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1 COMMUNICATIONS STRATEGY AND IMPLEMENTATION PLAN Positioning the Public Transportation Operating Agency as an Employer of Choice INTRODUCTION In September 2002, the Transit Cooperative Research Program (TCRP) and the Transportation Research Board (TRB) embarked on a journey to evolve the trans- portation industry into the next millennium as an "Employer of Choice." The first step was to select a partner to develop an Employer of Choice (EOC) Toolkit that can be tailored by any transit agency regardless of size. Watson Wyatt Worldwide, a human resources consulting firm, along with Focus Group Corporation, worked with an expert panel selected by the TRB to develop the Employer of Choice Toolkit. This project was completed on October 1, 2003, and the Public Transportation Agencies as Employers of Choice Toolkit (Toolkit) was delivered to the panel for final distribution. The "Com- munications Strategy and Implementation Plan" (Plan) is a companion document for the Toolkit. As discussed in the Toolkit, the designation of Employer of Choice is achieved by an individual agency, not an industry. It is acknowledged that an industry's reputation can assist in attracting potential employees, however, keeping and motivating them depends on their day-to-day experiences at the agency where they work. As such, the objective of this Plan is two-fold. 1. At an industry level, the intent is to provide direction and tactics for developing a communications program that creates industry awareness for maximizing roll- out of the Toolkit--an awareness that will facilitate not only the distribution and use of the Toolkit, but also will encourage the development of opportunities to dialogue about strategies, exchange learning, and share successes and evolving best practices among the agencies that are actively pursuing this designation. 2. At an agency level, the Plan highlights the communication needs for the individ- ual transportation agency. The transportation agencies will need to customize the Plan to reflect their unique organizations. The Communications Strategy and Implementation Plan offers guidelines on the key messages and primary stakeholders with recommendations on how to convey the appropriate messages. The industry-view includes a wide range of stakeholders such as national partners, associations, unions, suppliers, federal jurisdictions, and politicians. The agency-view looks at communications and implementation from a smaller geographic domain with more issues and concerns outlined at the state, local, or community levels. For an effective communications plan, it is essential that the two are aligned and not at cross-purposes. As the EOC journey begins, the industry- view focuses on the rollout of the Toolkit across the agencies for specific suc- cess stories, lessons learned, and other opportunities to share best practices, which will enable other agencies to follow quickly or at least to avoid some common pit- falls. Each agency will ultimately decide the best way to reach their intended audi-