforce, a number of issues have challenged the transportation industry as a whole and made it difficult to bring in individuals with the right knowledge and skills to be effective employees (Cronin et al., 2011). One study, as seen in TCRP Report 103: Public Transportation Operating Agencies as Employers of Choice, found that public transit agencies are becoming a less attractive career choice due to the image of the industry, the work culture, and the level of compensation (Watson Wyatt Worldwide and Focus Group Corporation, 2004). Thus, recruiting transit tal- ent using traditional sources and approaches has proved not as useful as it once was, indicating that public transportation organizations need to use innovative and more effective recruitment strategies. Although public transportation organizations may have large numbers of applicants for some positions due to a weak economy, the quality and skill level of the applicants may not be sufficient. In fact, a strategic recruitment process takes on even greater value in a weakened econ- omy when there is an abundance of applicants that are unqualified or unlikely to be productive. Additionally, public transportation organizations have experienced a great deal of change in the past two decades that has pressured the industry to adjust its recruitment practices. Changes in the demographics of the available workforce are, in part, driving the recent concern that transportation organizations may be unprepared to effectively attract candidates to jobs (Cronin et al., 2011). With a large portion of the current generation of transportation workers eligible for retirement, the industry will be further challenged to fill those positions left vacant by very skilled veterans. Additional recruitment challenges for the public transportation industry are discussed in the following. Attracting minority candidates to jobs. Transportation organizations often struggle to achieve a diverse workforce that mirrors the demographics of the local area or the available workforce, with many organizations not recognizing how to effectively recruit women and eth- nic minorities (Cronin et al., 2011). Given that there are increasing numbers of women and minorities in the workforce that represent abundant talent (Skinner, 2000), public transpor- tation organizations must leverage the opportunities to recruit and attract these individuals, especially into more senior-level jobs. Further, given that individuals tend to gravitate in the workplace toward those similar to themselves, especially when seeking informal mentoring rela- tionships, it may prove particularly challenging for women and ethnic minorities to find these
1-6 Building a Sustainable Workforce in the Public Transportation IndustryâA Systems Approach developmental relationships due to a limited number of individuals in senior positions that share similar demographic characteristics. This concern, of course, varies from transit agency to transit agency, as well as by region of the country. Increased use of technology and an aging workforce. Employee recruitment is evolving, with many organizations moving from a traditional face-to-face approach to an online process (Cronin et al., 2011). While this may be effective in recruiting younger workers, older genera- tions with less exposure to technology may not have the experience or comfort level needed to use technology effectively. Thus, older employees, even with experience in public transportation jobs, may be less likely to apply for new open positions through electronic means. Competitive labor market. While the transit industry can attract employees by providing a variety of benefits, including health care, retirement plans, and special training programs, this may not be enough to recruit widely sought after, highly skilled applicants, particularly when other fields and industries offer similarly attractive benefit packages and other appeal- ing draws (Cronin et al., 2011). The demand for employees with skills similar to those required for public transportation industry careers is increasing, so transit organizations must take cre- ative approaches to recruiting potential employees and representing public transportation as an attractive career choice. 1.1.3 Impact of Effective Strategies When implemented, effective recruitment strategies bring high-quality applicants with appro- priate KSAs to the public transportation industry. Particular recruitment techniques, like devel- oping future applicant skills, increasing the number of applicants, and screening applicants, give the public transportation industry the ability to attract employees more effectively (Cronin et al., 2011). Public transportation organizations must also market themselves as attractive places to work to bring in candidates, while simultaneously being candid about the aspects of the job that initially may not be perceived as desirable. Effective recruitment will allow public transportation organizations to establish a full, competent, and effective workforce. Developing future applicant skills involves identifying methods for building skill sets during the K-12 and undergraduate years. The goal of these efforts is to prepare students for future employment in the transportation industry, which helps create a solid pipeline of talent for filling industry positions in the future. Strategies such as career days or scholarship programs can pique the interest of young people and help develop skills to prepare them for careers in the public transportation industry. Increasing the number of applicants also creates a larger pool from which to select qualified potential employees. Such efforts increase the awareness of open positions and attract more job seekers to the transportation industry. Specifically, the indus- try should look to attract more applicants from nontraditional demographic groups, including youth, women, military veterans, and retirees, that have unique and valuable skills sets but may be unaware of job opportunities in the industry (U.S. Department of Labor, Employment and Training Administration, 2004). Highlighting benefits of a job that would be most applicable to the candidates sought can also motivate potential applicants to apply for positions in transit agencies (KFH Group, Inc., 2008). By screening applicants properly, the public transportation industry can ensure that qualified employees are selected and hired. Transit organizations should implement initiatives to accu- rately and efficiently screen and select applicants that are most qualified for open positions. A realistic job preview (RJP) can show a candidate an honest depiction of the positive and nega- tive aspects of a position and screen for candidates that will actually accept both sides of the job. Interactive RJP approaches, like on-site tours and personal conversations, are likely to be more effective because they allow applicants to personally experience the job and ask questions (Breaugh, 2008).
Module 1: Tailor effective Strategies into Workforce Practices 1-7 1.1.4 Relationship to Image Management When public transportation organizations implement effective recruitment strategies, the impact reaches beyond attaining a high-quality workforce; the improvements in the workforce also positively affect the transit organizationâs image. Recruiting quality workers and the associated improvements in the systemâs effectiveness demonstrate to the public and potential employees that the organization understands the needs of employees and knows how to overcome challenges. The recruitment of effective workers and the overall improvement in organizational processes will also help market the public transportation organization as a desirable place to work. Effec- tive recruitment leads to higher retention rates, and low turnover is one indicator of an attrac- tive workplace. Further, low turnover often results in a positive message being communicated outside the organization to the future workforce. Implementing effective recruitment strategies, therefore, positively affects the recruitment cycle by improving the organizationâs image as an employer. Likewise, localized image management efforts can improve the efficiency and effec- tiveness with which public transportation organizations attract and recruit viable candidates. 1.1.5 Effective Recruitment Strategies To implement recruitment programs that will be successful in the public transportation industry, transit organizations can rely on a number of strategies that have been repeatedly demonstrated to be effective. Eleven strategies are presented in Table 1-2. Each table section begins with the title of the strategy and includes a description, steps to implement the strategy, and examples of successful programs based on the strategy. RECRUITMENT STRATEGY 1 Host Career Days for Students Description Key Implementation Steps Sample Programs Grade school and high school students seldom get exposure to highly specialized or technical fields (e.g., transit operations, vehicle maintenance) within their schoolsâ standard curricula. To develop a solid pipeline of future workers, the public transportation industry should focus on engaging young people early on. Career days are an effective way to pique interest in and educate young people about transit-related jobs and show students the applicability of the subjects they are learning in school to a potential career in the public transportation industry. Unlike job fairs, where employers and recruiters meet with prospective applicants to discuss job openings and specific organizations, career days are designed to introduce young people to the industry and get students thinking about potential careers (Cronin et al., 2011). Successful career days typically last between a half day and a full day and feature a combination of presentations and hands-on activities. Transit industry professionals can plan specialized presentations and describe the day-to-day activities of their jobs and the related skills and training necessary for that particular career. Students can try some of the physical tasks necessary for careers in the industry through hands-on activities and by observing professionals at work. Career days can be tailored toward different age groups, and depending on the audience and available resources, the event can occur either at the school or at a participating transit agency. The event can be structured with an assigned schedule, or students can determine which presentations or stations to attend. A take-home sheet including a list of resources for students who are interested in learning more about transit careers can be a helpful tool to provide further information and remind students of the dayâs events. Note: For transit agencies with collective bargaining agreements, union membership should be addressed for relevant positions such as frontline operations and maintenance job opportunities. â¢ Enlist a transit employee team to plan a schedule, recruit participants, and handle logistics. â¢ Determine the age range and number of attending students. â¢ Invite guest speakers at least 3 months in advance of the scheduled event. â¢ Engage school guidance counselors, teachers, and school administrators to tailor activities to the needs of the audience. â¢ Advertise the event to students and the community. â¢ Encourage students to anonymously submit questions in advance that may be answered at the event, or include a Q&A session at the end of the day. â¢ Organize a welcoming session as a prelude to the event. This can be an opportunity to introduce guests, explain the flow of the event, and express gratitude to partners and others who helped plan the career day. Light refreshments may be provided. â¢ Assign teachers to groups of students or stations to monitor student behavior, serve as a liaison for speakers, and collect event evaluations. American Public Transportation Association (APTA): Holds career days for K-12 students, with age-appropriate activities ranging from interactive demos to on-site job shadowing. These are opportunities to market transit careers to the next generation and help youth see how their skills can be applied in the public transportation industry. http://www.apta.com:80/resources/profdev/workforce/c areerday/Pages/default.aspx â¢ â¢ Technology for Alaskan Transportation: Students participate in hands-on activities, trying out tools and equipment used in construction. http://akconstructioncareerdays.org/ â¢ Rhode Island Construction Career Days: Participants interact with industry professionals and take part in hands-on activities. The center also hosts a weeklong construction academy for students interested in careers in construction. http://www.uritc.org/ccd/ â¢ Pierce County Career Day (WA): A county partnership holds a career day for the utilities, construction, and transportation industries. This event is designed to provide high school students with hands-on exposure to diverse and growing industries and to provide employers with a pipeline of potential future employees. http://www.buildingyourcareer.com/ccd/index.php â¢ Metropolitan Atlanta Rapid Transit Authority (MARTA): Hosted a job shadow day for 15 highly motivated students from Junior Achievement (JA) to learn about transit careers and what it takes to provide quality service. JA is a national educational organization focused on workforce development that partners with local businesses and encourages studentsâ long-term career goals. http://www.itsmarta.com/project-greenlight.aspx Table 1-2. Recruitment strategies. (continued on next page)
RECRUITMENT STRATEGY 2 Develop and Implement Internship and Scholarship Programs Description Key Implementation Steps Sample Programs With the current challenges of recruiting effective employees, public transportation organizations should establish initiatives to prepare for the workforce of the future. Internship and scholarship programs are mutually beneficial ways to provide opportunities for students to engage in public-transportationâ related activities and become excited about pursuing careers in the industry. An internship is any carefully monitored work or service experience in which a student has intentional learning goals and reflects actively on what he or she is learning. During the internship, interns should exercise real-world skills relevant to transit work (e.g., information technology, planning and engineering, vehicle and facility maintenance) in preparation for jobs that they may pursue in the industry. Internships can be paid or unpaid, and students can receive course credit in exchange for summer or short-term employment. The transportation organization benefits by getting inexpensive labor and developing a potential future workforce (Cronin et al., 2011). Also, with student interns on staff, organizations can give their professional staff the opportunity to work on special projects or other efforts. Scholarship programs provide financial assistance to students who intend to pursue education or careers in the public transportation industry. These programs allow students to receive scholarship funds by participating in a transportation internship program, winning an essay contest, committing to a technical training program, or some other demonstration of interest in and dedication to the field; students do not necessarily have to work for a public transportation organization to receive a scholarship. Internship and scholarship programs can be developed by the transportation organization itself, a school, or by a third-party institution geared toward career development for students. Note: Collective bargaining agreements should be considered in scholarship and internship programs, but typically these programs focus on technical skill development and education rather than the overall employment experience at transportation organizations. â¢ Establish the goals and structure of the program, qualifications for admission, and requirements for successful completion. â¢ Develop relationships with schools interested in career development and partnering organizations. â¢ Establish organizational buy-in by explaining the benefits of the program to the organization. â¢ Inform employees of the program and its requirements. â¢ Market the program to potential participants through publications, job fairs, and newsletters. â¢ Recruit and select qualified scholars and interns. â¢ Evaluate scholarship applicants objectively and present awards in a timely manner. â¢ Orient interns to the public transportation organization and their role and provide all necessary resources and instruction. â¢ Assess interns through an objective evaluation system to document their progress. â¢ Provide feedback to interns regarding their performance and areas where they excel or could improve. Kentucky Transportation Cabinet Civil Engineering Scholarship Program: Engineering students are given money for tuition in exchange for a year of employment after college graduation. http://www.nhi.fhwa.dot.gov/transworkforce/IP_ KY.PDF Orange County Transportation Authority (OCTA) Emerging Professionals Intern Program: Program in Orange County, CA, includes a yearlong paid program that provides an opportunity to gain transportation- industryâspecific experience and use problem-solving, communication, and decision-making skills. http://www.octa.net/jobs4.aspx â¢ â¢ â¢ Los Angeles Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA): Developed an internship program with the intention of examining talent to fill positions in the agency with students that have related academic interests. The program offers paid internships with assignments that can last up to 2 years, with reviews every 6 months. http://www.metro.net/about/jobs/internship- â¢ Oakland, CA, Bay Area Rapid Transit (BART): Developed a pre-apprenticeship program to recruit nontraditional employees for transportation-related construction roles. http://www.bart.gov/about/projects/oac/programs.aspx â¢ Conference of Minority Transportation Officials (COMTO): Offers a number of scholarships to students nationwide. Minority students interested in academic subjects related to transit, such as engineering, communications, urban studies, and management, are eligible. COMTO also partners with transportation organizations nationwide to offer internships in transportation. http://www.comto.org/?page=Scholarships opportunities/ RECRUITMENT STRATEGY 3 Implement Employee Referral Programs Description Key Implementation Steps Sample Programs Another good way to find appropriate candidates is through an employee referral program. Public transportation employee referral programs are an internal recruitment strategy in which current employees are awarded bonuses or other rewards for referring candidates who are hired for 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). Further, through casual social exchanges with their friends, current public transportation employees tend to provide information about the job, which is similar to an RJP and has been found to be a factor in the retention of new hires (Masternak, 2004). Employees also benefit from referral programs by developing a sense of connection to the organization by participating in the recruitment process and serving as an advocate for the organizationâs brand. Public transportation organizations benefit from referral programs by gaining access to candidates that are likely already aware of the job requirements and fit well with the job and the organization, saving on recruitment costs and hours. Employee referral programs are particularly effective for positions that are difficult to fill through other recruitment efforts, so public transportation organizations should determine which positions should be highlighted in employee referral programs. Note: Include requirements, procedures, and all relevant details of the program in the transportation organizationâs employee handbook. Agencies should involve union leadership in the planning for and implementation of employee referral programs. â¢ Determine specifications for the program (e.g., what constitutes a successful referral?) â¢ Decide program budget and allocate funds or resources for rewards. Determine the amount of individual rewards or bonuses. A charity donation is an option. â¢ Develop a comprehensive online system to streamline the referral process. â¢ Advertise the referral program to employees and list jobs for which referrals can be made. â¢ Offer a hard-to-hire bonus for employees who refer successful candidates for especially hard-to-recruit positions. â¢ Proactively approach employees that have ties to key feeder organizations (e.g., competitors, associations) to request assistance in recruiting or identifying potential employees from these organizations. â¢ Consider expanding the program to non- employees who might provide successful referrals, such as former employees or strategic partners. â¢ Offer supplemental bonuses to employees who refer very high- performing candidates or who refer the highest number of hired candidates during a specified time frame. 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 organization believes this added commitment enhances the quality of the referrals and increases success rates of new hires. (TCRP Synthesis 40, Moffat, Ashton, and Blackburn, 2001) â¢ â¢ SRA International: Employees receive a monetary reward for each successful referral, with the amount dependent on the position filled. http://www.sra.com/news/press- releases/2007/phoenix97bd.php â¢ Citibus: Increased the applicant pool for bus operator positions by offering a $500 incentive to employees successfully referring new bus operators. â¢ JBS Carriers: Every non-recruiting employee of JBS is entitled to a $1,000 award upon the hire 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 â¢ Aramark: Outlines the guidelines of its employee referral program in a document accessible via the companyâs website. The process requires the referring employee to enter the referralâs information and resumÃ© into the system. http://www.aramark.com/Careers/Employee- Referral-Program.aspx Table 1-2. (Continued).
RECRUITMENT STRATEGY 4 Recruit Nontraditional Applicants Description Key Implementation Steps Sample Programs In todayâs evolving workforce, public transportation organizations may struggle to find a sufficient number of quality employees within the pool of traditional candidates. Thus, it is critical for transportation organizations to implement programs to recruit applicants from groups not traditionally associated with the transportation industry. Many programs designed to recruit nontraditional applicants are aimed toward recruiting employees with different demographic backgrounds from typical employees (Cronin et al., 2011). These programs aimed at recruiting nontraditional applicants increase the visibility of transit-related jobs in minority communities and help transportation organizations recruit and hire applicants from underrepresented demographic groups (Cronin et al., 2012). Not only will these efforts help bring in qualified candidates, but also the transportation organization will work toward branding itself as an employer that embraces diversity. Examples of applicants that may be considered less traditional in the public transportation industry include minorities, women, veterans, people with disabilities, and retirees. Specifically, public transportation should consider recruiting talent from demographic groups it serves that can benefit from continued services (e.g., hire Spanish-speaking employees to help serve Spanish-speaking patrons). To increase visibility and encourage nontraditional applicants to apply, transportation organizations should promote industry jobs via the Internet, press releases, community centers, vocational training programs, and other places likely to attract nontraditional job seekers. Outreach should highlight the organizationâs ability to accommodate specific groups (e.g., flexible hours for working parents, accessibility for persons with disabilities). Note: Unionized employees that are members of underrepresented demographic groups can be helpful participants in nontraditional applicant recruitment efforts. It may be a good idea to get buy-in from the union by demonstrating that this recruitment process can be successful. â¢ Identify target minority subgroups and relevant partners based on the needs of the transit organization and demographics of the surrounding community. â¢ Establish community partnerships with minority organizations or other groups that may include the desired applicants, and conduct information sessions to educate partners about the public transportation organization. â¢ Tap into veteransâ transition programs and vocational training programs. â¢ Attract nontraditional applicants by marketing the fact that they will help break down stereotypes of certain demographics dominating the transportation industry. â¢ Target students by marketing flexible schedules and the earning of extra cash. â¢ Offer training or other necessary support for prospective applicants (e.g., training on work-life balance for new parents, language skills training if employees will serve customers who speak a different language). â¢ Offer training materials in English as a second language (ESL) format for non-English speaking candidates. Minnesota Department of Transportation (DOT) Community Advisors on Recruitment and Retention Solutions (CARRS): Partners with local minority organizations to increase the visibility of the DOT in minority communities and help recruit a diverse workforce. http://www.dot.state.mn.us/jobs/mncarrs.html â¢ â¢ Transit Authority of River City, Louisville, KY: Developed a recruitment initiative aimed at young, single parents, and included a mentoring program. â¢ San Diego Public Transit: Recruits retired military veterans from the local population. http://www.sdmts.com/HR/HR_Employment.asp â¢ Mass Transportation Authority (Flint, MI): Reached out to local universities, the disabled community, and Michigan Work First programs that are designed to connect Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) recipients and recipients of other noncash assistance (e.g., daycare, Medicaid) with jobs in the labor market. This program brought in talented professionals and increased the candidate pool as well as workforce diversity. The organization also has a wounded veterans internship program through which veterans who cannot return to their previous jobs in the military can find placement opportunities. http://www.michigan.gov/mdot/0,4616,7-151- 9623_38029_61350---,00.html â¢ Access Johnson County Public Transit: Recruits through a variety of means, including the local employment office, impact programs (TANF recipients), and community meetings and events. RECRUITMENT STRATEGY 5 Establish Applicant Screening Process Description Key Implementation Steps Sample Programs Because the recruitment and hiring process is time- consuming and costly, public transportation organizations should implement a system for efficiently screening applicants and selecting a smaller number of those most qualified to move through the hiring process. Organizations can establish a screening process to identify those applicants that are less likely to become high-performing employees and remove them from the applicant pool, thus retaining the applicants that are most likely to do well in the organization (Cronin et al., 2011). While screening can happen in person or during an interview, earlier screening saves hiring managers time and brings in the most qualified applicants through the later part of the selection process. The effective implementation of a formal applicant screening strategy requires preparing hiring managers to screen candidates for eligibility and competency (e.g., technical ability, management skills; Cronin et al., 2011). For example, if a specific certification is required for a job, the application should request this information. Hiring managers and current transit employees can provide valuable input into process development for a screening system because of their familiarity with required transit skills and knowledge of what it takes to fit into the culture of the public transportation organization. A screening process also allows candidates to determine whether they are a good fit with the organization prior to employment, thereby ensuring that qualified and interested candidates are kept in the recruitment process and eventually hired. Note: The details of the collective bargaining agreement should be reviewed to assess any implications for the screening processes, and union membership (when applicable to the job) should be featured in the selection process as a benefit to employment. â¢ Work with managers and employees to identify qualities that determine eligibility, competency, and fit with the organization. â¢ Establish specific qualifications for each open job position by conducting a job analysis. â¢ Determine the most effective method to identify necessary competencies or requirements in applicants (e.g., cover letter, survey) for an initial screening process. â¢ Ask high-level screening questions on application forms that identify basic qualifications required for job positions. â¢ Prepare notifications for applicants who do not pass the screening criteria. â¢ Develop interview protocols that assess key qualifications not addressed in earlier screening processes. â¢ Instruct hiring managers on the requirements to look for in interviewees. Southeastern Pennsylvania Transportation Authority (SEPTA) Applicant Pre-Employment Behavioral Assessments: Uses an off-the-shelf behavioral assessment to screen applicants for public-facing jobs (e.g., bus operator, maintenance custodian) to identify applicants suited for the customer service demands of the job. Using this practice has increased customer satisfaction survey ratings. http://www.vangent- hcm.com/Solutions/SelectionAssessments/GeneralAsse ssments1/PSI/ â¢ â¢ Southwest Airlines: Assesses how job candidates will affect the overall operation of the airline and interact with other employees. Culture fit is very important to the organization. During the screening process, it determines whether the candidate can work hard, put customers first, and have fun. http://www.southwest.com/html/about- southwest/careers/culture.html â¢ CityBuild Academy: Conducts 20-hour job readiness training that helps to determine which applicants are best qualified for the job. http://workforcedevelopmentsf.org/trainingprograms/in dex.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=68&It emid=74 â¢ The State of Iowa: Developed an applicant screening guide for use by all departments within the state. The guide includes aptitude tests, physical requirements checks, legal protection statutes, and reference checks. http://das.hre.iowa.gov/documents/publications/applica nt_screening_manual.pdf Table 1-2. (Continued). (continued on next page)
RECRUITMENT STRATEGY 6 Incorporate Realistic Job Previews Description Key Implementation Steps Sample Programs To give candidates an understanding of the jobs for which they are applying, public transportation organizations should provide the opportunity for applicants to preview actual day-to-day activities of the agency. An RJP is a recruiting approach that communicates important aspects of the job to an applicant (Office of Personnel Management, 2012). RJPs present accurate descriptions of both positive and less favorable aspects of a job, providing applicants with information about the tasks and responsibilities of the position. This information also allows applicants to form accurate expectations of the job so that they are ultimately more prepared and satisfied when they begin work. Research shows that RJPs enhance new-employee commitment and ultimately reduce turnover (Masternak, 2004; McEvoy and Cascio, 1985). Without RJPs, there is significant risk that the organization will spend time and resources hiring and training an individual, only to discover later that the person was not a match with the requirements of the job. RJPs can take a number of formats (e.g., printed or virtual), and they can incorporate live question-and-answer periods or a video. Additionally, applicants for frontline positions could take a tour of the maintenance shop or ride a transit vehicle as part of an RJP. Given the unique nature of the public transportation industry as well as the stressors involved in many transit frontline positions, it is critical that applicants see an honest picture of the job they are considering so they can withdraw themselves if they do not fit that job. RJPs can also serve as a tool to get candidates interested in the transportation industry. In addition to being candid about the challenges of the job, RJPs should highlight the reasons current employees enjoy their jobs. RJPs serve as a self-screening process that reduces employee turnover and enhances new-employee commitment, benefitting both the public transportation organization and the applicant. Note: If there is a collective bargaining agreement in place, the RJP should include an accurate depiction of applicantsâ future union-based requirements. â¢ Determine the specific tasks and the important positive and negative job aspects to communicate to applicants. This could incorporate gathering information from current transit employees on the best and most difficult parts of the job or aspects of the job that they were not expecting. â¢ Identify the medium/media through which information will be delivered (e.g., oral presentation, video, brochure, bus/rail ride-along, tour, computer simulation). â¢ Develop the RJP to present information about the job to applicants. â¢ Include aspects of the job that have historically surprised new hires and caused turnover. â¢ Highlight a balance of positive and challenging aspects of the job likely to interest candidates. â¢ Consider two-way approaches to presenting the RJP that allow participants to discuss and ask questions about the job. â¢ Follow up with new hires to determine if the RJP presented an accurate representation of what they are now experiencing. Jefferson Transit (WA): Provides realistic comments about the job from employees, such as âThis is the hardest, most underappreciated job youâll ever love.â â¢ â¢ OCCK, Inc.: Includes employee videos on their website that describe a typical day on the job and some of its challenges. â¢ Shaker Consulting Group, Virtual Job Tryout: Developed an interactive, online tool for Starbucks that allows candidates to learn about Starbucks and virtually try out the job. This is a highly engaging tool that collects performance data from the applicant. Applicants noted that the RJP helped them gain a better understanding of the job. http://shakercg.com/virtual-job-tryout/virtual-job- tryout-snapshot â¢ J Rayl Transport, Inc.: Includes a self-assessment survey asking about work preferences that is not scored by the hiring team and is for the applicantâs benefit only. Candidates add up scores and are led to a key where they are told whether being a professional truck driver is a good match for them. https://jrayl.jobs/Truck_Driver_Self- Assessment.pdf â¢ Halifax Metro Transit (Nova Scotia): Applicants complete a survey regarding work preferences and skills. If a candidate answers âNoâ to more than one question, a transit operator job might not be the right fit for them. â¢ Washington State DOT, Use of Social Media: Incorporates, into social media platforms, interviews with employees who describe their experiences working for the DOT, favorite parts of the job, and challenges experienced on a day-to-day basis. Videos are uploaded to YouTube and other social networking sites when a job opening occurs. RECRUITMENT STRATEGY 7 Highlight Employee Benefits Description Key Implementation Steps Sample Programs One of the challenges of recruiting talent in the public transportation industry is that individuals with highly relevant technical skills are likely to seek employment with organizations that offer a more competitive wage. Often the employee benefit package is one of the greatest attractions of a public transportation position. This aspect should be highlighted at every possible opportunity, particularly if salary and wages are less than competitive with similar organizations (KFH Group, Inc., 2008). To attract candidates, public transportation organizations should emphasize workplace benefits such as medical and dental insurance coverage for self and dependents, vacation and sick leave, and retirement savings packages. As described in TCRP Report 139, emphasis should also be placed on the desirable aspects of the job or fringe benefits, such as convenient location, discounted transit, and flexible scheduling (Anderson et al., 2010). Additionally, emphasis should be placed on transit benefits that are attractive to employees but not offered at other organizations. Benefits should be highlighted in all places where job listings are advertised, like the organizationâs website, posts via associations, and job boards. Highlighted benefits should be tailored to spark interest for any targeted populations. Highlighting the unique benefits that a transit agency offers, such as discounted transportation and flexible hours, will likely draw applicants who may have considered applying for positions in the transit industry but need extra incentive to make a decision to apply. Further, applicants that originally may not have considered transit jobs might be persuaded to apply if they see benefits that match their needs. Note: When individuals are applying for positions within the transit collective bargaining unit, it is important to emphasize the benefits that are available to union members. â¢ Identify target applicant pool and determine the type(s) of benefits that will likely apply to and be of interest to these individuals. â¢ Review the transit benefits package and identify which benefits would be most attractive to candidates; review literature on benefits that have low cost/high return on investment (ROI; e.g., child care subsidy). â¢ Use employee surveys to ask current employees about presently offered benefits that are the most valuable to them. â¢ Determine if the benefit plan needs to be altered to provide benefits that will be more attractive to applicants and employees. â¢ Tailor advertising to the targeted market. For example, emphasize leadership opportunities in ads at colleges, highlight a child care subsidy in publications that parents are likely to read, or describe flexible hours in advertising directed toward students, retirees, and individuals looking for a second job. â¢ Highlight benefits in all forms of advertising, including print, online, social media, and radio/television ads. Atomic City Transit (Los Alamos, NM): Advertises benefits and reports that the benefits package is a major draw for applicants. The agency provides insurance, competitive compensation, retirement plan options, generous leave accruals, an employee wellness program, flexible spending accounts, and tuition assistance. http://www.losalamosnm.us/jobs/Pages/Joblistings.aspx â¢ â¢ Souris Basin Transportation (Minot, ND): Offers a very competitive benefits package to overcome recruitment challenges. The organization provides 100% employer-paid health care, dental, and vision premium for employee coverage. (TCRP Report 139, Anderson et al., 2010) â¢ Pee Dee Regional Transportation Authority (PDRTA): Provides a retirement plan, 401(k), and health insurance that are competitive with those offered by the state of South Carolina. (TCRP Report 139, Anderson et al., 2010) â¢ South Central Adult Services Council, Inc.: Offers flexible work schedules to employees, which has been shown to be an attractive feature even when wages are not high. â¢ Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority: Lists a number of specific and intangible benefits on its jobs website, including leave, flexible work schedules, tuition assistance, a retirement plan, competitive salary, growth potential, and complimentary transportation benefits. The site mentions that benefit packages differ slightly between bargaining and non-bargaining units. http://www.wmata.com/careers/ â¢ Red Rose Transit Authority (Lancaster, PA): Employment section of their website highlights the flexible schedule benefits for part-time employees, along with other perks, including competitive salary and a team-oriented workplace. http://www.redrosetransit.com/employment.html Table 1-2. (Continued).
RECRUITMENT STRATEGY 8 Use Social Networking Description Key Implementation Steps Sample Programs In todayâs world of advanced technology, social media plays a huge role in keeping people informed and connected. As such, public transportation organizations should take advantage of social media in their recruitment processes to the greatest extent possible. Transit systems can create accounts or start groups on social networking sites to post job openings and disseminate relevant information to a wide audience at a low cost (Anderson et al., 2010). This can be an effective means to reach applicants and provide information about an open position or the public transportation industry as a whole. Transit organizations should consider highlighting professional development opportunities, the dynamic nature of the workplace, employee testimonials, and the benefits of the job (Cronin et al., 2010). A social media presence and having many âlikesâ or âfollowersâ (i.e., individuals who subscribe to the sites or indicate they support or have some affiliation with the organization) increase visibility and therefore increase the number of potential candidates reached. This online presence also provides an easy, one-click process for fans and followers of a public transportation site to forward job posts by re- posting or tweeting. Public transportation organizations should also use hiring websites such as CareerBuilder and Monster to maximize online presence in areas where job seekers are likely to look for open positions. These sites also allow organizations to advertise vacancies on their sites. Through social networking sites, public transportation organizations can allow applicants to sign up to receive e-mails about new job postings or other information. Transit agencies can also provide links to their own online recruitment sites via social media, allowing for easy access to the employment section of their website through sites such as LinkedIn or Facebook. Note: Consider highlighting the benefits of union membership on social networking sites. â¢ Identify appropriate social networking sites to promote the organization as well as advertise open jobs. â¢ Post job descriptions for open positions, benefits information, contacts at the organization, FAQs, and information on recruiting events. â¢ Include a job of the week to highlight a variety of careers that are available within the public transportation industry and the specific transit organization. â¢ Display links prominently on the organizationâs social networking pages hosted on the company website. â¢ Encourage employees to join the organizationâs social media groups to increase online presence. â¢ Offer prizes to encourage communicating with the organization via social media. For example, give a prize to the 1,000th person to like your Facebook page, or other incentives for connecting to the organization via social media. â¢ Connect with transportation agencies in other geographic areas to attract industry workers that may be relocating (e.g., post links to out- of-town job opportunities on an organizationâs site). www.LinkedIn.com: The worldâs largest professional network on the Internet. â A contact network consisting of direct and indirect connections (termed second-degree connections and third-degree connections). â Can be used to find jobs, people, and business opportunities recommended by someone in oneâs contact network. â Employers can list jobs and search for candidates. â Job seekers can review the profile of hiring managers and see if their existing contacts can introduce them. â Users can follow companies and receive notifications about new job openings. â Users can save (i.e., bookmark) jobs they like. â¢ â¢ http://www.transitjobs.com: Enables transit job seekers to post resumÃ©s and search jobs at no cost, and enables transit employers to post positions and search resumÃ©s. â¢ Washington State DOT: Uses a variety of social media applications such as Twitter, Facebook, MySpace, and YouTube to provide potential applicants with information about jobs from current employees. http://www.wsdot.wa.gov/ (see âStay Connectedâ) â¢ South Lane Wheels: Posts job openings on Craigslist as a primary recruiting source due to a limited budget. http://southlanewheels.org/ â¢ The Port Authority of Allegheny County: Uses transit-specific publications like APTAâs Passenger Transport and the state transit associationâs publications to post job openings. â¢ Mass Transportation Authority (Flint, MI): Uses Monster online, association papers, and local newspapers to recruit potential employees. RECRUITMENT STRATEGY 9 Develop Student Curriculum or Training Programs Description Key Implementation Steps Sample Programs When a public transportation organization establishes a system for potential candidates to receive training required for jobs in the industry, it is helping create a pipeline of skilled candidates. This strategy involves developing a set of detailed educational tools to teach relevant skills and promote the public transportation industry to young people. This type of program can be particularly effective in developing candidate pools for entry-level positions that require either technical or administrative skill sets. With a detailed curriculum, an organization can deliver programs to schools interested in developing studentsâ skills through practical exercises. These curricula can be designed to reach a range of target audiences, from middle and high school students just starting to learn about chemistry and physical sciences to students learning very technical processes and advanced assignments in technical colleges and almost ready to begin jobs in the transportation industry (Cronin et al., 2011). These ready-made curricula do not require schools to develop something specific to teach their students about the industry, but rather provide all materials required to develop future transit employees. Transit training programs are another excellent way to develop skilled candidates. Rather than providing curricula to schools, organizations can invite students to participate in programs on-site at their organization or can lead programs at local schools or training centers. Like the curricula concept, training programs can be tailored toward younger students or older, more advanced students nearly ready to join the workforce. Public transportation organizations should include lessons and exercises that are directly relevant to the jobs for which they hope to increase their applicant pool. Note: Union leadership can be helpful in designing student curricula for frontline operations and maintenance positions. â¢ Identify transit jobs for which the candidate pipeline needs the greatest strengthening and for which entry-level employees are appropriate. â¢ Identify the skill sets necessary for the identified jobs through job analysis or review of job materials, such as the job description. â¢ Work with instructional designers to develop training programs or student curricula that focus on desired skill sets, including basic instruction, special programs, and assessments. â¢ Market the curricula or training materials to local schools, after-school programs, or other organizations with interested individuals. â¢ Disseminate curricula to schools or youth programs that demonstrate interest in teaching it to their students. â¢ Conduct training programs on site or at participating schools that are easily accessible to students. â¢ Keep consistent and organized documentation of curricula and educational programs for future use and improvement. â¢ Smart Moves, Intercity Transit, Olympia, WA: Conducts classroom lessons for youth that address climate, health, and safety issues, and promotes the use of transit. http://www.intercitytransit.com/programs/youthprograms/Pages /default.aspx â¢ Transportation You: Developed by Advancing Women in Transportation, this program provides hands-on, interactive programs that offer young girls an introduction to transportation careers. http://www.transportationyou.org/ â¢ Delaware Department of Transportation: Provides a Summer Transportation Institute for high school students designed to spark an interest in transportation careers. http://deldot.gov/information/media_gallery/2005/sum_trans/in dex.shtml â¢ Canadian Urban Transit Association: Offers a number of training courses in areas like transit planning, transit supervision, and advanced scheduling and recruiting to enhance professional skills. http://www.cutaactu.ca/en/educationandtraining/training_ courses.asp â¢ Regional Transportation District (RTD), Denver, CO: Partners with community and technical colleges and industry training programs to offer driver training for entry-level through advanced skills development. RTD provides employees with job-required training via conferences, employee development classes, software training, and other educational benefits that will enhance employeesâ professional development. http://www.rtd-denver.com/Careers_Benefits.shtml â¢ TransTech Academy, Cardozo Senior High School, Washington, D.C.: Exposes high school students to the public transportation industry and opportunities for higher education in the field. This program provides students with career planning assistance and job opportunities in the Washington, D.C., metro area. The program has been successful, with over 85% of participants being accepted into higher education programs. http://transtechacademy.com/index.htm Table 1-2. (Continued). (continued on next page)
RECRUITMENT STRATEGY 10 Use Structured Interview Protocols Description Key Implementation Steps Sample Programs In determining whether candidates are a good match for a specific position and the organization, public transportation organizations should conduct consistent and thorough interviews. Organizations should develop standardized interview questions that are behaviorally based, relevant to the job, and used consistently across all interviews for the position. This allows interviewers to make selection decisions based on objective factors that predict job performance rather than subjective opinions about the applicant, as described in TCRP Report 139 (Anderson et al., 2010). In addition to the traditional question-and-answer format, the structured interview process can include case-study and role- play activities that require applicants to respond to specific transit- based scenarios, particularly in the areas of customer service, managing conflict, and emergency response. TCRP Report 148 describes how structured interviews can gather not only a candidateâs thoughts and expressions of fit and interest, but also an understanding of their reasoning and problem-solving skills or other competencies (Washington et al., 2011). Questions should be open-ended and allow a candidate to demonstrate his or her knowledge, skills, and understanding of the role and the organization. Structured interviews follow a standardized protocol, but they can also allow a certain level of flexibility based on individual applicant responses. Standardized protocols also promote fairness in the hiring process by ensuring that each interviewee is presented with the same questions in the same order, helping to eliminate the effect of the interviewer. In other words, because the administration of all interviews should be consistent, differences across applicants should be due to the skills of the applicant and not the interview setting or procedures. Interviewers should be trained on facilitating the structured interview process and should understand the importance of consistency throughout the process. Note: Union members can be helpful in developing structured interview protocols by providing input on behaviors and skills relevant to frontline transit positions. â¢ Conduct a job analysis to identify KSAs that are necessary for each transit job position. â¢ Develop a standardized interview protocol that aims to gather information on and understand candidatesâ levels of relevant KSAs. â¢ Include questions about candidatesâ past behavior on other jobs and in relevant situations. â¢ Include scenario-based questions that allow candidates to demonstrate relevant skills and how they would respond to situations on the job. â¢ Consider key challenges encountered on the job and include interview questions asking candidates how they would respond to these challenges. â¢ Pilot test and validate protocols to ensure that they measure job-related characteristics. â¢ Create an interview administration guide that outlines and describes the entire interview process. â¢ Train all interviewers on the interview administration guide and interview protocol to ensure full understanding of the process. All interviewers should know how to conduct the interviews and who to contact if there are questions. â¢ The Port Authority of Allegheny County: Uses a competency-based interview model for all candidates that was developed by a vendor that also trains users on how to implement the protocol. (TCRP Report 139, Anderson et al., 2010) â¢ Transfort: Conducts structured interviews to emphasize consistency across interviewers and simplify scoring. Candidates interview with both frontline employees and management. (TCRP Report 139, Anderson et al., 2010) â¢ Havasu Area Transit (AZ): Uses consistent interview protocols for all candidates to emphasize consistency across interviewers and facilitate easier scoring of interviewees. (TCRP Report 139, Anderson et al., 2010) â¢ Centre Area Transportation Authority: Uses structured interviews that are developed based on the competencies required for a position. Applicants are asked to describe examples from their experience that relate to the competencies, with the same questions asked of all applicants. This practice has improved the quality of hires, increased retention, and led to a better cultural fit between new employees and the organization. â¢ Transportation Security Administration (TSA): Applicants that advance beyond the initial assessment for various positions are invited to complete a structured interview. Those who successfully complete the interview are then referred for selection consideration. TSA explains this process in depth on its website. http://tsacareercoaching.tsa.dhs.gov/index.php /federal-applications-part-4-the-interview/ RECRUITMENT STRATEGY 11 Target Candidates from Other Industries Description Key Implementation Steps Sample Programs and Resources Due to workforce shortages, public transportation organizations should be open-minded when identifying prospective candidates. To bolster the pipeline of future industry workers, organizations can seek to recruit professionals from other industries that already have transit-relevant skills and experience. Many jobs from other industries mirror work requirements for transit jobs (Herzog, Cleary, and Shen, 2012). For example, a private-sector lawyer may be able to transition with little training into general counsel in a public transportation organization. Further, skills required of an information technology (IT) employee elsewhere may translate into effective performance in a transit IT job with minimal training. While jobs within other industries may not share similar job descriptions with transit jobs, the required skill sets may be comparable. For example, when recruiting ticket sales and customer service transit manager positions, recruiters should look toward other service-oriented jobs (e.g., customer service representatives, sales people) in industries such as health care, insurance, and media. As another example, to fill safety- or security-related jobs in public transportation organizations, recruiters can target professionals in areas like law enforcement, occupational health and safety, and security services. Additionally, driver and mechanic jobs from other industries lend themselves to transit transferability. To attract workers from other industries, transportation organizations should highlight the similarities between the candidatesâ current or former job and the skills necessary for a new job in the transportation industry (Herzog, Cleary, and Shen, 2012). A public transportation organization should emphasize its need for individual specialized skills that are also used in other industries and how these skills relate, as well as the benefits of working in the public transportation industry. Note: The implications of union membership should be discussed with or featured for prospective candidates, particularly for applicants coming from non-union settings. â¢ Identify public transportation jobs that are difficult to fill and may lend themselves well to specialized recruitment in other industries. â¢ Conduct a job analysis to develop a list of relevant KSAs necessary for each of the target jobs. â¢ Use publically available, research-supported information that provides cross-industry occupational information (e.g., the O*NET online job resource tool). â¢ Identify shrinking industries with jobs comparable to those in public transportation to target candidates who may be influenced to join the public transportation industry. â¢ Advertise job openings and highlight transferable skills and the benefits of transitioning to public transportation from other industries. â¢ Tailor recruitment toward the needs and interests of those more likely to change careers, for example recent graduates, ex-military, part-time workers, and older adults soon to retire. John J. Heldrich Center for Workforce Development at Rutgers, the State University of New Jersey: Compiled a group of guides for job seekers to understand the necessary skills for various jobs in the transportation industry. The guides list job groups and the necessary competencies and experience for each job, as well as other industries that are likely to include jobs that require similar skill sets. Transportation organizations can use these resources to identify other industries that might lend themselves to career changers and potential transit employees. http://www.heldrich.rutgers.edu/sites/default/files/co ntent/FTA_Occupational_Guidebook_Final.pdf http://www.heldrich.rutgers.edu/sites/default/files/co ntent/Poster_Overview_Introduction_Final.pdf http://www.heldrich.rutgers.edu/press-room/most- recent-publications â¢ â¢ Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS): The BLS website is a great resource for understanding what transportation jobs entail and what skills and education are required for various positions. Employers can use this tool to identify industries that have similar needs and demands. http://www.bls.gov/ooh/transportation-and-material- moving/home.htm â¢ Workforce Solutions of Central Texas: Online resource that divides skills into three categories: job- specific, transferable, and self-management. When candidates are able to identify their skills from their current or former position, they can see how the skills match up with those necessary for jobs in the transportation industry. http://www.workforcelink.com/newworkforce/assess .htm Table 1-2. (Continued).
Module 1: Tailor effective Strategies into Workforce Practices 1-13 1.2 Retention Overview This section provides an overview of effective retention strategies that are relevant to public transportation organi- zations. The introductory text provides an overview of the features of retention programs, some of the challenges that drive the need for effective strategies, the impact of strate- gic retention initiatives, and the relationship of retention to public transportation industry image-management efforts. 1.2.1 Description Workforce retention refers to a public transportation orga- nizationâs ability to keep existing employees, especially top performers, from leaving the organization by minimizing vol- untary or involuntary turnover. Although some turnover may be desirable as low performers exit the organization, many transit systems find that implementing strategies to reduce turnover, especially voluntary turnover, can be a cost-effective approach to maintain trained and acquired skills and minimize recruit- ment and training costs, particularly in challenging economic times (Cronin et al., 2012). To reduce employee turnover, orga- nizations typically undertake efforts to monitor and increase employee job satisfaction as well as organizational commitment (Cronin et al., 2012). A focus on retention is also important given the number of new hires that may be required to replace retiring baby boomers. Studies show that turnover rates are high during the first year of employment, higher in years two and three, and then steadily decrease the longer an employee stays at an organization (Hom, Roberson, and Ellis, 2008). Without proven retention strategies, public transportation organizations will likely struggle to maintain a capable workforce. 1.2.2 Challenges for Public Transportation Public transportation organizations have several tools avail- able to attract employees, including an offer of stable employ- ment and a variety of work-life benefits, such as health insurance, retirement plans, vacation plans, and special training programs. However, this may not be enough to retain employees in the long term given the workforce challenges facing the public transpor- tation industry. Example challenges for public transportation include the following. Increasing demand on transit systems. TCRP Report 77 (McGlothlin Davis, Inc., 2002) showed an increasing demand in public transportation for employees from specialized fields and strong competition from other industries for these same skilled workers. This results in fewer experienced and qualified applicants to replace those who leave. This pattern of high demand and limited supply of quali- fied employees is particularly challenging for systems with paratransit operations. TCRP Report 142 (Thatcher et al., 2010) found that only 29% of contracted paratransit providers were able to maintain a full staff of vehicle operators. Retention Strategy Highlights Â¾ Important Elements â¢ Monitor and increase job satisfaction and organiza- tional commitment. â¢ Provide attractive benefit packages. â¢ Adjust to demands of changing workforce. â¢ Develop innovative solutions to manage cultural differences. â¢ Reward strong performers. â¢ Promote diverse skill development. Professional Capacity Building Recruitment Processes Training and Develop- ment Retention Processes Â¾ Key Challenges Facing Public Transportation â¢ Increasing demand on transit systems. â¢ Rapidly changing workforce and job requirements. â¢ Less-than-competitive salaries. â¢ Retention of minority and nontraditional employees. Â¾ 10 Effective Retention Strategies â¢ Create dual career tracks. â¢ Create advancement within positions. â¢ Implement employee mentoring programs. â¢ Offer alternative benefit packages. â¢ Assess/improve organizational culture. â¢ Implement a rewards program. â¢ Improve existing work schedule. â¢ Recruit/promote current employees. â¢ Establish diversity goals and policies. â¢ Emphasize job enrichment.
1-14 Building a Sustainable Workforce in the Public Transportation IndustryâA Systems Approach Rapidly changing workforce and job requirements. Both the public transportation workforce and the nature of work at transit organizations are changing rapidly. Technological improvements may push aging employees out of the workforce as job functions require more technological skills (Cronin et al., 2012). Additionally, younger workers typically expect more support from their employers in terms of work-life balance and flexible work arrangements (Zemke, Raines, and Filipczak, 2000). Lower salaries. TCRP Report 77 (McGlothlin Davis, Inc., 2002) reported that most transit man- agers had a starting salary of between $40,000 and $49,000. While these salaries were on the upper end of public-sector salaries when the study was conducted, the feedback from transit managers indicates that transit salaries remain low, especially compared with private-sector salaries. TCRP Report 127 (KFH Group, Inc., 2008) showed that both wages and benefits are positively correlated with the number of employees in an organization; thus, smaller, rural transit systems are likely to have even lower per-employee wages and benefits. Small public transportation organizations are more likely to rely on part-time and non-union employees, possibly adding to retention challenges. Retention of minority and nontraditional employees. As reported in numerous transporta- tion studies, including NCHRP Report 685 (Cronin et al., 2011), the retirement of the baby boomers is yielding a workforce that is younger and more diverse than ever, presenting a number of challenges for public transportation organizations and requiring innovative solutions. NCHRP Report 693 (Cronin et al., 2012) suggested that cross-cultural differences resulting from the increasing diversity of the workforce can have important consequences for employee retention at transit systems. For example, one participant reported encountering communication issues due to language barriers among staff. 1.2.3 Impact of Effective Strategies The impact of organizational policies, practices, and culture on retention is complex, and each organization should align its retention strategies with its individual goals and challenges. In general, though, retention strategies focus on improving employee engagement, satisfaction, morale, motivation, organizational commitment, and competency to retain a capable workforce (Cronin et al., 2011; Cronin et al., 2012). A number of studies have shown the direct positive effects that the retention strategies pre- sented in this section can have on public transportation organizations. For example, many organi- zations have successfully implemented employee incentive systems to reward strong performance. Direct cash bonuses can be used not only to make employees feel valued, but also to encourage desirable behaviors (Cronin et al., 2011). Strategies that encourage work-life balance for employ- ees can also reduce attrition rates and improve performance, especially among women and low- income individuals. Providing resources and referral services for child care and elder care, as well as providing legal services, enables individuals to address personal needs that might otherwise distract from work performance or force employees to resign. Furthermore, organizations found success when they provided legalization and immigration counseling to employees who, if forced to leave the country to avoid deportation, would contribute to attrition and perhaps important skill deficits (Cronin et al., 2011). Additionally, ensuring that employees are in roles that fit their career goals and work styles translates into satisfaction and, thereby, retention (Amundson, 2007). For example, younger workers typically prefer greater autonomy, responsibility, mentorship, rec- ognition, and a deeper sense of community at work (Amundson, 2007; Izzo and Withers, 2001), whereas older workers want to stay involved in work activities longer. Given this, it is important to consider workersâ personal needs when assigning tasks and developing career paths since this can have a strong, positive impact on employee retention (Harrington-Hughes and Associates, Inc., 2010). A lack of understanding about cultural differences can sometimes present challenges in the retention of minority employees, but some organizations have found success with mentoring programs geared to address this issue. NCHRP Report 685 (Cronin et al., 2011) reported that some transportation agencies developed successful programs for pairing junior employees with senior employees that share the same ethnicity to discuss their career paths and goals.
Module 1: Tailor effective Strategies into Workforce Practices 1-15 1.2.4 Relationship to Image Management Policies that demonstrate a commitment to retaining existing employees project the image of an organization that values its employees. Likewise, an organization that effectively com- municates its efforts to improve job satisfaction and make all employees feel they are a valuable part of the team is likely to have lower turnover. Public transportation organizations may have industry-specific image problems that require targeted strategies to overcome. For example, the majority of the management workforce at some transit agencies consists of older Caucasian males, which could signal to female employees that there is little chance of advancing, prompting attrition among this demographic. Another common problem is that the bureaucratic nature of many transportation organizations can make employees feel that their perspectives have not been adequately addressed (Cronin et al., 2011). Often, policy changes that positively affect one group may cause another group to become dissatisfied. By surveying current employees as well as those who leave the organization, public transportation organizations can determine the factors affecting retention and craft their image management strategies around them. 1.2.5 Effective Retention Strategies To implement retention programs that will be successful in the industry, transit organizations can rely on a number of strategies that have been proven effective. Ten strategies are presented in Table 1-3. Each section of the table begins with the title of the strategy and includes a description, steps to implement the strategy, and examples of successful programs based on the strategy. RETENTION STRATEGY 1 Create Dual Career Tracks for Managers and Technical Experts Description Key Implementation Steps Sample Programs Transit organizations often find it challenging to achieve and sustain the optimal balance of managerial and technical expertise in professional-level positions. Instead of locking all employees into a single career path, public transportation organizations should consider creating dual career paths for key talent who show substantial potential but may lean heavily to one side of the managerialâtechnical spectrum. Creating dual career paths can allow high-potential frontline employees with strong interpersonal skills to move into supervisory and management positions, while other high- potential employees with specialized technical expertise but less proficiency in interpersonal skills are also able to advance (Cronin et al., 2011). Varying levels within the two paths are distinguished by different means: (1) managerialâ number and level of people managed, and (2) technicalâ specialized expertise is applied to tasks of greater complexity or higher impact. Individuals in the technical career path would likely be involved in high-level decisions, particularly decisions that relate to the personâs specialty field. While those on the technical path may have limited formal supervisory responsibilities, they are still called upon to mentor others in their specialty. This dual career track approach increases the likelihood of successful performance after advancement by providing a system that employees find motivating and rewarding (HayGroup, 2004). Additionally, dual career tracks help reduce turnover among senior staff since there are more attractive career opportunities available. (This is not to be confused with alternative career paths, which refers to moving employees from one career, such as engineering, into a different career, such as human resources, based on interests and skills.) Note: Union leadership may wish to have input on employees selected for the various tracks. â¢ Conduct an analysis of transit work requirements for both managerial and technical job duties. â¢ Map the competencies needed for effective performance of each of the job duties. â¢ Determine the level of proficiency transit employees will need in each of the competencies for managerial and technical tasks. â¢ Develop distinct roles for each career track based on organizational needs and competencies. â¢ Create job descriptions for the managerial and technical jobs to ensure that all employees are aware of what the different jobs and tracks entail. â¢ Ensure that there is equity between the managerial and technical tracks such that employees in each track receive similar salary increases and additional benefits when they move into a higher position. â¢ Develop an assessment to gather proficiency levels of employees on each of the identified competencies. â¢ Since employee buy-in is crucial, initiate meetings between employees and supervisors to discuss placement in a track based on competency data and employee input. â¢ Align the performance review process to competencies required for each track. â¢ Idaho Transportation Departmentâs Non- Managerial Career Ladder: Includes classifications for engineers that have a high level of technical expertise to be promoted to a level equivalent to managerial-level engineers. This was done to retain those individuals that have special technical expertise, often providing the expertise statewide. The change is credited with retaining engineers important to the departmentâs operations while increasing staff morale. See NCHRP Web-Only Document 39 http://onlinepubs.trb.org/onlinepubs/nchrp/nch rp_w39-1.pdf and NCHRP Report 685 http://www.trb.org/Main/Blurbs/164747.aspx â¢ Lithonia, NASA, Sherwin-Williams and Horne Engineering are examples of organizations that have established dual career paths, one for managerial jobs and the other for engineering jobs. The designated higher-level engineering jobs offer the same pay as those deemed as equivalent managerial jobs. (Note: For success of dual career paths, the perception of equity is critical. Thus, jobs across both tracks must be matched to determine what level of complexity in tasks equals a certain level of managerial responsibilities. Those matched jobs must then be assigned equal pay.) â¢ U.S. Department of the Army: Supports a dual career track system for technical and managerial positions. http://cpol.army.mil/library/permiss/8405.html Table 1-3. Retention strategies. (continued on next page)
RETENTION STRATEGY 2 Create Advancement Within Positions Description Key Implementation Steps Sample Programs Employees are more likely to stay with an organization if they believe there is potential for advancement in a reasonable amount of time. On average, employees anticipate some type of advancement opportunity every 3 to 4 years. Even when developmental opportunities are available, employee turnover increases when there are perceptions that career advancement opportunities are not available (Kraimer et al., 2011). Given that transit systems, like many progressive organizations, are increasingly adopting a less hierarchical organizational structure, it may be necessary to conceptualize a new approach to job promotions. Specifically, employee retention can be improved by creating potential for advancement within a single job function by establishing separate tiers or blocks (e.g., beginner, advanced, expert). Within these tiers, employees are compensated based on demonstrated key skills or competencies and not the achievement of specific results, their tenure with the organization, or new decision-making latitude. Decision- making responsibilities can still be dispersed throughout the organization to keep the organizational structure leaner while also meeting the need of employees to receive monetary and prestige recognition for competence in certain knowledge, skills, and abilities. Also, employees will be likely to stay in the organization when advancements and challenges allow them to expand their knowledge in their field (Levoy, 2007). Establishing tiers for positions within a public transportation organization can be particularly helpful for maintenance and technical jobs. This strategy should be considered distinct from increases in salary or wages based on seniority and time in a position. Note: Discussions or negotiations with union leadership will most likely be required when establishing tiers, new pay scales, and promotion criteria. â¢ Conduct a job analysis to identify tasks and competencies consistent with different levels of performance in a specified public transportation job. â¢ Conduct a classification study to review whether employees see distinctions between jobs as meaningful. â¢ Establish separate tiers within jobs based on critical competencies and skill levels. â¢ Assign titles and a pay scale to each tier. â¢ Develop written or performance observation tests to measure employee competencies/skills required for each tier. â¢ Assess employees on the specified competencies/skills to determine in which tier they belong. â¢ Require employees to demonstrate a certain proficiency level in competencies or skills to receive advancement to the next tier level. â¢ Develop a training program that allows employees to seek and acquire new skills that will help them advance to higher tiers. â¢ North Carolina DOT Competency-Based Pay Program: Includes three separate competency block groups (contributing, journeyman, and advanced) based on the complexity of the function performed. The program enables career ladder opportunities and provides management with a flexible tool in developing an efficient, multiskilled workforce. With a diverse pool of skills, employees progress through pay ranges based on assuming greater responsibility, thereby increasing their value to the organization. http://www.ncdot.gov/programs/srmu/mai ntenanceskill/ â¢ North Carolina DOT Supervisor Academy: Provides specific training to support development within each competency-based tier. In this two-level progressive program, participants have to go through a fundamentals of supervision course first, with some, depending on their supervisory level, moving on to an advanced course. http://www.ncdot.org/doh/preconstruct/traf fic/conference/2004/Day2_TSI4.pdf RETENTION STRATEGY 3 Implement Employee Mentoring Program Description Key Implementation Steps Sample Programs Mentoring programs allow senior employees to share their experiences and help junior staff (i.e., mentees) identify effective ways to overcome obstacles to career success. Research has shown that mentoring helps to decrease employee voluntary turnover by providing career-related support, which increases employee commitment to the organization (Payne and Huffman, 2005). As such, transit mentoring programs should be developed to support younger employees in their careers, provide guidance and advice to help them successfully navigate a career within the transit industry, and assist with career advancement. Workshops or structured focus groups are often established on a periodic basis (e.g., every 2 to 3 months) to walk mentors and mentees through activities that help them strengthen communications and learn about new methods of mentoring. These structured meeting forums facilitate communications between mentors and mentees that enable them to collectively solve work-related challenges and seek support through large group discussions with other mentorâ mentee teams. For demographic groups that historically suffer from greater retention challenges (e.g., women and minorities), mentoring can be particularly effective for career success. Mentoring is an organizational practice that has one of the strongest positive effects on the advancement and retention of women and minorities (Dobbin, Kalex, and Kelly, 2007). Transit mentoring programs have shown success in encouraging and engaging minority workers by partnering the worker with someone who is more advanced in his or her career and shares similar demographic characteristics. The benefit experienced from these partnerships is likely due to the mentors having experienced similar challenges or perceived barriers early in their they own careers. Note: Union leadership should be consulted and their input requested when establishing mentoring programs for union positions, particularly if there is a possibility that such programs could violate the union contract. â¢ Establish the goals and structure of the transit mentoring program, including the types of employees/positions that will be invited to participate and requirements of the program. â¢ Develop guidelines and practical tips for program participants that will help them to have successful mentoring relationships within the program. â¢ Identify and secure resources needed for the program (e.g., meeting space/time, funding for mentoring activities, and supporting training and development initiatives). â¢ Develop communications to market the program internally so that employees are aware of the program. â¢ Identify experienced individuals who are high performers and have strong interpersonal skills since these types of employees are likely to be effective mentors. â¢ Establish criteria for selecting mentees. (Note: avoid selecting mentees based on individual characteristics such as personality traits since this could create inequity perceptions or cause the mentoring to be seen as punitive.) â¢ Develop a system to pair mentors and mentees or a process for them to choose each other. â¢ Request participant feedback on the positive and negative aspects of the mentoring program as well as recommendations for improvement. â¢ Santa Clara Valley Transportation Authority (VTA) Joint Workforce Investment (JWI): Employs a new operator/mentor pilot project that pairs new operators with veteran exemplary operators who have demonstrated good customer service and job stress coping skills. New operators spend 8-hour days on the veteranâs bus, and then later the veteran (mentor) spends a similar amount of time on the new operatorâs bus. http://www.strongorganizations.com/JWIme ntors.html â¢ Pennsylvania DOT Civil Engineer Training (CET) Program: Equips new trainees with a mentor to familiarize them with Pennsylvania DOT and guide their career development. The mentor provides the mentee with an overview of the organization, including its mission and goals, as well as opportunities to discuss career options. By providing this support network, Pennsylvania DOT is able to assess participantsâ skills and find better placements for mentees within the organization. http://www.dot.state.pa.us/Internet/Bureaus/ pdBOP.nsf/infoCivilEngTrainee?OpenForm â¢ Orange County Transportation Authority Mentor Program: Uses a mentoring program to help the organization grow from within and invest in its workforce. There are 24 pairs of employees that participate in the formalized program for 1-year increments. This low-cost strategy greatly increases retention and commitment to the organization. Table 1-3. (Continued).
RETENTION STRATEGY 4 Offer Alternative Benefit Packages Description Key Implementation Steps Sample Programs Supplementing traditional benefits (e.g., health insurance, disability) with additional work-life benefits such as telecommuting, schedule flexibility (with only core work hours designated), job autonomy, dependent care such as on-site child care or subsidies, tenure-based vacation, or leave buyback programs can be an effective retention tool for public transportation organizations. These benefits enable transit employees to have flexible choices on how to balance their work and personal lives, thereby reducing the inherent conflict that could otherwise pull them away from their jobs. These additional benefits are often highly valued by employees and may encourage them to stay and remain engaged with the organization. Further, many of these benefits have been shown to not only sustain workers, but also actually increase productivity. For example, of the time saved by effective telecommuting arrangements, participants use approximately 60% of the saved time on work and 40% on personal lives (Telework: Breaking New Ground, 2007). Many of these benefits also provide a positive impact with little cost to the company. For example, dependent care tends to result in a high return on investment because it has a low cost to offer and few employees use it, but high levels of satisfaction are reported with offering it. Even workers who do not use the benefits report satisfaction resulting from the organization offering the benefits because the benefits themselves communicate that the organization cares about and is supportive of its employees. Note: When determining what benefits to offer, the cost/value of alternative benefits will have to be weighed against traditional benefits, and any change in benefit packages may have to be negotiated with the union and incorporated into the union contract. â¢ Research potential benefits and benchmark effective employee benefit practices that are available in other organizations. â¢ Conduct needs assessments via employee surveys or focus groups to determine desirable benefits. â¢ Conduct costâbenefit or return- on-investment (ROI) analysis to determine the most cost-effective options regarding the benefits to offer employees. â¢ Implement alternatives that are feasible and cost-effective. This could include allowing employees to select specific benefits that would be beneficial to them. â¢ Communicate the advantages of new benefits to employees, ensuring that all employees within the organization have the opportunity to fully understand the new benefits and how they will be affected. â¢ Gather feedback to evaluate the effectiveness of the new benefit offerings. â¢ Conduct a follow-up needs assessment within 2 years of implementing new benefit programs because the needs of the workforce may shift over time. â¢ Coast Transit Authority (MS): Buys back unused sick leave from employees at the end of each year. Employees can trade in 3 sick days for 2 days of pay. â¢ Capital Metro Transit, Austin, TX: Uses a wellness program that has improved employee health and reduced absenteeism and health care costs. Notable aspects of the program include free on-site biometric and fitness assessments, access to three 24-hour fitness centers, on-site personal training and wellness coaching, cash incentives for meeting health and weight-loss goals, free on-site smoking cessation classes, free flu shots, stress reduction workshops, and healthy cafeteria and vending options. â¢ Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) Alternative Duty Location: Allows employees to operate out of offices in locations where the cost of living is lower than at the Washington, D.C., headquarters. This saves on overall costs to FHWA as well as living costs for individual employees. An impetus to implement this program was an employee survey that confirmed employees were leaving the agency because they felt they could not advance without moving to Washington, D.C. http://www.fhwa.dot.gov/legsregs/directives/orders/ adl_guide_2011.htm â¢ Cisco Systems Inc.: Uses a telecommuting program. The company reported an estimated annual savings of $277 million in productivity by allowing employees to telecommute. http://newsroom.cisco.com/dlls/2009/prod_062609. html RETENTION STRATEGY 5 Assess/Improve Organizational Culture Description Key Implementation Steps Sample Programs Public transportation organizations should study the shared values, attitudes, beliefs, and traditions that exist within their organizations and take steps to actively influence culture when performance and retention improvements are needed. Achievement of a public transportation organizationâs mission depends on a positive culture that meets the needs and desires of employees and reinforces a team approach to service delivery. Success in retaining employees in every level of the organization is at least partially influenced by the ability of the organization to create value consensus. Value consensus occurs when employees share the same core values and goals and agree on the ways the workplace should function. Traditionally, transit organizations have struggled to overcome an us-versus-them mindset between frontline and management employees, open up dialogue between managers and their employees, and build trust. Programs that focus on achieving this team orientation or collegial attitude will likely have employees who are more engaged in their work and have higher levels of organizational commitment. Improving the organizational culture will help to create an organization in which connections are built between employees at all organizational levels (Taylor, Van Aken, and Smith-Jackson, 2007). It is also important to foster a mistake-tolerant organizational culture that accepts a reasonable number of errors and encourages employees to recognize, report, and take prompt corrective action to address errors (van Dyck et al., 2005). This culture helps improve performance, compliance, and safety because employees are not worried about hiding errors that are made, and any mistakes can be dealt with promptly and effectively. Employees tend to make more mistakes, have lower morale, and have lower levels of workplace engagement when they feel unsafe in expressing their views or they fear negative repercussions to the smallest infraction. Note: Inclusion of union leadership is critical to the success of any team building and organizational culture enhancement. â¢ Conduct an assessment of the existing culture within the public transportation organization to determine values and goals across all levels and types of employees. The needs assessment could involve surveys of employees, focus groups, or staff meetings or retreats. â¢ Analyze the assessment data to determine the direction the organization would like to move in terms of culture. â¢ Determine an implementation approach to highlight desired culture changes and build consensus among employees of the organizational culture. â¢ Make sure that the organizational culture aligns with the strategic goals and objectives the organization has committed to. If the new cultural values do not match the business objectives, they may need to be revised or updated. â¢ Implement changes and train employees based on any new expectations. â¢ Evaluate the new culture to determine if programs have had the desired effect. â¢ Capital Metro Transit, Austin, TX: Engaged the University of Texas Institute for Organizational Excellence to conduct a survey of employee engagement. The results of the survey served as the basis for developing action plans for implementing organizational changes and objectives for behavior change at the leadership level based on the strategic goals. â¢ Coast Transit Authority: Cultivated an organizational culture that focuses on morale in the workforce to ensure a supportive work environment for all personnel. The system asks managers to listen to their employees and help them resolve conflicts and problems. This support and conflict management has led to low turnover levels. â¢ Annapolis DOT Inter-Office Committee: Developed a committee to foster inclusive decision making among employees, allowing them to take ownership of problem solving within the department. Previously, breakdowns in communication between management and frontline employees caused some employees to become disgruntled, and morale was dangerously low. Participants on the committee report that being part of the group gave them a better understanding of how the department works and how they fit into the big picture. â¢ Southwest Airlines: Developed culture committees that meet quarterly where representatives brainstorm how to maintain the organizationâs family-friendly culture and plan programs to support employees. Culture committees meet monthly with local stations to maintain workâfamily balance programs. â¢ Veolia Transportation: Improved its safety culture and retention by focusing on retraining employees after errors or performance issues in lieu of termination. This enabled them to reduce turnover to 3% while correcting employee behaviors, improving safety, and reducing recruitment and training costs. (continued on next page) Table 1-3. (Continued).
RETENTION STRATEGY 6 Implement a Rewards Program for High Performers Description Key Implementation Steps Sample Programs It is important to recognize the accomplishments of high-performing managers and employees with rewards and public acknowledgment. A consistent and creative system for rewarding high-performing staff can lead to healthy competition, a strong incentive for high- quality work, and, ultimately, a strategy for keeping talent within the organization. While bonuses and other financial incentives are often thought of as major components of a rewards system, nonmonetary incentives also motivate and retain high-performing employees (Sorauren, 2000). Examples of noncash rewards are recognition via special lunches, plaques, time off with pay, organization-wide e-mails or blog posts, special opportunities for professional development (e.g., invitation to conferences), and appointment to an organization-wide task force or committee. To ensure the effectiveness of the rewards program, it is critical that senior leadership uphold principles of both distributive justice (i.e., equal allocation for equal contributions) and procedural justice (i.e., the rationale for determining who receives rewards is clear and fair) in the allocation of rewards. Public transportation employees must see a clear alignment between performance and rewards to be motivated by this system, and the requirements and standards must be clearly communicated to staff before the program is implemented. Depending on the role, performance can be measured by a number of objectives, from high ratings for communication and professionalism to consistency in attendance and meeting safety requirements (Harrington-Hughes and Associates, Inc., 2010). Note: If a collective bargaining agreement is in place, additional compensation beyond what is contained in the union contract will require union approval and may need to be negotiated into a new contract. Unions generally place a great emphasis on seniority when considering performance rewards. â¢ Identify members of the senior leadership and human resource staff to work on articulating a clear vision and procedures for the rewards program. â¢ Conduct training with managers to guide them in the proper approach to goal setting with their employees. â¢ Develop objective and quantifiable measures to determine what defines success for various positions. â¢ Conduct employee focus groups to identify rewards that will likely appeal to and motivate employees. â¢ Based on employee input, identify rewards that will be the most motivating and valued by transit employees. â¢ Communicate to employees the goals, rewards, and requirements to achieve the rewards. â¢ Distribute rewards in a timely fashion. â¢ Missouri DOT Employee Solutions at Work (SAW) Program: Recognizes employees for implementing performance practices that improve daily operations. Once a best practice has been implemented and produces improved results, the responsible employee(s) can submit it to the SAW program for review. If approved, employee(s) can receive up to 2 days of leave or $300. â¢ Virginia Regional Transit (VRT) Road to Reward Program: Each year VRTâs managers determine their 15 biggest service problems and allot point values for each corrective action taken. At the end of the year, an employeeâs point total is multiplied by the yearâs bonus dollar figure (e.g., $4.00 and the employeeâs years of serviceâup to 5 years). The cost amounts to about 3% to 4% of payroll and is tied to agency financial performance. http://bussafety.fta.dot.gov/show_resource.php?id=3965 â¢ Golden Gate Transit (CA): Frontline staff with perfect attendance can receive extra paid time off. â¢ York County Transportation Authority (PA): When bus operators achieve an accident-free month, the team is rewarded with a recognition lunch. â¢ Montgomery County Division of Transit Services (MD): Transit coordinators who complete three or more quality improvement projects receive an âexcellence mug,â and high-performing coordinators and operators are honored at an annual appreciation breakfast. RETENTION STRATEGY 7 Improve Existing Work Schedule and Allow Flexible Schedules Description Key Implementation Steps Sample Programs To retain talent within the industry, public transportation organizations must provide coveted benefits to employees without over-expending resources. One low- to no-cost option highly desired by employees across industries is an improved or flexible work schedule. Public transportation organizations should study workload distribution and work schedules to identify policies to implement that ensure one employee is not receiving more work or a more challenging or less desirable schedule than other employees at a similar level. In implementing an improved work schedule, determine inequalities in work distribution and see how the schedule is designed. Public transportation organizations should work toward having the most stressful duties distributed across staff so the burden does not remain on one person or a small group. Work distribution and scheduling are usually evaluated on a quarterly basis (Cronin et al., 2011). Flexible schedules allow employees to work the same number of hours for the same pay, but a different schedule of hours that might allow for a better work-life balance, better accommodation for other jobs, or simply a tailored schedule of the employeeâs personal preference (Cronin et al., 2011). One example of a flexible schedule is having core hours (e.g., 11 a.m. to 2 p.m.) during which employees must be working and available but allowing employees to have flexibility in the rest of the hours that are worked during the day. Another example is a compressed workweek, in which employees work more than 8 hours a day and less than 5 days a week (e.g., four 10-hour days rather than five 8-hour days). Because the number of hours worked is the same, there is little risk of the organization losing money if it employs this policy. However, the impact on ability to deliver operational services as scheduled must be adequately evaluated in determining which jobs and personnel are eligible for the arrangements. Public transportation organizations can benefit greatly by establishing improved or flexible work schedules. Employers can use this as a selling point for recruitment in addition to a strategy for retaining employees. Employee morale also increases when organizations accommodate their workersâ scheduling preferences and ensure equality in workload among staff at similar levels. Note: Changes in existing work schedules and opportunities for flexible schedules for frontline employees must be informed by regulatory requirements and contractual agreements. â¢ Study employeesâ work distribution and schedules. â¢ Conduct workload analysis integrated with an analysis of operational requirements for service delivery. â¢ Identify inconsistencies among employeesâ workloads. â¢ Rotate duties or work environments as necessary to even out workload as long as operational service delivery is not negatively affected. â¢ Determine what types of flexible schedules would work best for the organization and what types are most desired by employees. â¢ Offer flexible schedules for positions where they are practical and not organizationally disruptive and do not place restrictions on mission achievement. â¢ Valley Metro Phoenix Public Transportation: Offers employees the option of compressed workweeks, which the agencyâs website describes as working more hours in a day and fewer days within a 1- or 2-week period. The site also lists a number of benefits related to this option, including increasing employee morale and the opportunity to be green, and indicates that this is one of the most coveted benefits an employer can offer. Also, the webpage contains a link to a guideline document for establishing a 9/80 policy, which is a specific compressed workweek schedule in which employees work 9 days over 2 weeks (80 hours) of work. http://www.valleymetro.org/work_schedules â¢ Souris Basin Transportation: Implemented a flexible schedule policy including a 4/40 compressed workweek, meaning employees work four 10-hour days each week. â¢ Jefferson Transit: Offers work flexibility to exempt positions. Exempt employees and managers can set their own schedules with the general managerâs approval. The transit system found that this arrangement is mostly self- regulating, with managers sticking to the schedule they create. â¢ South Central Adult Services Council, Inc. (SCAS): As a van-based transportation provider for the elderly, SCAS provides on-demand services instead of relying on a standard route- based system. This has enabled them to hire semi-retired individuals who are willing to accept somewhat lower wages and benefits in return for much more flexible work schedules. Table 1-3. (Continued).
RETENTION STRATEGY 8 Recruit/Promote Current Employees Description Key Implementation Steps Sample Programs Whenever possible, public transportation organizations should attempt to select qualified applicants for open positions from within the organization. Organizations benefit in a number of ways by hiring from within, including providing existing employees the opportunity to advance within the organization. This opportunity can be an especially strong incentive for employees to stay within public transportation organizations that have historically high turnover rates. Employees should be informed about promotion policies as soon as they start their jobs. They will be more engaged and more willing to stay at their jobs knowing that there is an opportunity for growth and career advancement. When employees see their coworkers being promoted, they become more aware of potential career paths and opportunities to stay within the organization. A great benefit of promotion from within is that current transit employees already understand many facets of the organization and require less onboarding and training (Cronin et al., 2011). Further, external hires are significantly more likely to resign or be fired from their jobs than internal hires. This process of promoting from within conserves recruitment dollars and helps retain the intellectual capital established within the organization. In addition, external hires generally perform at a lower level than employees hired from within and take longer to attain the same level of quality work (Adams, 2012). The unique qualities of the transit mission and culture argue that operational success is enhanced by promotion from within. However, there may be a need to recruit externally in order to encourage diversity, stimulate growth and change, and ensure the appropriate level of job expertise, assuming there is no current employee that possesses the necessary skills. Note: Union leadership may desire influence over the proportion of internal hires for jobs within the collective bargaining unit. â¢ Proactively advertise vacancies to appropriate audiences within the organization. â¢ Set targets for the ratio of internal to external hires. â¢ Crosswalk requirements across similar job types to guide appropriate promotions. â¢ Map employee skills required to be successful in jobs that are similar to the vacant job (or anticipated vacancy). â¢ Map employee career tracks and requirements for advancement; include the increased responsibilities that come with advancement to new positions. â¢ Analyze the impact of loss versus gain that would occur by transferring an employee to a new position. â¢ Determine training needs for internal hires versus external hires. â¢ VRT: Proactively recruits internal candidates for management jobs by identifying high-potential employees and supervisors and offering them training and development opportunities to increase their likelihood of promotion into management positions. Training often includes certified community transit supervisory and manager training through the Community Transportation Association of America (CTAA). â¢ Keystone Transit Career Ladder Partnership: Developed and piloted new training curricula across a range of transit occupations experiencing skill shortages with the goal of developing career ladders for incumbent workers so they can progress into higher-level positions. Training of incumbent workers can avert layoffs as new technology is introduced. http://www.keystonetransit.org â¢ Utah Transit Authority: The career section of its website lists testimonials from current employees that include firsthand accounts of promotion from within. http://www.rideuta.com/mc/?page=AboutUTA- CareerOpportunites â¢ Chicago Transit Authority: Includes two distinct links for job applicants on the career section of its website: one for new applicants and former employees, and one for current employees. This system allows for a smooth and easy application process for current employees since they are able to log in and have much of the application information pre-populated. http://www.transitchicago.com/careers/ RETENTION STRATEGY 9 Establish Diversity Goals and Policies Description Key Implementation Steps Sample Programs In order to maintain a diverse workforce, it can be helpful to set goals and develop specific policies to ensure that the organization is not losing a disproportionately high number of minority or other nontraditional employees. Although the public transportation industry generally has a strong record of retention of minority and other nontraditional employees within frontline positions, it may be necessary to ensure that the same diversity is represented throughout the professional/ technical and management ranks. Public transportation organizations should establish reasonable goals for retaining a diverse workforce and monitor progress against these goals to inform future action. To ensure that diversity is maintained at different levels within the organization, organizations should implement policies to specifically keep retention strong among employees from diverse backgrounds. Organizations should provide managers with leadership and diversity training so they understand the benefits and rewards of maintaining a diverse workforce, and should provide antidiscrimination training and code-of-conduct sessions with all staff, as described in TCRP Synthesis 46 (Simpson, 2003). This will likely create a safe, respectful, and supportive environment that enhances the work experience for all employees. Public transportation organizations can also hold special interest group meetings with representatives from diverse backgrounds and management to discuss any problems employees are experiencing within the workplace or ways in which the organization can improve its support and retention of diverse staff. Also, public transportation organizations should provide appropriate accommodations to job applicants and employees with disabilities and individuals not fluent in the English language. Note: Union contracts may create barriers to diversity policy implementation, and approval by union leadership may be required before changing hiring/retention policies. â¢ Identify meaningful demographic variables through which workforce diversity can be evaluated. â¢ Assess organizational diversity. â¢ Set ambitious yet achievable goals in retaining diverse staff. â¢ Survey employees on challenges that exist within the organization for nontraditional candidates. â¢ Develop training or other programs to support employees with diverse backgrounds. â¢ Promote the benefits of diversity programs to employees and the public. â¢ Provide accommodation for persons with disabilities and individuals who speak English as a second language. â¢ Assign mentors to new hires based on the evaluation of the positive impact of the mentor being from a similar versus different background. â¢ Request employee feedback on ways to improve programs. â¢ Avoid tokenism and generalizing the experiences of people from similar backgrounds; ensure that employees understand they are valued for their skills and strengths, not their demographic characteristics. â¢ HomeBancâs Membership in Minority Community Associations: Joined minority community associations such as the Latin American Association of Atlanta and the National Society of Hispanic MBAs to post job openings and demonstrate commitment to minority communities. This enabled them to post job openings in the organizationsâ newsletters and achieve greater diversity. Contact: HomeBanc Human Resources, firstname.lastname@example.org â¢ Minnesota DOT CARRS: Partnered with 18 minority organizations to increase visibility and engagement in minority communities. With only 20% female and 7% minority employees, Minnesota DOT faced challenges in recruiting and retaining a qualified and diverse workforce. The CARRS program provided the organization with greater visibility in minority communities and an opportunity for those populations to learn more about the agency. http://www.dot.state.mn.us/hr/mncarrs/ â¢ Washington State DOT: On its website, Washington State DOT states its commitment to diversity and the ways in which the organization supports that commitment, including encouraging dialogue, providing diversity awareness training, and promoting equal opportunity and accessibility for all employees. â¢ ATC Phoenix: Employed bilingual trainers for their student operator class and a mentor program to help students understand the organizationâs culture and commitment to diversity. Due to the high number of Hispanics in the Phoenix area, one of the organizationâs key business goals is to provide diversity training to all employees. (continued on next page) Table 1-3. (Continued).
1-20 Building a Sustainable Workforce in the Public Transportation IndustryâA Systems Approach 1.3 Training and Development Overview This section provides an overview of effective training and development strategies that are rel- evant to public transportation organizations. The introductory text provides an overview of the features of training and development programs, some of the challenges that drive the need for effective strategies, the impact of strategic training and development initiatives, and the relation- ship of training and development to managing perceptions about the transit industryâs image. 1.3.1 Description Public transportation leaders need to think strategically about how training and develop- ment dollars are spent to ensure that there are efficiency and effectiveness in the types of prac- tices and programs that result from those investments. Training and development programs are designed to enhance employee performance by teaching the knowledge and skills required for job performance proficiency. Employee training can take many forms, but it is typically a struc- tured seminar, course, or online instruction that occurs over a finite period of time to teach a specific skill, skill set, or competency (Anderson et al., 2007). Public transportation training and development can occur in a variety of settings, including a classroom, on or under a vehicle, on the job, off site, on site, or in a virtual environment. Training and development can be used to prepare new employees for jobs within public transportation organizations as well as to develop individual competencies within the existing workforce (TRB, 2003). Additionally, training and RETENTION STRATEGY 10 Emphasize Job Enrichment Description Key Implementation Steps Sample Programs Many employees, especially those in the younger generations that are currently entering the workforce, value jobs that are meaningful and offer opportunities for personal development. To help retain these employees, it can be beneficial to redesign jobs to involve greater variety, responsibility, meaningfulness, autonomy, and feedback (McEvoy and Cascio, 1985). Not only will these opportunities give employees a stronger sense of purpose on the job, but they will also give them a richer overall work experience and allow them to perform their jobs more effectively. This enrichment should be emphasized early on in the hiring process because it will likely attract candidates who want to be challenged and will serve the public transportation organization well. The advertised practices must then actually occur during the job to retain these employees. Enrichment opportunities can also include involving an employee in all tasks of a job, from beginning to end, to witness the whole process occurring within the organization. Additionally, showing employees that the work they perform and their specialized skills are meaningful to the organization can increase enrichment (Hackman and Oldham, 1976). Organizations can provide enrichment opportunities for employees in a number of ways. They should be given increased responsibility and autonomy on the job as they show they are ready. Organizations can implement precise structures for these opportunities (e.g., after 1 year of service, employees become mentors for new hires; after 2 years, employees are eligible for rotational shifts to learn about other areas of the organization). Alternatively, these enrichment opportunities can also be provided on a performance basis (e.g., after 30 successful vehicle repairs, mechanics can work with less supervision and be asked to contribute to new hire training programs). Note: Because of job classification parameters of frontline positions represented within the collective bargaining unit, public transportation organizations may not have the ability to provide additional enrichments for certain positions. Job enrichment is a key tool for motivating employees and can contribute to retention of effective staff. â¢ Analyze existing jobs to determine areas where more enriching work could be assigned. Specifically consider ways that transit employees could be given positive feedback on their job, thus reinforcing the skills employees demonstrate, showing the meaningfulness of the job, and involving employees in the bigger picture. â¢ Provide increased flexibility in employee assignmentsâfor example, allow employees to take on alternative projects. â¢ Enhance opportunities for employees to make decisions regarding their daily work activities, giving them more autonomy in their daily work. â¢ Increase training and skill development opportunities for frontline and second- line employees. â¢ Link employeesâ skill development and mastery to their wage progression. â¢ Minnesota DOT Transportation Specialist Series: Implemented after a decision to combine three series that made up 45% of the agencyâs workforce. The position reclassification program was designed to create an environment in which flexible, multiskilled workers are deployed to the fullest capacity, provide increased flexibility in employee assignment, and enable greater autonomy. The program has increased the ability of employees to make decisions about their daily work activities and their opportunities to progress through the series, where promotion opportunities historically have been limited. http://www.dot.state.mn.us/hr/tss/index.html â¢ City of Annapolis DOT Inter-Office Committee: Holds monthly meetings where volunteers from each department discuss issues and develop solutions to foster inclusive decision making among employees and allow them to take ownership of problem solving. Participants in the committee report that being part of the group gave them a better understanding of how the department works and how they fit into the big picture. This involvement enriches employeesâ sense of connectedness to the organization and shows them that their employer trusts the expertise of its staff. â¢ San Diego Transit Corporation: The responsibility of managing all transit operators was distributed from the director to 26 road supervisors; the supervisors provided input into the development of an attendance policy and were trained in management skills, communication, and handling conflict. Absenteeism was reduced significantly, and the road supervisors benefitted from the additional responsibility. Table 1-3. (Continued).
Module 1: Tailor effective Strategies into Workforce Practices 1-21 development are used to address the knowledge or skill gaps of individual employees. NCRHP Report 693 notes that train- ing focused on transportation-related issues can help address how to respond appropriately to demographic changes in the workforce, technological advances, and greater demands, all of which are challenges currently faced by the transit industry (Cronin et al., 2012). Training and development activities are essential parts of public transportationâs human resource activities and are nec- essary components at all levels of jobs within transit systems (TRB, 2003). TRB Special Report 275 has shown that training and development programs are especially important in todayâs transit industry because of the technology changes that are occurring rapidly and innovations that require employees to continuously improve their skills (TRB, 2003). Additionally, in NCHRP Report 685, the importance of training and develop- ment is highlighted by the finding that a large percentage of the transportation workforce is nearing retirement age, and in many cases these retirement-eligible employees are those with the most experience and specialized knowledge and skills (Cronin et al., 2011). Therefore, training is necessary to prepare new employees to successfully fill the positions that become vacant due to retirement. When developing and implementing training and develop- ment programs, it is important to be deliberate in completing each of the described phases. The five phases that should be followed in training development are articulated in the ADDIE model: analysis, design, development, implementation, and evaluation (Strickland, n.d.). Each phase is described in the following: 1. Analysis: The analysis phase is used to determine the neces- sary components of a training and development program, such as participantsâ learning goals, training delivery options, and who the training participants will be. 2. Design: The design phase involves systematic planning and the process of determining the training content, lesson plans, and assessments for the training and development program. 3. Development: The purpose of the development phase is to create the tools and processes that will be used during training, such as text-based materials, storyboards, graph- ics, and all multimedia elements, as well as developing the programming for web-based training. 4. Implementation: The implementation phase involves estab- lishing the timeline to execute training, procedures for train- ing the facilitators, preparing participants, and delivering the final training product. 5. Evaluation: The final phase, evaluation, involves assess- ing the quality and effectiveness of training design and Training and Development Strategy Highlights Â¾ Important Elements â¢ Focus on necessary KSAs. â¢ Use wide-reaching means for delivery. â¢ Demonstrate relevance to the job. â¢ Use multiple methods to teach skills. â¢ Make meaningful for participants. â¢ Conduct periodic needs assessments. â¢ Provide opportunities to use learning. Professional Capacity Building Recruitment Processes Training and Develop- ment Retention Processes Â¾ Key Challenges Facing Public Transportation â¢ Lack of funding for training. â¢ Lack of available training programs. â¢ Rapidly changing technology. â¢ Low retention after training completion. â¢ Misconceptions of industry. Â¾ 11 Effective Training and Development Strategies â¢ Leverage existing programs. â¢ Explore available funding for training. â¢ Make training attractive. â¢ Use training with performance appraisals. â¢ Create a corporate college. â¢ Support use of universities and training. â¢ Institute intern or apprentice programs. â¢ Develop partnerships with other organizations. â¢ Develop a job mentoring program. â¢ Ensure that transfer of training occurs. â¢ Prioritize safety-/security-related training.
1-22 Building a Sustainable Workforce in the Public Transportation IndustryâA Systems Approach the developed training program. Evaluation should include both formative and sum- mative evaluations. Formative evaluations are conducted at each phase of the training development to ensure quality in all parts of the process. Summative evaluation is con- ducted following implementation of the training to assess the effectiveness of the training program. 1.3.2 Challenges for Public Transportation When considering training and development in todayâs workplace, public transportation organizations face a number of workforce challenges. The various challenges related to training and development can seriously affect an employeeâs opportunity to acquire needed skills and subsequently perform the work required within transit careers. While these challenges may vary by labor market composition in a given geographic area or by resource availability of the public transportation organization, some of the common challenges across the public transportation industry are discussed in the following. Lack of funding to develop or implement training programs. As noted in TCRP Report 139, one of the greatest challenges transit is facing with regard to training and development is a lack of funding (Anderson et al., 2010). TCRP Report 96 suggests that training budgets are often inadequate for the amount or quality of training that is needed in transit systems (Moon et al., 2003). With regard to funding for training, TRB Special Report 275 explains that while other industries spend approximately 2% of employee salaries on training, transit systems spend on average only 0.5% or less of salaries on training, highlighting the need to allocate more resources to employee training and development (TRB, 2003). Additionally, NCHRP Report 685 explains that transit systems reported the cost of training as a major challenge for the organization, given that they want to provide top-quality training but have an extremely limited budget (Cronin et al., 2011). As one way to deal with a lack of funding, public trans- portation organizations can work to leverage funding resources by including money for train- ing with capital projects that the training will support. For example, when releasing a request for proposals (RFP) to purchase new high-tech vehicles, a request can be added to the RFP for a budget that includes training for the new technology equipment. By specifying the types of training that are requested, funding can potentially be gained for specific training sessions in this manner. Lack of available training programs. Public transportation organizations often do not have robust employee training programs in place beyond initial orientation. When examining training and development among transit agencies, research has shown that there is a significant deficiency in training that is offered to transit employees, and that additional resources should be made available to provide appropriate training to prepare employees for their job requirements (TRB, 2003). If a particular training and development opportunity is either offered or financed by a competing organization, it may strongly influence an employeeâs decision to leave the cur- rent employer (Cronin et al., 2011). Rapidly changing technology. Public transportation industry careers often require that new knowledge be acquired and effectively used due to frequent changes in technology. Thus, as reported in NCHRP Report 685, as technology changes, new training may need to be developed to train employees (Cronin et al., 2011). According to TCRP Report 96, rapidly changing tech- nology also creates training challenges because employees are hesitant to become trained in new technologies due to a lack of confidence or inexperience in the new technological areas (Moon et al., 2003). Another training challenge for transit is that trainers have often been promoted from the frontline and may not be formally educated in training methods or familiar with the
Module 1: Tailor effective Strategies into Workforce Practices 1-23 latest technologies. As a result, they may not be adequately equipped to teach the necessary skills due to the complexity of concepts being taught and a lack of training expertise. Low retention in training programs. Another challenge when transit system employees participate in training and development programs is that they often do not see the training as valuable or they lose interest during the training program either due to perceived lack of relevance to the job or a tedious approach to training delivery (Moon et al., 2003). Interest- ingly, a survey in TCRP Synthesis 40 found that transit systems with longer training programs experienced higher voluntary turnover during training than did transit systems that had shorter training programs (Moffat, Ashton, and Blackburn, 2001). These turnover findings could be attributed in part to employees feeling the organization is not valuing their time or expertise by making them engage in unnecessarily lengthy training programs. Similarly, in focus groups for the current project, participants noted that retention in training and devel- opment programs is problematic within their transit systems since many people drop out of training programs before the training is completed, assuming that completing the training is not mandatory. Misconceptions of the industry. NCHRP Report 685 and TCRP Report 63 reported that some youth, parents, and teachers have a poor image of the transportation industry (Cronin et al., 2011; Wirthlin Worldwide, 2000). This challenge partly relates to training and develop- ment because of the misconception among these groups that transit systems do not provide potential for career development or access to training and development opportunities (Cronin et al., 2011). Because of this misconception, young people or potential applicants of any age may eliminate this industry as a possible career avenue. 1.3.3 Impact of Effective Strategies Effective implementation of training and development strategies can have a significant posi- tive impact on public transportation organizations. By ensuring that appropriate training is available, transit agencies can demonstrate a commitment to investing in employees and the future of the organization (TRB, 2003). By implementing training and development programs, public transportation organizations are likely to see improved performance in new hires as well as in current employees who are able to participate in those training and development opportu- nities. Making training available to employees will help to ensure that they are better prepared for their jobs and will increase the quality of work within public transportation organizations. Additionally, employees who are able to participate in training and development activities are likely to report higher job and career satisfaction as well as higher commitment to the organiza- tion than employees who do not have access to training and development opportunities (Cronin et al., 2012). To ensure the success of training and development programs, learning objectives of training programs should be aligned with the requirements of the job. Doing so helps to guarantee that employees are learning the right skills to make them successful in their jobs. Prior to adopting a new training or development program, a training needs assessment should be conducted to determine job tasks and the KSAs necessary for performance of those tasks (Salas and Cannon- Bowers, 2001). By identifying the KSAs that are necessary for performing job tasks, training and development programs can be designed to address these specific requirements of the job, there- fore maximizing the benefits of the training and development program (Aguinis and Kraiger, 2009). When developing a training program, it is critical to consider training design and fol- low the ADDIE model previously described. Following this training design model helps ensure
1-24 Building a Sustainable Workforce in the Public Transportation IndustryâA Systems Approach training will be as effective as possible by tailoring it to the specific needs of the organization and the job(s) for which it is being developed. Finally, steps should be taken to maximize the transfer of training. Transfer of training refers to the extent to which the KSAs learned in a training and development program are applied in the actual work setting (Salas and Cannon-Bowers, 2001). Research has identified some ways in which transfer of training can be maximized (Burke and Hutchins, 2007). The following can help enable transfer of training: â¢ Conducting a training needs assessment to determine training needs. â¢ Communicating training learning objectives to participants. â¢ Ensuring that training is relevant to the actual job environment. â¢ Increasing trainee perceptions of the value or utility of training. â¢ Providing feedback to training participants regarding performance during training. â¢ Creating a work environment that allows employees to use skills learned during training. â¢ Encouraging managers to be supportive of employees using newly learned skills. â¢ Giving employees the opportunity to use the KSAs learned in training. Employing these strategies in the organization will maximize the likelihood of employees using the skills learned in training on the job. In sum, the positive impacts associated with using training and development programs can only be realized when deliberate efforts are taken to integrate each of the factors described. Offering training and development opportunities to employees can reduce turnover intentions of employees. Employees are likely to want to remain with an employer that is willing to invest in its employees and help them become better qualified for their jobs. Along these same lines, employees are likely to want to work for a public transportation organization that they feel pro- vides opportunities for personal improvement and advancement. Appropriate training and devel- opment programs can provide employees the feeling that opportunities are available to them. 1.3.4 Relationship to Image Management It is important for public transportation organizations to invest in and strategically implement training and development programs, not only to ensure that employees are well qualified for their positions, but also to help improve the image of public transportation organizations and the careers within them. Offering training and developmental opportunities has been suggested as one way to address recruitment problems that are often experienced in the public transportation industry (Anderson et al., 2007). Training is an integral part of a transit organizationâs recruitment and retention strategy since the opportunity to learn new skills can be attractive to employees and helps to ensure that newly hired employees are qualified for positions (McGlothlin Davis, Inc., 2002). Additionally, younger generations of employees that are now entering the workforce are particularly interested in careers that are challenging and that offer opportunities for advance- ment (Cronin et al., 2012). If these prospective employees do not perceive that transit careers pro- vide training and development opportunities, they will likely look elsewhere for employment. By promoting training opportunities, current and potential employees can see that there are oppor- tunities to develop skills within public transportation organizations, thus aiding in recruitment. Offering training and development programs to employees and ensuring that these strate- gies are implemented in an effective manner helps to portray public transportation organiza- tions as desirable places to work and as organizations that care about their employees. This also helps bring in nontraditional applicants, such as women and minorities, who may be new to the industry and would benefit from the opportunity to improve their skills once they are on the job. Because the public transportation industry has traditionally been dominated by white males, women and minorities may not feel that a transit system will value their skills and con- tributions. In a 1996 survey of women and minorities in transit, almost half of the respondents
Module 1: Tailor effective Strategies into Workforce Practices 1-25 indicated they had been unjustly treated by not receiving a promotion or salary increase (Ward and Hill, 1996). While progress has been made since 1996 toward achieving a more diverse transit workforce, focus group participants in this project indicated that transit organizations still have room to improve in encouraging gender, racial, and ethnic diversity. One participant from the mid-to-large transit agency focus group conducted as a part of this project indicated that the diversity concern is particularly true for supervisory and management jobs in transit agencies. Providing relevant training and development opportunities can help these individuals enhance their job-relevant skills and improve their chances of promotion. Because of a historical lack of opportunities in transit for women and minorities, promoting training and development opportunities may ultimately help these individuals perceive employment in the transit industry as an appealing career. 1.3.5 Effective Training and Development Strategies To implement training and development programs that will be successful in the public trans- portation industry, organizations can rely on a number of strategies that have demonstrated success. Eleven strategies are presented in Table 1-4. Each table section begins with the title of the strategy and then includes a description, steps to implement the strategy, and examples of successful programs based on the strategy. TRAINING AND DEVELOPMENT STRATEGY 1 Leverage Existing Training and Development Programs and Opportunities Description Key Implementation Steps Sample Programs Several national and state industry associations offer training and development courses for public transportation organizations. Rather than developing a new training curriculum, transit agencies can leverage existing training programs to meet their training needs. As with all training programs, it is important to make sure that the training objectives of the program align well with the needs of the organization and its job positions. Sometimes, transit-specific training courses are publically available online. Alternatively, public transportation organizations may be able to purchase online training programs from vendors or send employees to in-person training programs administered by other organizations. Listed in the right-hand column are websites that provide information about transit training and development programs. Below are additional entities that provide training and development programs to support transit industry needs: â¢ The National Safety Council (NSC): Offers e-learning, instructor resources, products, and training including driver improvement training and safety certificate programs. http://www.nsc.org/products_training/Pages/Home.aspx â¢ Center for Urban Transportation Research: Teaches and hosts a variety of courses relevant to public transportation organizations. http://www.cutr.usf.edu/workforce/training/ â¢ Small Urban and Rural Transit Center: Provides graduate and continuing credit courses in public transportation and transit management. http://www.surtc.org/ Additionally, leveraging existing training and development programs can help public transportation organizations use technology in the design and delivery of training that otherwise would have been too expensive for a single organization. Technology can provide a greater variety of modes through which training materials can be delivered as well as provide the training to a wider range of employees. Note: Agencies with collective bargaining agreements may need to solicit input from union leadership on appropriate external training opportunities and identifying trainees to participate in the programs. â¢ Identify skills or knowledge areas where public transportation employees need training. This may require conducting a training needs assessment. â¢ Determine if there are already training programs in place within the organization to provide training needed by employees. â¢ Identify national, state, or industry organizations that offer relevant training and development programs suited to training employees on the needed skills when internal training programs are not available. â¢ Determine if identified organizations/programs offer curricula that fit the knowledge and skill requirements for each transit job. If the learning objectives of the training courses are not apparent, contact the providing organization to learn curriculum content and the knowledge and skills that will be taught. â¢ Request information regarding cost or other aspects of the training program needed to make decisions on whether to use it. â¢ Based on available time, money, and resources, schedule training internally or send employees to attend external training workshops. â¢ Transportation Safety Institute (TSI): Offers specialized skill development training for specific job functions within the public transportation industry. http://www.tsi.dot.gov/ â¢ APTA: Offers online training for members and training workshops at annual meetings. http://www.apta.com/resources/profdev/ webinars/Pages/default.aspx â¢ CTAA: Offers online training for members, classroom training, and workshops at annual meetings. http://web1.ctaa.org/webmodules/weba rticles/anmviewer.asp?a=32&z=36 â¢ National Transit Institute (NTI): Provides courses in a variety of areas including federal compliance, supervision, and safety and security. http://www.ntionline.com/courses/list.p hp â¢ FTA: Offers online training for its drug and alcohol programs and bus safety and security. http://transit-safety.volpe.dot.gov/ Training/new/ www.bussafety.fta.dot.gov â¢ National Rural Transit Assistance Program (RTAP): Develops and distributes training materials for smaller transit agencies. http://www.nationalrtap.org/Home.aspx Table 1-4. Training and development strategies. (continued on next page)
TRAINING AND DEVELOPMENT STRATEGY 2 Explore Available Funding for Training Description Key Implementation Steps Sample Programs Small community and rural transit agencies often require assistance to meet their training needs. There are various opportunities through state DOTs, state transit associations, the FTA, NTI, and other entities to obtain training resources or delivery at little or no cost to a transit agency. For example, RTAP provides funding for community and rural transit systems, allowing employees to participate in training opportunities. The purpose of RTAP is specifically to provide funding to small and rural transit systems for the design and implementation of training and technical assistance projects, research, or related support services. With RTAP funds, there is no federal requirement for the local transit system to match funds that are provided. This means that even without their own funds available to provide training or technical assistance, rural transit systems are able to use the RTAP funds to provide necessary training. Funding may also be available through other organizations or programs. For example, at times the Transportation Planning Capacity Building program (http://www.planning.dot.gov/training.asp) will provide training, technical assistance, and support to help transportation organizations. Additionally, the FTA has offered funding for training through programs such as the Innovative Transit Workforce Development program. (For an example announcement of funding in the Federal Register, see http://www.gpo.gov/fdsys/pkg/FR-2012-05-31/pdf/2012- 13220.pdf .) This program provided funding based on proposals submitted to promote diverse and innovative workforce development models and programs. Because workforce development includes training, funds such as these could be used to help develop training programs for transit employees. Note: Most small, rural systems are not unionized. For RTAP grants: â¢ Identify the RTAP manager in your state and determine if your transit system is eligible to receive funding. To identify a contact person, go to www.nationalrtap.org/state.aspx. â¢ Identify appropriate training courses based on the training needs of employees within the organization. â¢ Procure and use national training modules that are appropriate for developing necessary knowledge, skills, and abilities in employees. â¢ If eligible, request reimbursement for attendance at national and state transit association meetings. For other grants: â¢ Monitor potential sources of funding, such as the U.S. DOT and your state DOT, to identify grants that may provide support or funding for employee training. â¢ When funding opportunities are identified, determine if your organization meets the requirements for the grant or other funding opportunity. â¢ Apply for relevant funding opportunities following the guidelines of the specific grant or proposal opportunity. â¢ Use funds for training in accordance with the funding requirements. â¢ Jefferson Transit, WA: Uses RTAP grants to increase the budget for training and development and to help defray the costs of travel to approved training courses and conferences. http://www.jeffersontransit.com â¢ Capital Transit, AK: Uses RTAP funds to schedule courses, such as a safety institute, through the University of Alaska, Juneau. http://www.juneau.org/capitaltransit/ â¢ Treasure Valley Transit, ID: Takes advantage of RTAP scholarships to offset the cost of sending operations managers, dispatchers, and other personnel to training offered by CTAA or the Community Transportation Association of Idaho. â¢ RTAP: Develops and distributes training materials to assist transit systems in communities with populations under 50,000. http://www.nationalrtap.org/Home.aspx â¢ Reconnecting America: Resource that provides information on available federal grant opportunities from the DOT, FTA, and other federal organizations. http://reconnectingamerica.org/resource- center/federal-grant-opportunities/ TRAINING AND DEVELOPMENT STRATEGY 3 Make Training Attractive Description Key Implementation Steps Sample Programs There are multiple ways that public transportation organizations can make non-mandatory training attractive to their employees. One approach is to make the training convenient and easily accessible. Employees are more likely to attend training and development programs that align with their schedules and work interests. Therefore, training should be held during work hours and at or near the employeesâ regular work location whenever possible. Public transportation organizations should gather data from employees on the types of training to offer. It may be necessary to conduct surveys or focus groups to determine the specific elements that will draw employees into a training program and the format that will be best received by workers. It is also important that training content mirror the type of situations experienced by employees on the job. Research indicates that employees and managers are less likely to participate in training or developmental opportunities that seem irrelevant to their day-to- day job duties (Anderson et al., 2010). Certain types of training have been shown to be more attractive to employees. For example, simply stating that a training program includes computer training tends to increase the overall attractiveness of the training program (McGivern, 2003). Another popular aspect of some training is the ability to complete the training autonomously (i.e., at oneâs own pace and convenience). Finally, promoting the benefits of the training, such as what employees will gain or how the training will help their careers, can make the training more attractive to employees. The promotion of attractive elements of the training program can be the hook that draws employees in, increasing the likelihood that they will want to participate. Note: When working in a public transportation organization that has a collective bargaining agreement, it is important to work with union leadership to ensure that training content is relevant to the job and that attendance at training is viewed by union membership as a positive experience. â¢ Create a survey or conduct focus groups to gather input on elements of a training program or types of training that would be most appealing to employees. â¢ Make sure that content identified as interesting by employees is relevant to the jobs for which training is being provided. â¢ Develop or seek out training programs that incorporate attractive elements, such as simulations, hands-on training, or realistic job situations. â¢ Promote attractive elements of training programs when advertising the programs. â¢ Survey employees to determine their availability to attend training based on workload and convenience. â¢ Establish schedules for attendance at both in-house and external training for employees based on availability survey data. â¢ Use existing regularly scheduled meetings as an opportunity to present formal or informal training. â¢ Explore both transit-specific and non-transit opportunities for online training that are applicable for public transportation jobs. â¢ OATS, Inc. (MO): Gathers managers from across the state for a monthly meeting. Training is built into these meetings, allowing geographically dispersed managers to receive the same training at the same time, even though they are dispersed across rural communities. http://www.oatstransit.org â¢ OCCK, Inc.: Offers all staff monthly and quarterly training sessions that correspond with the traditional lunch hour, and lunch is provided as an incentive for participation. http://www.occk.com â¢ Coast Transit Authority: Makes extensive use of online training courses from both private vendors and the FTA to make training accessible to employees at convenient times. http://www.coasttransit.com â¢ UPS Integrad Program: Provides interactive, hands- on instruction for drivers that includes computer-based training, simulations, virtual learning, and self-study. This training helps provide a realistic look at the tasks that will be required on the job and presents material to employees in a manner that is more attractive than training conducted solely through a lecture. Hands-on experience is used to help trainees learn actual job tasks. For example, rather than being told how to lift heavy loads, trainees are videotaped lifting different weights to see what they are doing correctly or incorrectly. This program helps drivers reach proficiency faster than previous training programs and has reduced injuries and accidents on the job. http://responsibility.ups.com/Safety/Training+For+Sa fety/UPS+Integrad http://www.trainingmag.com/article/ups-moves- driver-training-classroom-simulator Table 1-4. (Continued).
TRAINING AND DEVELOPMENT STRATEGY 4 Address Training Needs in Conjunction with Performance Appraisals Description Key Implementation Steps Sample Programs Performance appraisals evaluate the job performance of employees. Typically, performance appraisals give employees performance feedback, identify skills gaps, and link to administrative decisions such as salary, promotions, and the allocation of rewards. Performance is generally assessed using a number of objectives or quantitative and qualitative standards. While performance appraisal is typically used to make staffing decisions, it can also be used to identify training needs. The specific areas in which employees show skill deficits during performance appraisals should indicate training needs. Research has shown that when training opportunities and resources are provided to help the employee address weaknesses identified in the performance appraisal, employee satisfaction with the appraisal is increased (Boswell and Boudreau, 2000). To effectively use performance appraisals, it is necessary that employees see the appraisals as fair so that they agree with the need for training and take training opportunities seriously. While linking performance appraisals to skill attainment is beneficial, individual development plans should be kept separate from performance appraisal decisions (e.g., promotions, salary increases) to encourage employees to candidly self-evaluate and identify their own weaknesses or desired areas for improvement. In other words, information gathered in a performance appraisal can be used to create an individual development plan, but these development plans should not be used for administrative decisions. Employees will feel more comfortable addressing professional weaknesses or desired professional growth if it is clear their developmental goals will not be used against them in employment decisions. While areas identified for improvement may not be tied directly to skills needed for their immediate job, investing in training opportunities can be attractive to employees who desire to seek out new professional developmental opportunities. Note: Performance appraisal systems involving employees that are members of a union must be consistent with the union contract. â¢ Based on an analysis of job descriptions and organizational goals, identify specific factors against which employee performance will be measured. â¢ Based on the identified success factors, develop a valid formal appraisal tool and methodology that are linked to critical competencies. â¢ Link training programs to specific competencies in the performance appraisal. â¢ Create reference materials that describe available training programs and their relation to the performance appraisal competencies as well as how supervisory coaching can help employee development. â¢ Provide information to supervisors about creating performance development plans with their employees. â¢ Implement a performance appraisal process for all employees. Performance appraisals should occur at least annually, with appraisals being ongoing in the organization. â¢ Instruct supervisors to create individual development plans with their employees and distinguish these from the formal appraisals. â¢ Atomic City Transit (Los Alamos, NM): Conducts annual performance appraisals that link the job description with evaluation factors and identify training goals for individual employees. http://www.losalamosnm.us/transit/Pages/defa ult.aspx â¢ PDRTA (SC): Performs initial appraisals for managers 6 months after hire or promotion, then after another 6 months, and annually thereafter. The structured appraisal includes 15 factors to determine specific areas of strength or weakness that can inform opportunities for future training and development. http://www.pdrta.org/http://www.pdrta.org/ â¢ City of Charlotte, NC, Balanced Scorecard: Based on individualsâ progress toward meeting five specified goals, performance plans are developed that specify needed development areas and possible training opportunities. http://charmeck.org/city/charlotte/Budget/Doc uments/City%20of%20Charlotte%20Balanced %20Scorecard.pdf â¢ Capital Metropolitan Transportation Authority: Completed needs assessments for supervisors and managers to determine skill gaps. Based on the identified skill gaps, training was administered regarding presentation skills, effective meeting management, and project management. http://www.capmetro.org/uploadedFiles/Capm etroorg/About_Us/Finance_and_Audit/CapMe tro-Budget-FY2012.pdf (see page 111) TRAINING AND DEVELOPMENT STRATEGY 5 Create a Corporate College for On-the-Job Training and Certification Description Key Implementation Steps Sample Programs The purpose of a corporate college is to provide a standardized training curriculum for certain jobs or career paths within public transportation organizations. This type of program can be used to highlight the parallel between corporate training and a traditional university experience and to show employees the importance of participating in job training. Employees are more likely to take advantage of training opportunities when they can see a structure to the training and the relevance to their job performance and career advancement is apparent. Employees that attend training become more invested employees, and this investment in the organization grows as participation in training increases (Brum, 2007). Thus, offering a full curriculum that employees can complete will motivate employees and encourage them to stay with the organization since they know what training is available to them moving forward. When developing a corporate college, it is important to first identify required job skills for career paths so appropriate training courses can be identified or created. Once appropriate training courses are selected, a road map or flowchart of courses should be created to display the developed curriculum. This road map should include all training courses included in the program as well as the order in which they should be taken and the length of the training course. The full progression and content of the corporate college should be easily understood based on this flowchart. For each training course in the program, content should be included that relates directly to the career path or job for which the program has been developed. For example, training courses could include the trainees performing tasks that actually occur on the job while a trainer observes and provides feedback. Any certifications that employees will need in a specified career path should be included in the training curriculum, along with any necessary preparation for these exams. Instituting a corporate college is a good way to show employees that the public transportation organization is invested in their development, likely making them more interested in attending and completing the training program. This type of program can be especially beneficial in jobs that do not require a college education because employees are less likely to feel that they missed the educational benefits of a college experience. Note: If operating in a transit organization with a collective bargaining agreement, it may be necessary to consider union seniority of applicants when selecting employees to participate in the programs. â¢ Conduct a job task analysis to determine requirements of jobs and the KSAs that must be developed to effectively perform jobs within the public transportation organization. â¢ Develop a list of experiences and certifications that an employee should accomplish in a specified position. â¢ Create a training curriculum for specified positions that shows employeesâ training requirements, experience needs, and required certifications. â¢ Develop a road map that displays the entire training program for a selected career path, including all training courses that must be completed, as well as outcomes, such as certifications that will be earned. â¢ Provide employees with a method of documenting their progress within the developed corporate college curriculum. â¢ Florida DOT Transit Operator Training Program: Developed to provide standardized curriculum training to public transit operator trainers and includes a voluntary certification program. The program includes multiple courses that, when completed, provide participants with a certificate of completion. http://www.transitoperations.org/ â¢ Los Angeles MTA, Mechanic OJT Program: Combines classroom instruction with on-the-job training (OJT) in an 18-month course. Participants learn to diagnose and repair various problems associated with the buses they will service as mechanics for the Los Angeles MTA. This program was developed to put participants on a new career track with opportunities for personal advancement. http://www.metro.net/news/simple_pr/meet -metros-newest-mechanics-13-rise-ranks- service/ â¢ Delaware Department of Transportation: Provides outlines of training programs for many positions throughout the organization. Documentation such as this provides employees with the opportunity to see what training is necessary for various positions and what will be needed to progress in the organization. http://deldot.gov/information/pubs_forms/m anuals/ojt/pdf/obj_prog_guide.pdf (continued on next page) Table 1-4. (Continued).
TRAINING AND DEVELOPMENT STRATEGY 6 Adopt Means of Supporting Higher Education and Training for Employees Description Key Implementation Steps Sample Programs Employees value an organization that invests in them and their education and training. By supporting higher education programs, public transportation organizations can assist employees in furthering their education or attending training that will help them to better perform their jobs. Supporting higher education can help employees obtain necessary training without a financial requirement on their part, making education more attainable for many employees. There are many ways in which public transportation organizations can support higher education and training for employees. For example, some programs provide college credits in exchange for work, scholarship opportunities, and tuition reimbursement. While some employers believe that tuition reimbursement or other education benefits are problematic because employees might leave the organization after receiving their education, there is research that shows investing in employee education to help them obtain a bachelorâs degree actually reduces turnover by 50% (Benson, Finegold, and Mohrman, 2004). An alternative to tuition reimbursement is advance tuition funding. This alternative allows employees without financial means the opportunity to further their education by providing funds in advance of a course rather than reimbursement after. When administering a tuition reimbursement plan or other form of higher education support, it is important to educate supervisors on the program and appropriate courses so they are able to give approval to their employees for the classes. This will help ensure that courses reimbursed are relevant to the job or the degree being pursued. Courses and degrees should be relevant to the employeeâs job since employees working toward degrees unrelated to their jobs have greater intentions of leaving the organization once a degree is obtained (Pattie, Benson, and Baruch, 2006). In addition to ensuring that employees are able to receive the proper training, supporting higher education of employees provides a financial incentive that helps recruit and retain them by demonstrating an interest in their development. Many employees will choose to stay with an organization they feel is investing in them and their future, supporting the benefits of this strategy. Note: Traditionally, tuition reimbursement programs are rarely open for members of collective bargaining agreements but should be considered. â¢ Determine the best methods for the public transportation organization to support higher education and training (e.g., tuition reimbursements, college credit for work tasks, scholarships). â¢ Develop a policy and requirements for the education plan; for example, determine classes appropriate for tuition reimbursement or employee eligibility for scholarship programs. â¢ Develop any necessary relationships to make the program successful (e.g., local college to provide credit toward a degree, a company specializing in tuition reimbursement). â¢ Develop a standardized process to accept and process requests for educational assistance. â¢ Educate supervisors on the plan to help determine employee eligibility. â¢ Communicate the plan and requirements to all employees. Identify contact person for employee questions. â¢ Oklahoma DOT: Offers an engineering training program that helps engineers prepare for the professional engineering exam. It provides books, video tapes, and training for the exam, and pays tuition for college classes related to the engineerâs job. http://www.okladot.state.ok.us/engr-train/program.htm â¢ Caltrans: Offers tuition reimbursement to employees at a rate of 100% for job-required classes and 50% for job- related courses. www.dot.ca.gov â¢ Sweden: Provides college students in a variety of majors with small scholarships to write their senior projects on transportation topics. http://www.nhi.fhwa.dot.gov/transworkforce/european.asp â¢ UPS Tuition Assistance Program and College Partnership: Offers assistance to employees who wish to further their education. This program is available to full- time non-union employees, part-time management employees, and part-time union employees. Additionally, UPS has a partnership with Thomas Edison State College that allows employees to pursue an online degree while working at UPS. https://ups.managehr.com/benefits.htm â¢ Covenant Health: Provides tuition reimbursement to employees looking to further their education. Additionally, the work/school plan helps employees who are currently in a health care education program and will be taking a licensure exam within 1 year of course completion. http://www.covenanthealth.org/Careers/HealthTraxx- Program/Tuition-Reimbursement.aspx â¢ Wal-Mart Lifelong Learning Program: Involves a partnership with American Public University that offers employees the opportunity to earn college credit for working at Wal-Mart when they complete certain training programs and work duties. The program also includes a tuition grant for employees. https://www.apus.edu/walmart/eligibility/index.htm TRAINING AND DEVELOPMENT STRATEGY 7 Institute Internship or Apprenticeship Programs Description Key Implementation Steps Sample Programs An internship or apprenticeship program can be used to train new or potential employees. These programs provide valuable hands- on experience and on-the-job training to individuals who may not have a great deal of experience relevant to the job. While participants in internship programs may not be full-time employees of the public transportation organization, interns will often join the organization once they graduate from college or complete the internship requirements. Internship programs train apprentices in job-related skills. In turn, the individual is then better prepared to accept full-time employment in the public transportation industry. A successful internship program enables participating individuals to immediately contribute to the organization once hired. When developing an internship or apprenticeship program, participants can be incentivized or compensated in a variety of ways (Cronin et al., 2012). One example is a paid structure in which the organization pays students while they work. Another example is an academic credit structure, where the organization partners with a nearby college, university, or trade school and offers academic credit for successful completion and a strong performance evaluation. One final potential incentive structure is a scholarship structure, in which the organization does not pay interns while they work, but, after successful completion of the program, students can apply for a scholarship to help pay for their next year of school. To help ensure that internships provide beneficial training to participants, it is important to assign meaningful tasks. Interns should be asked to contribute to the substantive work of the organization rather than complete menial tasks. Internship and apprenticeship programs can be extremely beneficial to public transportation organizations by helping provide a pipeline of strong talent through investing in the younger workforce. Internships can also lower training costs in that interns gather on-the-job knowledge otherwise taught in basic training courses. Note: In public transportation organizations with collective bargaining agreements, interns or apprentices may require union representation, and it may be necessary to secure support of the programâs union representatives and involve them in decisions. â¢ Determine the type of program to be implemented and the positions/projects for which interns or apprentices will be hired. â¢ Identify the KSAs and competencies needed in applicants as well as the KSAs and competencies that can be developed during the program. â¢ Determine the number of positions that will be available through the program and the duration of these positions. This should be determined based on available budget and the amount of work to be accomplished. â¢ Develop job descriptions for the program that can be used to inform applicants of the positions. These should include the requirements of the position, anticipated duties, and required KSAs. â¢ Communicate the program to current employees to ensure awareness. â¢ Market the program to appropriate audiences, dependent on the specific program implemented (e.g., technical or vocational high school students, college engineering students). â¢ On the first day of the program, host an orientation meeting to introduce interns or apprentices to the organization, their position, and their supervisors. â¢ During the program, provide participants with realistic, on-the-job training and experiences. â¢ Offer full-time, regular employment to qualified individuals following completion of the program. â¢ New York City Transit Cooperative Apprenticeship Program: Partnered with the local union and New York Board of Education to enlist vocational and technical high school graduates as apprentices in a structured training environment, lasting 18 months to 3 years. http://council.icte.us/node/19 â¢ Minnesota DOT Seeds Program: Connects students with on-the-job learning opportunities and builds them into well-qualified job candidates with a special focus on increasing ethnic, gender, and economic diversity. http://www.dot.state.mn.us/jobs/seeds.html â¢ Oregon DOT College Internship Program: Introduces interested engineering students to the agency while providing them the opportunity to obtain hands-on experience and training with other employees. http://www.oregon.gov/ODOT/CS/HR/career ops.shtml â¢ Los Angeles MTA, Metro Internship Program: Offers currently enrolled college students an opportunity to gain practical experience in their field during a paid internship. Internships occur in many fields, such as administration, engineering, and human resources. Interns can work on assignments for up to 2 years. http://www.metro.net/about/jobs/internship- opportunities/ â¢ Nebraska Department of Economic Development: Provides information on internship programs and advice on developing a successful internship program. http://neded.org/files/businessdevelopment/in ternne/EmployerGuidebook_DevelopingSucc essfulInternshipProgram.pdf Table 1-4. (Continued).
TRAINING AND DEVELOPMENT STRATEGY 8 Develop Partnerships with Other Organizations Description Key Implementation Steps Sample Programs Public transportation organization partnerships can be developed with a wide variety of valuable community organizations, including other transit agencies, local community colleges or universities, and unions. Each of these training partnership opportunities offers unique benefits to public transportation organizations. When developing partnerships with other transit agencies, developing a consortium can be beneficial. A consortium is a group of partners that work in the same geographic and technical areas. This partnership strategy involves bringing together a group of transit organizations that share relevant experiences and needs. These partnerships can help to lessen the training development burden to a single transit organization since multiple entities are able to contribute resources and insights to the development and implementation of a unified curriculum (Kamensky, Burlin, and Abramson, 2004). Making a common curriculum available to transit employees within a specific area or region can help address knowledge gaps across organizations. Developing partnerships with local high schools, community colleges, or universities can also benefit public transportation organizations. With this type of partnership, students can form connections with public transportation organizations and individuals within the organizations. These connections can help students learn about the public transportation industry and the career opportunities it offers. Students can be brought in for career days, internships, or other activities that teach them about the public transportation industry and encourage learning and future employment in the industry. Providing training to students and educating them about the public transportation industry helps bring young people into the industry. Due to this prior industry exposure, the need for new- hire training upon job entry may be reduced. Note: Partnering with labor unions can help build skills and strengthen the public transportation workforce because unions and transit systems can work together to develop relevant training for new technologies or other changes experienced in the workplace. When developing these partnerships, it is critically important that union leadership has a voice in the decision-making process. â¢ Identify areas in which partnerships would be valuable for the organization and the types of partners needed. For example, if training needs updating, consider nearby organizations in a similar industry with similar jobs. If looking for future interns or to increase the future workforce, consider local colleges or technical programs. â¢ Identify local organizations with similar goals or needs, with expertise not already held within the transit agency, or that could help meet specific training needs. â¢ Approach identified organizations to request partnership. â¢ Lay out the responsibilities of each partnering organization to ensure that work is not duplicated and that all necessary work is completed. â¢ Maintain frequent communication among partners to ensure mutual understanding of the project, training and development program, or other partnership activity. â¢ Southern California Regional Transit Training Consortium: Employs a learning model that brings together 27 local community colleges, transit agencies, and universities to develop coordinated methods of training the regionâs technical transportation workforce. This consortium has delivered more than 21,000 total hours of training. http://www.scrttc.com/ â¢ APTA, Transportation Learning Center (TLC), Amalgamated Transit Union (ATU), and Transport Workers Union (TWU): Partnership exists among experts from approximately 40 transit agencies and local unions to create standards and curricula for transit technicians that aids in providing a common curriculum to many students. http://www.apta.com/resources/profdev/workfo rce/Documents/Working_Together.pdf â¢ Transit Elevator/Escalator Training Consortium: Joint effort involving transit agencies and unions to develop detailed coursework and a curriculum for employees who perform maintenance on transit elevators and escalators. http://transportcenter.org/images/uploads/208% 20Escalator%20Specific%20Principles%20of% 20Operation%20FINAL%20DRAFT.pdf â¢ Red Rose Transit Authority, PA: Belongs to a consortium of transit providers that formed an insurance company and through that company developed an online training program with various training modules to be used by members. TRAINING AND DEVELOPMENT STRATEGY 9 Develop a Job Mentoring Program Description Key Implementation Steps Sample Programs Mentoring programs (both formal and informal) are effective in quickly developing and onboarding entry-level staff or other employees new to the public transportation industry. Mentoring programs typically involve pairing someone more junior in the organization with an individual in a similar field of work with greater experience in the organization (e.g., 5+ years) and a successful performance record. A mentoring program can be an effective tool for training and developing employees since experienced mentors can help new employees understand the job tasks required and how to complete them as well as familiarize new employees with the organizational culture. Additionally, assigning employees a mentor is seen as a cost-effective and successful means of transitioning employees from training into full-time work and reducing turnover (Anderson et al., 2010). Before assigning mentors to work with mentees, it is important to prescreen the mentors to ensure that there are no performance issues or interpersonal relationship problems with others in the organization. When pairing mentees and mentors, there are a variety of criteria to use for matching purposes (Cronin et al., 2012). One type of match criterion is competency matching, where weaker competency areas for the mentee are identified and a mentor with strengths in that specific area is selected. In job type matching, a mentor in the same job as the mentee is selected. When using demographic characteristic matching, mentees are matched with someone in their same job or line of business that shares common characteristics, such as gender, race, or age. To help ensure that the mentoring program is effective, it is important to continuously monitor and evaluate it at regular intervals. This monitoring process includes gathering feedback from both mentees and mentors on program effectiveness. Structured evaluations should be used so that comparisons can be made across evaluation applications. Note: When working in a unionized organization, it is important to get union leadership input on decisions related to involving union members in mentoring programs. â¢ Design the mentoring program by laying out the program objectives, coordinators, size, and scope. â¢ Determine the criteria that will be used to match mentees with mentors (e.g., competency, job type, demographic). â¢ Promote the program to new employees as well as potential mentors to ensure wide awareness of the program. â¢ Recruit potential mentors, ensuring that they receive information about programs benefits, expectations, and commitments. â¢ Train mentors on their roles. This training could include what it means to be a mentor and how to be a successful mentor. â¢ Invite mentees to participate in the program. This should be done during recruitment and onboarding if the mentoring program is already in place. â¢ Match mentors and mentees based on the previously established criteria and provide the pairâs contact information to one another. â¢ Conduct orientation and training to introduce menteeâmentor pairs to one other, outline the mentoring programâs structure and objectives, and identify resources available to the pairs. â¢ Help mentorâmentee pairs build camaraderie by offering activities for mutual participation. â¢ Monitor and evaluate the program at regular intervals to ensure that mentorâ mentee relationships are beneficial and the program is successful. â¢ Idaho DOT Engineer-in-Training (EIT) Mentoring Program: Requires participation in a mentoring program as part of the EIT program that exposes new employees to the organization and technical job requirements. An experienced engineer mentor is paired with a new trainee mentee, with requirements to meet for at least 1 hour each month. http://itd.idaho.gov/eit/ â¢ Capital District Transportation Authority, Albany, NY: Facilitates a voluntary formal mentoring program; mentors provide coaching and monitor mentee progress on required readings and learning. http://www.cdta.org/documents/aboutsectionstrategi cbusinessplan2009.pdf (See page 27) â¢ JWI New Operator/Mentor Pilot Project: Pairs new operators with veteran exemplary operators who act as mentors. Mentees spend 8-hour days on the mentorâs bus at the beginning of the relationship, and the mentor spends time on the menteeâs bus at a later time. http://www.strongorganizations.com/JWImentors.html â¢ Los Angeles MTA, Entry Level Trainee Program: Provides recent college graduates with work experience in public transportation. Participants receive a minimum salary of $20/hour. MTA has experienced and well-qualified mentors for a variety of jobs. http://www.metro.net/about/jobs/eltp/ â¢ U.S. Department of Energy, Mentoring Program: Supports reciprocal relationships between mentors and mentees that provide opportunities for personal and professional growth. This program is successful because senior management recognizes the importance of the programs and provides resources and support. http://www.opm.gov/WIKI/uploads/docs/Wiki/OPM /training/DOE%20Mentoring%20Brochure.pdf Table 1-4. (Continued). (continued on next page)
TRAINING AND DEVELOPMENT STRATEGY 10 Ensure that Transfer of Training Occurs Description Key Implementation Steps Sample Programs To ensure that training and development programs have the intended positive effect, public transportation organizations should plan in advance of training implementation to ensure that transfer of training occurs following the training and development program. Transfer of training means that the knowledge and skills learned during training are applied in the actual work setting once training is completed (Salas and Cannon-Bowers, 2001). Transfer of training to workforce performance is more likely to occur when the learning objectives of the training course align with the jobs of the training participants, and this alignment is evident to participants. Making sure that the training is relevant to their jobs encourages participants to see it as important and take the training seriously. To achieve this alignment, training should include opportunities to engage the participants in exercises that include job-relevant scenarios. Making sure that the procedures used in training mimic the actual job environment helps to prepare trainees for the real job once training is completed. Further, when developing a training course, it is important to follow principles of instructional design to ensure that the course is of high quality and can meet the intended needs (e.g., ADDIE model). Additional steps to help ensure that transfer of training occurs include allowing significant time for practice during training, providing feedback to training participants, using knowledgeable training instructors, removing obstacles to the implementation of training material into the workplace, showing supervisor and executive leader support for the training, providing reference aides to use following training, and encouraging participants to form a network of peer support following the training program. Note: If a collective bargaining agreement is in place, a public transportation organization may need to consult union leadership regarding the implementation of training programs. â¢ Conduct a needs assessment to determine specific training needs. (Note: If not previously conducted, this may involve establishing a detailed competency model and determining how staff rate on the competencies needed for job performance.) â¢ If developing training, follow established training development standards, such as the ADDIE model, so the training program is developed in a high-quality manner. â¢ Develop the training program to include significant amounts of interactive components, such as role plays, to allow trainees to practice skills learned during training. â¢ Communicate the training program to employees and make sure they understand its connection with the job and skills needed for the job. â¢ Identify knowledgeable individuals to serve as trainers for the programâpossibly experienced employees from the company or a professional trainer. â¢ Provide feedback to participants during training. â¢ Implement both periodic formative assessments (assessing understanding of concepts throughout the training) and summative assessments (assessing acquisition of skills at the end of training) to ensure that participants clearly understand the concepts. â¢ Provide resources to help participants connect after training and receive support from other training participants and supervisors. UPS Integrad Program: Employs a hands-on, realistic approach to training. In the program, 3-D simulations and video games are designed to mimic an actual driving situation, and trainees are recorded to enable feedback on performance during training. Additionally, this program makes trainees responsible for their own learning by giving them activities to do and letting them choose the order and timing of training, thus helping ensure that transfer of training occurs. http://www.community.ups.com/Safety/Training+ For+Safety/UPS+Integrad â¢ â¢ Coast Transit, Colfax WA: Uses used buses to train new bus drivers, allowing for realistic training experiences. â¢ Golden Empire Transit District, Bakersfield, CA: Requires post-accident training for all bus operators involved in preventable accidents. Training includes one-on-one time with a trainer and targets skills that could have prevented the accident. Skills must be performed proficiently before training is completed. â¢ Red Rose Transit Authority, PA: Uses an online training platform that provides instant feedback regarding whether the bus driver understood the concepts in the training materials. The post-training test must be passed to complete training. â¢ Brothers Grimm, Bluffdale, UT: Creates realistic disaster scenarios to train community emergency response teams to respond to disaster scenarios. Disaster simulations resemble an actual disaster and include actors posing as injured people, with realistic make-up applications of injuries as well as disaster visual effects. Providing disaster training that simulates an actual disaster situation helps emergency responders act appropriately when a disaster occurs. http://www.brothersgrimmdisasters.com/ Table 1-4. (Continued). TRAINING AND DEVELOPMENT STRATEGY 11 Place a High Priority on Safety- and Security-Related Training Description Key Implementation Steps Sample Programs There are at least three reasons why keeping employees and customers safe and secure must be a top priority for any public transportation organization. First, prioritizing safety is clearly consistent with the voluntary guidance and regulatory requirements of the U.S. DOT, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, the FTA, and individual state DOTs. Second, building safety and security infrastructure has historically proven to be an extremely positive step in reducing agency liability and the cost of insurance. Third, public transportation has a moral responsibility to protect the lives of people it employs and serves. Safety and security training must be addressed immediately upon hiring and periodically thereafter as refresher training. Safety- and security-related training programs should be developed based on the organizationâs safety and security plans, policies and procedures, and skills required for each job function. Using this information helps to improve the effectiveness of the training program since employees are trained on information specific to their organization and the procedures and equipment that will actually be used on the job. Organizations with limited resources may be able to adapt safety training provided by national transportation organizations (see Sample Programs column). All safety and security training should include both classroom and on-the-job components. The classroom component of safety training is used to teach concepts and background information, providing the basic knowledge that is necessary for employees to understand required safety practices. The on-the-job components of training allow trainees to focus on developing skills as they occur in actual working conditions (Rothwell and Kazanas, 2004). During the on-the-job training component, it is valuable for trainees to experience as many situations as possible that they will experience on the job. This helps to ensure that they will be prepared to effectively deal with a variety of safety- and security-related issues that may arise on the job. The effectiveness of the training should be measured through post- training testing and performance reviews. Post-training assessments help to ensure that trainees have learned and developed the appropriate skills. Note: It is important to involve union leadership in developing and implementing frontline safety and security training. â¢ Conduct hazard, threat, and vulnerability assessments using formalized methodologies to identify safety hazards and safety and security vulnerabilities that can be reduced. â¢ Develop training programs to address hazards and vulnerabilities using both internal and external expertise to ensure that the training adequately addresses all aspects of hazards and vulnerabilities. â¢ Identify knowledgeable individuals to serve as trainers for the programs. These trainers may be from within the organization or an outside expert. â¢ Deliver training both in the classroom and on the job. â¢ Conduct post-training assessments of all skills that should have been acquired during training to make sure that training is effectively teaching the safety and security skills. â¢ Monitor post-training employee performance to ensure safety and security skills are being used appropriately on the job. â¢ Use coaching, counseling, and discipline to reinforce positive safety and security performance. â¢ FTA Bus Safety and Security Program: Provides voluntary guidance and technical assistance materials on bus safety and security concerns through a national website. http://bussafety.fta.dot.gov â¢ FTA Transit Security: Provides resources and training tools such as videos and training documents to assist in training for transit security. http://transit-safety.volpe.dot.gov/ Security/TrainingTools/default.asp â¢ NTI: Provides safety and security training and materials through train-the-trainer and direct- delivery approaches. http://www.ntionline.com â¢ TSI: Provides safety and security training and materials through train-the-trainer and direct- delivery approaches. http://www.tsi.dot.gov/ â¢ CTAA: Provides a variety of training and certifications, including Passenger Service and Safety (PASS), Certified Safety and Security Officer (CSSO), and Community Transportation Safety and Security Accreditation (CTSSA). http://www.ctaa.org â¢ Treasure Valley Transit, ID: Uses a required training program that includes passenger safety and security, defensive driving, CPR, and first aid, and conducts safety meetings to discuss various topics or employee issues or concerns. â¢ Golden Empire Transit District: Requires bus operator post-accident training following every preventable accident. Spending time one-on-one with a trainer ensures that operators can demonstrate proficiency upon completion of training.
Module 1: Tailor effective Strategies into Workforce Practices 1-31 1.4 Professional Capacity-Building Overview This section provides an overview of effective professional capacity-building strategies that are relevant to public trans- portation organizations. The introductory text provides an overview of the features of professional capacity-building pro- grams, some of the challenges that drive the need for effective strategies, the impact of strategic professional capacity-building initiatives, and the relationship of professional capacity build- ing to managing the public transportation industryâs image. 1.4.1 Description Professional capacity building is the process of building knowledge and competency across different jobs in an organi- zation so that employees are better positioned to understand the larger work of the organization and fulfill new roles through- out their careers. When employees retire, there is potential for loss of organizational knowledge and skills if there are no similarly qualified employees to assume the vacated roles. Due to difficulties often involved in recruiting external employees, developing employees from within for future leadership roles in public transportation organizations is valuable. Neverthe- less, many organizations focus their talent management pro- grams on new employees and their senior leaders, leaving a gap during the early and prime career years. A serious gap of key talent can occur among employees who do not occupy either extreme (Galinsky, Carter, and Bond, 2008). According to NCHRP Report 685, the goal of professional capacity build- ing is to help organizations effectively close these workforce gaps (Cronin et al., 2011). Professional capacity-building mechanisms include a vari- ety of succession planning tools as well as strategies that allow employees to perform better at their current jobs while simul- taneously preparing for potential future workforce challenges. Professional capacity-building methods should include the development of behavioral competencies for training, devel- opment planning, and evaluation of employees that show strong potential to grow with the organization (Greer and Virick, 2008). 1.4.2 Challenges for Public Transportation A number of factors suggest that the public transportation industry could struggle to fill its professional and leadership positions with sufficient numbers of qualified employees. Public transportation organizations may face issues similar to those encountered by state transportation agencies in terms of competitiveness with the private sector. NCHRP Synthesis 323 (Warne, 2003) found that the top three reasons employees in transportation leave their jobs are better pay elsewhere (56% of respondents), retirement (38% of respondents), and better Professional Capacity-Building Strategy Highlights Â¾ Important Elements â¢ Develop from within. â¢ Identify gaps in professional capacity. â¢ Close gaps between new and senior employee development. â¢ Train leaders to develop young talent. â¢ Develop advancement opportunities. â¢ Promote diverse skill development. Professional Capacity Building Recruitment Processes Training and Develop- ment Retention Processes Â¾ Key Challenges Facing Public Transportation â¢ Impending retirements. â¢ Limited emphasis on management skills. â¢ Cultural differences. Â¾ 10 Effective Professional Capacity-Building Strategies â¢ Develop a management university/academy. â¢ Establish regular management retreats, workshops, and leadership events. â¢ Use competency-based leader selection and training. â¢ Implement mentoring/coaching programs for leaders. â¢ Institute a job rotation program. â¢ Use cross-training or shadowing. â¢ Develop formal career paths. â¢ Use individual development plans. â¢ Implement workforce/succession planning. â¢ Develop a knowledge management system.
1-32 Building a Sustainable Workforce in the Public Transportation IndustryâA Systems Approach promotion opportunities elsewhere (31% of respondents). Excluding retirees, many of the employees surveyed left for similar jobs in the private sector (Warne, 2003). Likewise, public transportation organizations may find it difficult to compete when a large, private company recruits new employees in the area. Private organizations may offer more competitive benefits and growth opportunities, potentially drawing away a public transportation organizationâs best employees and reducing its pool of future leaders (Cronin et al., 2011). When funding declines, public transportation organizations may also have to embrace cost-cutting measures such as hiring freezes. Cost-cutting measures can force public transportation organizations to lay off valuable employees and lose their acquired knowledge and leadership potential in the process. These examples and other workforce factors may contribute to a number of challenges for public transportation organizations trying to develop talent capable of filling professional vacancies (i.e., engineers, engineering technicians, IT personnel) and leadership positions. Additional chal- lenges are noted in the following. Impending retirements. Several transportation studies have shown that at least 50% of the transit workforce will be eligible to retire during the present decadeâdouble the rate of the nationâs entire workforce (Warne, 2003; TRB, 2003). While the recent economic slowdown delayed some retirement decisions, the number of retirement-eligible employees continues to grow such that a mass exodus of qualified employees may occur once the economy recovers. Thus, while the customer base may grow, many organizations will experience a large, sudden gap in intellectual capital (Cronin et al., 2012). Limited emphasis on management skills. Research has identified that public transpor- tation organizations often place individuals in supervisory positions based on technical skills rather than managerial competency. A lack of managerial expertise in leadership could lead to poor employeeâmanager relationships. In addition, knowledge transfer does not occur as seam- lessly between older, higher-ranking employees and their younger counterparts, resulting in a longer learning process for a more junior employee assuming a higher-level role (Cronin et al., 2011). Public transportation organizations are challenged with evaluating managers and find- ing ways to transfer both the leadership skills and institutional knowledge needed to perform effectively in management positions. Cultural differences. Promotional decisions in public transportation organizations are often made on the basis of seniority. Because of their traditional tenure in the industry, Cau- casian males have been promoted in a higher proportion than other groups. However, public transportation organizations may have to develop replacements from populations that are much younger and contain greater ethnic and gender diversity (Cronin et al., 2012). Transit managers may have trouble relating to members of another gender or ethnic or cultural background, mak- ing knowledge transfer more difficult. In order to ensure that essential institutional knowledge is transferred to qualified individuals regardless of their background, it is important that agencies are intentional about their plans for including minorities in their succession planning and that top management fully supports these plans (Cronin et al., 2011). 1.4.3 Impact of Effective Strategies Professional capacity building, when executed correctly, enables public transportation organi- zations to develop high-potential employees, supervisors, and managers to fill vacant positions in a timely manner. Professional capacity building can also help employees better understand the larger context of their jobs within their organization. According to NCHRP Report 685, by devel- oping and promoting current employees and supervisors into more senior positions, transit agencies save money on recruitment and training costs, ensure that their workforce is trained and developed, and increase retention by helping employees recognize their value to the organization
Module 1: Tailor effective Strategies into Workforce Practices 1-33 and their opportunities for advancement (Cronin et al., 2011). Many such strategies detailed in TRB Special Report 275 have the added benefit of improving current job performance and help- ing to address expanded agency missions, the need to keep skills current, changing skill needs in downsized organizations, and rapidly changing technologies (TRB, 2003). The specific professional capacity-building strategies presented in this section were included due to their potential to influence a number of important positive organizational outcomes for public transportation organizations. Results of one study indicate that developing employee career paths improves job satisfaction, employee motivation, and employee commitment (Griffin et al., 2000). An advanced leadership program (ALP) developed by the Maryland State Highway Association (SHA) resulted in an increase in the number of qualified leaders that were prepared and ready to move into higher levels of leadership responsibility when those opportunities became available. Another result was an increase in tenure for those junior lead- ers who would have otherwise moved on to higher-paying private-sector positions if not for their involvement in the ALP (Cronin et al., 2011). A succession planning program conducted by the Minnesota DOT also increased the transparency of hiring for high-level positions by communicating the expected qualifications for those positions (Cronin et al., 2011). Training current leaders to recognize and develop young talent is important as well. Research results indicate that leaders who receive transformational leadership training have a greater impact on direct follower development and on indirect follower performance, thereby improving overall organizational effectiveness when compared to leaders who receive traditional transactional training (Dvir et al., 2002). 1.4.4 Relationship to Image Management In order to transform the image of the public transportation industry into being an employer of choice for new and current talent, organizations must invest in professional capacity building. According to NCHRP Report 693, younger employees, especially those with high potential, place a great deal of emphasis on advancement opportunities when making employment decisions (Cronin et al., 2012). In order to attract and retain top talent, public transportation organizations must demonstrate to junior staff that they have a rewarding career path with the organization, that there are clear competency- and performance-based standards for promotion and compen- sation, and that employeesâ work will be progressively more challenging and stimulating if they remain with the organization. Providing developmental opportunities and ensuring that appli- cants are aware of these opportunities have been identified as a way to address recruiting prob- lems experienced by transit agencies and to attract candidates to transit jobs (Anderson et al., 2007). Image management is also crucial to attracting nontraditional candidates. For example, participants in one study indicated that women may not be choosing public transportation jobs because they perceive these jobs as having gender barriers that inhibit successful career advance- ment. Studies involving ethnic minorities have found similar perceptions (Cronin et al., 2007). By developing more flexible career paths and a more individualized approach to career growth, transit organizations can improve their image as employers of choice among nontraditional applicants. 1.4.5 Effective Professional Capacity-Building Strategies To implement professional capacity-building programs that will be successful in the pub- lic transportation industry, transit organizations can rely on a number of proven strategies. Table 1-5 presents 10 strategies for effective professional capacity building. Each table section begins with the title of the strategy and includes a description, steps to implement the strategy, and examples of successful programs based on the strategy.
1-34 Building a Sustainable Workforce in the Public Transportation IndustryâA Systems Approach PROFESSIONAL CAPACITY-BUILDING STRATEGY 2 Establish Regular Management Retreats, Workshops, and Leadership Events Description Key Implementation Steps Sample Programs The innovative ideas required to address management and operational challenges facing the public transportation industry can come from leaders at any level of the organization. It is important that transit leaders can break down silos, or barriers that form because of structural or functional divisions in the organization, in a forum that supports the exchange of ideas and lessons learned. To accomplish this, organizations in the public transportation industry can establish regular events at conference facilities or remote locations where managers and leaders from across the organization can receive targeted training, discuss issues that transcend functional areas, share best practices, and plan and prepare for upcoming challenges. Such events can be led by internal subject matter experts or external facilitators and can facilitate the development of strategic and business plans, establish short- and long-range organizational goals and objectives, resolve leadership conflicts, and promote teamwork (Institute for Public Service and Policy Research, n.d.). These off-site events also provide an excellent opportunity for transit staff to gain exposure to experts from other organizations or business leaders from outside the public transportation industry. However, without clearly stated goals and an accepted agenda, retreats and workshops could digress into a costly and unproductive exercise. The content and frequency of events should align with cross-functional business objectives and include both internal leaders and outside experts able to provide relevant insight into the selected subject. By varying presentation methods, allowing ample time for participants to process and discuss presented material, and breaking up into groups to solve practical organizational problems, transit organizations can keep participants engaged and maximize the lasting impact of the events. It is also important to synthesize the results of any workshop and provide these results to participants (and potentially others in the organization) to encourage employees to incorporate the lessons learned into their everyday work. Note: Off-site events/retreats that are lavish or excessive have the potential to draw criticism from union leaders and members. â¢ Determine annual management event budget. â¢ Identify and rank critical issues to address in retreat or workshop. â¢ Develop explicit goals and an agenda for event. â¢ Select timing of event based on objectives (e.g., early year goal setting). â¢ Identify leaders whose input would be relevant and valuable (i.e., inside and outside the identified unit). â¢ Locate an appropriate facility based on technology requirements and expected attendance. â¢ Schedule meeting and invite participants. â¢ Summarize, evaluate, and distribute results and next steps, including dates for future meetings. â¢ North Carolina DOT Transportation Supervisor Conference: Holds a conference designed to improve the technical knowledge and skills of transportation supervisors. â¢ 2011 Oklahoma State University (OSU) RTAP Training Retreat: In collaboration with the South West Transit Association, RTAP coordinated a 3-day leadership training at a resort in Oklahoma. Covered topics included the conflict-managing manager, performance improvement, and budget management. â¢ Institute for Public Service and Policy Research: Has provided a guide for public-sector leaders to plan and conduct successful retreats. It covers questions regarding location, length, facilitation, participants, setup, and more. http://www.ipspr.sc.edu/grs/A%20Gui de%20to%20Planning%20and%20Con ducting%20Successful%20Retreats.pdf PROFESSIONAL CAPACITY-BUILDING STRATEGY 1 Develop a Management University/Academy Description Key Implementation Steps Sample Programs While organizations across the transportation industry face high rates of retirement from senior levels, many tend to emphasize technical competence when determining employee advancement (U.S. Department of Labor, 2010). By establishing an on-site management university, public transportation organizations can work to build a robust supply of internal candidates to fill leadership positions that become available at multiple levels. Though not necessarily accredited universities, internal management universities mimic an academic curriculum by guiding leaders through a set of courses tied to formal learning objectives. These programs are geared to help the participants acquire specific managerial competencies such as directing, motivating, developing, evaluating, and providing recognition to employees. This approach helps transit capitalize on the technical expertise of existing workers, particularly high potentials, by growing effective managers in-house. By offering the curriculum in- house or selecting transit-focused vendors and resources, public transportation organizations can educate current and future leaders on transit-specific management and operational skills along with general leadership skills. A unified public transportation management curriculum promotes a common leadership culture and links employee development to the organizationâs overall strategy. In addition to instructor-led classroom and online training, programs can include workshops, online meetings and discussion groups, small group projects, guest speakers, and initiatives to address challenges facing women or minorities. Note: Union jobs are unlikely to be directly affected. However, union membership can provide important input in helping define what is perceived as an effective transit leader. â¢ Form an oversight committee of key stakeholders (e.g., executive leadership team) to establish vision and determine competencies needed for success in management positions. â¢ Determine units and positions that will be eligible to participate based on succession planning or gap analysis. â¢ Develop a process to select participants based on organizational needs and individual goals (e.g., IDPs, supervisory input). â¢ Develop course delivery modes and materials to train leadership competencies, or conduct a market study to select outside vendors to provide training. â¢ Allocate technology and other resources to implement training. â¢ Communicate vision and purpose to employees and engage participants. â¢ Evaluate impact of courses on management effectiveness. â¢ Leadership DART: An accelerated development program for supervisors and managers designed to create a pool of professionals capable of leading Dallas Area Rapid Transit (DART) in the future. Each year, a limited number of qualified employees are selected to participate in a special curriculum combining intensive workshops, classes, individual projects and assignments, and web- based opportunities to learn about the challenges, demands, opportunities, and hot topics of the industry, as well as organizational leadership in general. â¢ Leadership APTA: The APTAâs annual yearlong program designed to develop and support the next generation of leaders. http://www.apta.com/members/memberprogramsandse rvices/leadershipapta/Pages/default.aspx â¢ Orange County Transportation Authority Leadership Development Academy: As part of a strategic plan to invest in professional development, OCTA developed this academy to increase employee loyalty and internal hiring. It took about 6 months to develop the program and 1 year to complete the first cohort. â¢ Veolia Supervisory and Management Training Program: Offers a range of supervisory and management classes for employees on a flexible schedule so employees can attend when able. The in-person training allows employees to interact with their peers at other transit properties and learn from their experiences. Table 1-5. Professional capacity-building strategies.
Module 1: Tailor effective Strategies into Workforce Practices 1-35 PROFESSIONAL CAPACITY-BUILDING STRATEGY 3 Use Competency-Based Leader Selection and Training Description Key Implementation Steps Sample Programs When selecting transit managers, the public transportation industry typically prioritizes time spent in a related position. This experience often serves as the primary source of training for transit managers (U.S. Department of Labor, 2010). Similarly, competency models developed for transportation leaders have tended to focus on technical and logistical competencies rather than leadership competencies (CareerOneStop, 2012). Without a more balanced approach to assessing leadership potential, a public transportation organization could face demoralization of employees at all levels and difficulty achieving its mission. To ensure that leaders with long-term growth potential are developed, transit organizations should select, train, and promote leaders based on the broader set of competencies (a measurable pattern of knowledge, skills, abilities, behaviors, and other characteristics) needed to succeed at the organizationâs higher levels, rather than focusing on technical skills or seniority alone. Breaking down leadership functions into core competencies can enable the public transportation organization to make more objective hiring and promotion decisions in order to develop a larger pool of leaders ready to step into mid-level and senior leadership positions. To achieve this, public transportation organizations must first analyze and build consensus on the competencies required for leaders in the organization through means such as incumbent questionnaires, critical incident investigations, and job observations, then integrate the developed model into their recruitment, selection, and training processes. Although some public transportation organizations may have qualified experts on staff, others would want to engage vendors experienced in job analysis or competency modeling to assist in determining their specific leadership competencies. Once the framework is developed, HR personnel and managers can be trained to evaluate candidates and current employees based on the desired competencies and incorporate the competencies into training and development programs. Note: Labor and management can partner to provide valuable input into competency-based leader selection. â¢ Identify relevant senior leaders to guide competency development. â¢ Identify internal HR staff or an external vendor to assist with developing leadership competencies. â¢ Conduct questionnaires, critical incident investigations, and job observations to uncover relevant tasks and KSAs. â¢ Leadership committee should group tasks and KSAs into potential competencies and rate them based on importance and frequency. â¢ Based on ratings, retain competencies that are deemed crucial for leaders. â¢ Establish policies for using competencies in employee selection and promotion. â¢ Communicate competencies and address potential resistance due to corporate culture. â¢ Develop/modify leader training to prioritize these competencies. â¢ Maryland SHA ALP: The ALP is a 2-year leadership training program that employees must apply to and be accepted into. Focuses on four development areas: leadership, career, personal, and community. â¢ Minnesota DOT Individual Competencies: Program that focuses on professional development, skill needs, and workforce planning for maintenance workers. http://www.nhi.fhwa.dot.gov/transworkforce/i p_mn2.pdf â¢ Office of Personnel Management (OPM) Job Analysis Tools: OPM provides tools and case studies to assist with job analysis and linking tasks and KSAs to competencies. http://www.opm.gov/hiringtoolkit/docs/joban alysis.pdf â¢ National Center for Intermodal Transportation: National Center for Intermodal Transportation researchers developed a model of nine competencies for highly effective managers across the transportation industry. http://ncit.msstate.edu/publications/reports/re ports_64_Sherry_Durr_Competency_Model.h tml Table 1-5. (Continued). (continued on next page) PROFESSIONAL CAPACITY-BUILDING STRATEGY 4 Implement Mentoring/Coaching Programs for Leaders Description Key Implementation Steps Sample Programs Many public transportation employees hold a wealth of knowledge and experience that is never passed down to those just beginning transit careers. Formal mentoring and coaching programs enable more experienced leaders to relay their experience to junior leaders in a way that supports the less experienced employeeâs development and strengthens that employeeâs performance and commitment to the organization (Anderson et al., 2010). Although the terms are sometimes used interchangeably, mentoring and coaching are separate constructs. Mentoring typically refers to a longer-term relationship focused on providing personalized guidance about job expectations and goal setting, hands-on training, job shadowing, and performance feedback on a regular basis. Coaching is often more task- or project-focused and geared toward helping the employee achieve a short-term objective (U.S. Office of Personnel Management, n.d.b.). Although both can benefit employees at all levels, mentoring junior leaders with high potential to move into more senior leadership roles is especially important for the professional capacity of the organization. Mentoring leaders can help provide them with practical knowledge, exposure to the mentorâs network within the organization, and a general boost in morale and productivity. When senior leadership roles become available, mentored employees should be better prepared for the demands of such a role and could transition into them more easily. Mentoring can also help provide greater opportunity for diverse leaders, which is an important aspect of professional capacity building. If desired, mentees can be paired with members of the same minority group to serve as role models and discuss leadership challenges or opportunities relevant to that group. Note: Management positions are rarely part of a collective bargaining agreement, but since labor may be involved in a mentoring relationship, unions should be engaged in the process of making mentoring assignments. â¢ Determine requirements for mentor and mentee participation (e.g., management level, top performer). â¢ Develop activities, program guidelines, and tips for participants to follow (e.g., meet once a month, complete two activities). â¢ Promote program internally through newsletters or e- mails. â¢ Select participants that meet specified qualifications. â¢ Match mentors and mentees based on roles, interests, schedules, and location, or allow them to locate their own partners. â¢ Request participant feedback on positive and negative experiences to help improve the program. â¢ Mentor Network Program: Formal mentoring program where participants are provided with biographies of potential mentors/mentees and allowed a short window of time to sit and talk one-on-one (similar to a speed-dating approach). If there is a match, the relationship begins. â¢ OATS, Inc.: Unstructured and informal program where individuals close to retirement mentor their successors; emphasized in higher-level management. â¢ Pennsylvania DOT Succession Planning for At- Risk Positions: Identifies high-level positions that may soon become vacant for various reasons, then identifies internal candidates to fill these positions. Internal candidates enter a mentoring program or a job training program to prepare for work in a high- level position. â¢ Johnson and Johnson Services, Inc.: Offers mentoring programs across the company to support employee development and capitalize on its diverse workforce. They use a web-enabled tool called Mentoring Works! to support engagement and knowledge management. http://www.jnj.com/connect/about- jnj/diversity/programs
PROFESSIONAL CAPACITY-BUILDING STRATEGY 5 Institute a Job Rotation Program Description Key Implementation Steps Sample Programs Modern public transportation organizations must be able to rapidly adapt to changing operational demands and develop personnel with the diverse skill sets required to address complex problems. The diversity of transit positions, particularly as they are contained within operations, maintenance, or administration, can create institutional disconnects, poor communication, and ineffective teamwork within the agency. This problem can be compounded when a transit system is multimodal, with both rail and bus services. Job rotation programs are an effective tool in building professional capacity and breaking down barriers between organizational elements and teams. A job rotation program allows an employee to work consecutively through a series of positions to develop varied skills, prepare for the responsibility of a higher-level position, gain a better understanding of how the organization works as a whole, and spread institutional knowledge. By gaining a broader perspective of the organization, employees can anticipate how their actions will affect other units, improving organizational efficiency and safety. They also boost employee morale by reducing boredom and provide career development benefits through experience of career alternatives (Schultz and Schultz, 2010). The result is a workforce that is more widely skilled, flexible enough to confront a range of workplace challenges, and more motivated and engaged in the work and the success of the organization as a whole. Job rotation programs can be implemented mid-career to facilitate career development or for entry-level roles to expose new employees to a range of career paths. Formalized programs at larger organizations can run for a year or more, but even smaller organizations can institute informal, short-term rotational assignments. When implementing any job rotation program, it is important to cross-train employees so they have the required skills to perform at an adequate level in their temporary assignment. Note: At unionized systems, union approval may be required if employees subject to a collective bargaining agreement are asked to perform duties outside their job descriptions, and consideration must be given to any changes in employee compensation related to the changes in responsibilities. As always, clear communication of program goals and employee involvement in planning could help curtail resistance. â¢ Develop guidelines for which positions will be eligible for job rotation, whether it will be required, and how it will affect appraisals and career development. â¢ Engage employees to determine program length, schedule, and the positions that each job class will rotate into based on analysis of employee skills and most valuable experiences. â¢ Evaluate viability of existing training to support program, and develop new training if needed. â¢ Communicate program goals and features to employees, and address questions and concerns. â¢ Select candidates to participate in the program. â¢ Provide orientation and training to participants and assess training effectiveness. â¢ Evaluate effectiveness of the program through participant feedback and supervisor evaluations of those who have completed the program. â¢ Idaho Cross Utilization Program: Involved the reorganization of district offices to allow engineers and maintenance personnel to perform job rotations. Resulted in a new transportation technician career ladder. â¢ Utah DOT Rotational Program: Provides recent college graduates with job rotations within the agency and then places the person into an open position. Interested parties must apply for the program. http://www.udot.utah.gov/main/uconowner.gf?n=1 5086416981758547 â¢ Pennsylvania DOT CET Program: A 12-month job rotation program where trainees are exposed to different phases of civil engineering work. After the program, trainees are placed into full-time positions. http://www.dot.state.pa.us/Internet/Bureaus/pdBO P.nsf/infoCivilEngTrainee?OpenForm â¢ Ontario Ministry of Transportation Engineering Development Program: A 4-year program encompassing classroom and on-the-job learning through rotational assignments such as highway design, traffic, bridge engineering, environmental, and maintenance. Upon completion, participants have 2 years to secure a permanent position with the organization. http://www.mto.gov.on.ca/english/engineering/job/ edp.shtml â¢ Caltrans Rotation Program: Employees enhance knowledge, skills, and morale by rotating through 3- to 6-month assignments at the initiation of the employee or the supervisor. A manual is available at the following URL. http://www.dot.ca.gov/hq/tpp/offices/owd/rotation. html Table 1-5. (Continued). PROFESSIONAL CAPACITY-BUILDING STRATEGY 6 Use Cross-Training or Job Shadowing Description Key Implementation Steps Sample Programs Formal job rotation programs can be a significant organizational commitment requiring employees to fully adopt a different role, potentially for a year or longer. Transit agencies that do not have the resources for such a program, or for whom the drawbacks outweigh the benefits, can instead implement cross- training or job shadowing without fully transitioning employees from one role to another. Cross-training and shadowing provide basic training on a range of positions within each department and allow employees to observe others performing their jobs so they are better able to carry out some of the job functions of their coworkers in the event of a retirement, turnover, extended leave, or even larger threats to business continuity (Woodward, 2009). Much like job rotations, these programs provide a valuable way for new workers to gain important skills and a broader perspective of the organization, but typically require a shorter commitment on the part of the employee and are less resource-intensive for the organization. Despite being more limited in scope and duration, cross-training or shadowing can still be effective in reducing boredom and stagnation and increasing workforce flexibility. When developing a cross-training or shadowing program, the scope of the program should suit the employeeâs job classification. Cross-training at the professional/technical, administrative, or management levels can span departments and functions to build competence and understanding across the organizational structure. By instilling employees with a broader base of expertise and a greater sense of the interrelatedness of departments, public transportation organizations can develop future leaders capable of improving overall mission integration and achievement. For frontline and first-line supervisory levels, experiences should generally be limited to the department in which employees are assigned, enabling them to function more effectively in their teams and fill in as needed. Note: Union leadership approval may be required if employees within or outside the collective bargaining unit are asked to perform duties that are not within their job description, even if the shadowing is not full-time. â¢ Develop guidelines for which positions will be eligible, responsibilities while being cross- trained or shadowing, and whether it will be required. â¢ Engage employees to determine program length, schedule, and the positions that each job class will train in or shadow based on analysis of employees skills and most valuable experiences. â¢ Evaluate the viability of existing training to support the program, and develop new training if needed. â¢ Communicate program goals and features to employees and address questions and concerns. â¢ Select candidates to participate in the program as trainers and trainees. â¢ Provide orientation and training to participants and assess training effectiveness. â¢ Evaluate effectiveness of the program through participant feedback and supervisor evaluations of those who have completed the program. â¢ Mass Transportation Authority (Flint, MI): The system is attempting to cross- train all employees in the event of a retirement in a department. â¢ Atomic City Transit (Los Alamos, NM): Informal cross-training program of high-potential employees outside of their normal work area. The goal is to ensure that people will be ready to move into management positions. â¢ Bluefield Area Transit (WV): As a rural bus agency, Bluefield cross-trains office staff on different roles and bus operators on different routes in case of absence or termination. This is done intermittently to keep employees up-to- date on othersâ responsibilities. Cost has been minimal, especially after the first few months of program development and initial training, and employee resistance waned once drivers became familiar with the additional routes.
PROFESSIONAL CAPACITY-BUILDING STRATEGY 7 Develop Formal Career Paths Description Key Implementation Steps Sample Programs Professional capacity building is about preparing employees for the range of challenges they are likely to face throughout their careers with the organization. Public transportation organizations and their employees benefit when employees can understand and anticipate future career demands and seek out appropriate training and development opportunities. Developing formal career paths is one way to guide career development in a way that also builds the professional capacity of the organization (Carter, Cook, and Dorsey, 2011). Career paths help to explain and communicate how and when employees may become qualified to advance to more senior positions. This clarity is important both for the employeeâs development and the transit organizationâs workforce and succession planning efforts. Career paths can take many forms and are designed to provide general guidance rather than a strict route that every employee must follow. The traditional approach is to create a career ladder that defines the typical route that employees take, from various entry-level positions up through more senior levels in an organization. A transit agency might have a separate ladder for each job function (e.g., bus maintenance), where each rung on the ladder represents a progressively higher level of responsibility, authority, and salary. Alternatives to this approach have been developed to provide growth opportunities to those who contribute value to the organization but do not have the capacity or desire to move into more senior positions. One example is the development of dual career paths that reward employees for technical skill development without necessitating that they become managers (see Training and Development Strategies in Table 1-4). Another alternative is flexible career paths that allow for an even broader range of career development pathways. Rather than a ladder, flexible career paths use a career lattice that incorporates rewards for lateral moves, allows greater customization in terms of the pace of career development, and encourages employees to broaden their skill sets (Long, 2010). Such an approach can help public transportation organizations provide guidance on career development and build professional capacity while also accommodating the varied career goals of a diverse workforce. For example, those nearing retirement might desire opportunities to mentor others and transfer their knowledge. It is important to reward these individuals even though these jobs may involve less management responsibility. Note: To encourage buy-in from workers, it is important to discuss with union leadership how career paths can positively affect union employee progression up the organizational ladder. â¢ Review internal and industry career progression data to determine typical career paths for each job family. â¢ Consult with incumbents and other stakeholders to determine essential KSAs for each position in a career path. â¢ Consult with supervisors to establish requirements for time in position, critical developmental experiences, and performance requirements at each tier. â¢ Review budget and industry compensation data to assign salary ranges to each tier of career path (engage unions if applicable). â¢ Design visual aids to clearly illustrate career ladders or lattices and requirements for progression. â¢ Communicate proposed pathways to employees and respond to feedback. â¢ Regularly evaluate and refine career paths as the needs of the organization change. â¢ Kentucky Transportation Cabinet Career Pathways: Program designed to train eligible participants at varying skill levels within the transportation industry in a 2-year time frame. â¢ Santa Clara VTA Maintenance Career Ladders Training Project: A 1-year training project in 2008 where funding was reallocated to develop mechanic trainees in order for them to be promotion-eligible. â¢ Keystone Transit Career Ladders Partnership: This partnership between TWU, SEPTA, and others was primarily focused on developing training and career ladder systems to address critical shortages and help skilled transit employees advance to higher-level positions. http://www.keystonetransit.org â¢ Edelman NEXT: The worldâs largest public relations firm prides itself on its jungle-gym approach to career development in lieu of the traditional career ladder. The focus is on providing options at all stages of oneâs career. http://www.edelman.com/culture/edelman- next â¢ O*Net Career Ladders and Lattices: The O*Net Resource Center provides tools that help organizations develop career ladders and lattices based on O*Netâs database of occupational information. Samples are also provided. http://www.onetcenter.org/ladders.html Table 1-5. (Continued). PROFESSIONAL CAPACITY-BUILDING STRATEGY 8 Use Individual Development Plans Description Key Implementation Steps Sample Programs Many public transportation employees may feel that their career development is limited by the formalized career ladders in place. Transit organizations may rely heavily on these ladders to guide employee development and lack a clear understanding of the career goals of individual employees. More importantly from a professional capacity-building standpoint, it is possible that employees are not developing in a way that best prepares them for the diverse challenges facing transit leaders today. An IDP is a tool for employees to work with management to create clear career goals and steps to accomplish those goals that are aligned with the mission, goals, and objectives of the organization (U.S. Office of Personnel Management, n.d.a.). IDPs typically include basic information about the employee, larger career goals, specific development objectives, training and development opportunities to achieve those goals and objectives, and signatures of the supervisor and employee demonstrating their commitment. Given the complexity of larger public transportation organizations and the potential for the opening of multiple career paths, IDPs allow for greater flexibility and encourage creative approaches to high- potential employee growth. IDPs also allow the organization to better understand its workforce and plan more effectively for training and development needs. Managers should meet with employees to develop the initial IDP and follow up at least annually to assess progress. Managers should also ensure that employees have the basic tools and guidance to assist them in effectively pursuing their career path and growing professionally. It is important to remember that completing IDPs requires employees to make honest assessments of their current performance to accurately identify their training and development needs. To encourage ownership and candor in the process of completing an IDP, best practice encourages organizations to separately implement administrative performance reviews and developmental reviews. By holding separate developmental meetings, employees will feel free to share weaknesses and areas for improvement, whereas annual administrative performance review meetings often encourage employees to focus on accomplishments and the criteria required for advancement. Note: If IDPs and performance appraisals are not kept distinct, union leadership approval may be required for union staff IDPs that are linked to pay increases or advancement criteria. â¢ Identify core competencies that employees need for success over the course of their careers (e.g., through an organizational competency model). â¢ Develop an IDP template or customize a preexisting one. â¢ Communicate the value of the IDP process to employees and respond to any concerns. â¢ Train supervisors on the development of an IDP. â¢ Schedule meetings between employees and supervisors to develop IDPs. â¢ Require supervisors to engage in a collaborative process with an employee to define areas of growth to target. â¢ Identify goals with the employee that are individualized and map to identify areas of professional development. â¢ Propose specific stretch assignments and developmental opportunities that will facilitate achievement of goals. â¢ Propose specific, time-sensitive criteria that signify successful goal achievement. â¢ Revisit IDP on a periodic (e.g., annual, semi-annual) basis or as needed based on performance. â¢ Maryland SHA ALP: Provided participants with an IDP to focus on four areas: leadership, career, personal, and community, with the goal of developing the systemâs future managers. â¢ U.S. Small Business Administration: Developed a detailed template for supervisors and employees to use when developing IDPs. The template includes clear instructions, employee information, knowledge and skills, job- related development, and an action plan. http://www.opm.gov/WIKI/uploads/ docs/Wiki/OPM/training/SBA%20 ODA%20IDP%20Template%20v2b .pdf â¢ OPM: Provides a basic guide to developing an IDP, including the purpose and benefits, roles and responsibilities, the IDP process, the key elements of the IDP, and links to additional templates. http://www.opm.gov/hcaaf_resourc e_center/assets/Lead_tool3.pdf (continued on next page)
1-38 Building a Sustainable Workforce in the Public Transportation IndustryâA Systems Approach PROFESSIONAL CAPACITY-BUILDING STRATEGY 9 Implement Workforce/Succession Planning Description Key Implementation Steps Sample Programs The transportation industry has generally been slow to embrace formal workforce or succession planning programs (Cronin et al., 2011). However, given the growing demands on public transportation providers, the increasing age of the existing transit workforce, and the pending retirement of critical staff, workforce planning efforts must become more aggressive. The term succession planning typically refers to preparations for departures of senior leaders, while workforce planning is applied more broadly, but both describe a systematic approach to identify existing and prepare for future workforce gaps (U.S. Office of Personnel Management, n.d.c.). The technical complexity of positions in operations, maintenance, administration, and management, potentially for both bus and rail modes, requires sophisticated yet flexible workforce planning initiatives. Workforce planning should address the ability of the organization to effectively fill positions from within and identify where the need will be to actively recruit external talent. In both workforce and succession planning, management identifies important competencies and KSAs for each critical position in the organization (primarily leadership positions in succession planning) and, based on expected departure rates or estimated dates, determines when and how many employees will be needed. The organization must then develop and implement a plan to recruit, train, retain, and develop these individuals to address the identified workforce gaps. Possible solutions include training and mentoring top performers to step into in-demand roles, recruiting additional staff with the required skill sets (possibly from outside the public transportation industry), contracting out certain functions, and even employing new technology and automation to supplement current staff. Regardless of the solution, it is important to monitor progress and be willing to adjust course should operational constraints or strategic objectives change. Note: Collective bargaining agreements may limit how quickly staffing initiatives can change. Union leadership approval may be needed when making promotion decisions involving union membership. â¢ Have organizational leaders meet to identify and articulate the strategic direction of the organization. â¢ Schedule meetings for hiring managers to meet with executives and human resource professionals to identify essential competencies. â¢ Specify the number of employees required to achieve objectives based on expected departure rates. â¢ Identify the physical locations where employees are required. â¢ Conduct a costâbenefit analysis to evaluate whether to recruit, train, and retain these individuals or seek other means to close gaps. â¢ Determine potential sources for individuals with the needed job qualifications. â¢ Develop an action plan with explicit strategies to recruit or develop identified individuals. â¢ Communicate the plan to the organization and incorporate feedback. â¢ Implement the action plan. â¢ Monitor and revise the action plan in response to feedback or changing conditions or goals. â¢ Minnesota DOT Succession Planning for Supervisors and Leadership: Process designed to internally and externally recruit candidates for future leadership vacancies. Identifies a talent pool that can move into leadership positions without great difficulty. http://www.nhi.fhwa.dot.gov/transworkfo rce/ip_mn2.pdf â¢ Pennsylvania DOT Succession Planning for At-Risk Positions: Identifies high-level positions that may soon become vacant for various reasons and then identifies an internal pool of candidates to fill these positions. Candidates may then enter into this program. â¢ OPM: Developed a workforce planning model that any organization can use. It involves a five-step process of setting strategic direction, analyzing skill gaps, developing an action plan, implementing the plan, and monitoring and revising the plan. http://www.opm.gov/hcaaf_resource_cent er/assets/Sa_tool4.pdf Table 1-5. (Continued). PROFESSIONAL CAPACITY-BUILDING STRATEGY 10 Develop a Knowledge Management System Description Key Implementation Steps Sample Programs Public transportation organizations that carefully monitor operational and financial performance can amass large amounts of information to process. While individual employees may process this information and acquire important knowledge to perform their jobs, if the knowledge is not codified and made readily accessible to others in the organization, much of the impact of that learning can be lost when employees retire or leave the organization (Cronin et al., 2011). Thus, public transportation organizations can benefit from systems and practices designed to help better manage the documentation, preservation, and sharing of institutional and job knowledge. Although knowledge management can take many forms, it typically involves creating a knowledge management system (KMS), an internal database of critical information needed to make informed decisions, develop effective policies and procedures, enhance employee expertise, and carry out the organizationâs operational mission (Alavi and Leidner, 2001). KMSs take existing information (e.g., reports, process charts, performance data, and problem-solving techniques) and organize it in a way that that is easily searchable, accessible, and flexible enough to adapt to changing needs. KMSs can also help public transportation organizations leverage subject matter expertise as needed and support innovation and use of best practices. A central knowledge repository is only the starting point, however, and public transportation organizations can support knowledge sharing through a variety of other means such as communities of practice, expert directories, mentoring programs, internal wikis, and storytelling (McDermott, 2000). In addition to explicit knowledge about the organization and its operations, storytelling can help to elicit tacit knowledge, which is the information that employees unconsciously use to perform their jobs but is no less important than explicit job knowledge. Because tacit knowledge is less frequently documented, it is that much more important to develop systems to ensure that it is not lost in the wake of retirements or general turnover. Developing an internal KMS can be a significant challenge. Capturing and categorizing knowledge is a time- consuming process, though some programs can automate aspects of this process. It may also be necessary to offer incentives and take employees away from their other duties in order to promote knowledge sharing. Note: Generally unions are likely to be supportive of these efforts. â¢ Identify the specific goals and objectives of the KMS. â¢ Create an internal team to guide the development of the system or select an outside vendor. â¢ Research availability of required data and identify potential sources to fill knowledge gaps. â¢ Capture job-essential data and explicit information through interviews and collection of existing materials. â¢ Map tacit organizational and job-specific processes through storytelling or links to subject matter experts. â¢ Design system to organize knowledge based on objectives, usability, and security concerns. â¢ Institute procedures and incentives to encourage knowledge and experience sharing among employees. â¢ Safety Training Resource Database: Public data dashboard that contains national transit safety data as part of the Roadway Safety Professional Capacity Building program. http://rspcb.safety.fhwa.dot.gov/about.aspx â¢ ITS Professional Capacity Building Program: Program to provide learning for intelligent transit systems, offering instruction using multiple methods. http://www.pcb.its.dot.gov â¢ FHWA Environmental Competency Building Program: A centralized knowledge network for transportation and environmental professionals to learn and develop competencies in this area. http://environment.fhwa.dot.gov/ecb/ â¢ Missouri DOT Employee Solutions at Work (SAW) Program: Program where employees collect, evaluate, and communicate best practices that are delivering improved results. Employees submit these to the centralized SAW program for review. â¢ FTA Bus Safety and Security Program: Has a website resource library that contains a wealth of safety, security, and emergency preparedness information. http://bussafety.fta.dot.gov â¢ Virginia DOT Knowledge Management Program: Consists of a knowledge management office responsible for tacit knowledge exchange (e.g., through communities of practice) and a library to store explicit knowledge (e.g., process maps).