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2 ence and what messages are important to convey based on their specific direction, capabilities and resources. Any transportation agency interested in institutionalizing the EOC programs should first closely review the contents of the Toolkit. The researchers' recommendation is to read and fully understand the EOC materials and concepts starting with the Toolkit Introduction and EOC Boot Camp. It is essential for the transportation agency to under- stand their location on this EOC journey, because actions and steps will be different. Each transportation agency will have their own assessment of their starting point, needs, priorities, strengths, and weaknesses. Section II, "Building Your Agency's Employer of Choice Strategy," is critical if none exists, or essential for aligning the EOC objectives to established operational goals. The Toolkit also provides additional information on effective communication under the Program Areas. The Communications and Implementation Plan does not intend to provide details on the contents of the Toolkit but highlights the key messages that should be communi- cated to whom, how often, and in what way. The Plan starts with the objectives for the first year and offers suggestions beyond the Year-1 time frame. It also focuses on the communications and collaboration between the transportation industry and individual transportation agencies and offers suggestions on how to measure effectiveness. Sam- ple key EOC messages are included as a framework for starting the communications and subsequent implementation. A Tactical Plan for Year 1 begins the process for implementing the EOC changes and identifies some of the key messages, suggested timings, channels, and responsibilities. While the Plan focuses primarily on the communications for the first year, it also pro- vides suggestions for measuring effective communications, communications for beyond Year 1, and implementation guidelines. COMMUNICATIONS STRATEGY AND IMPLEMENTATION The Communications Strategy and Implementation Plan objectives for the first year focus on understanding the characteristics and key issues of being an EOC. Industry and agency representatives can find an overview of the EOC concept in the Toolkit Introduction section. In addition, the Toolkit's Program Area for Communications pro- vides additional suggestions for establishing the communication strategy and guide- lines for effective communications. For both the industry and the individual agency, Year 1 is about raising awareness of key audiences. For the industry, awareness means educating audiences--what is an EOC, why is it important, how does an agency become one, and what resources are available to assist an agency who wants to embark on the journey? The industry com- munications should be developed to create broader understanding and support for the EOC transformation. They target transportation industry partners, unions, and related associations such as APTA. Industry's role is to inform its constituents and members, to facilitate sharing across transportation agencies, to develop outreach programs, and to create committees that focus on specific transportation issues. Other key stakehold- ers in the industry include lobbyists, politicians, and media members. At the agency level in Year 1, the agency will want to focus on creating awareness for the audience, so that everyone knows that the agency has embarked upon an EOC journey and that change will occur. Each transportation agency will have to tailor the messages, audience, and communications channels that fit best within their organiza- tion, culture, budget, and resources. All communications and implementation plans need an owner or an EOC Champion, someone who is responsible for the overall development, deployment, metrics, and

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3 enhancements. The role of leadership is one of the major tenets for becoming an EOC; Section I of the Toolkit, entitled "EOC Boot Camp," details the important role that lead- ership plays in building commitment, energy, and productivity. At an agency level, without organizational and senior managers steering the process and agreeing to be accountable for the results, the transportation agency should not embark on the EOC journey. Aspects of the Plan can be delegated; however, successful communications and implementation should have one responsible champion for the EOC journey. For an agency, the champion must be a visible leader in the organization and respected by peers, subordinates, and senior management. Likewise the industry needs to identify champions for EOC communications. These champions need to work closely with transportation agency leaders in developing and highlighting the EOC journey success stories and best practices. Using industry groups (such as subcommittees within the APTA) to serve in this capacity can springboard the ability to communicate. The best way to begin crafting the awareness message--the EOC Awareness Cam- paign--is to begin with the Toolkit. The Toolkit contains all the key EOC messages, the what and how to's during the first year for any agency communications focusing on becoming an EOC. The key topic areas below highlight the critical messages that should be communicated for all transportation stakeholders. Specific tailoring of these messages should be done for each constituency as to detail, length, roles and responsi- bilities, and communication channels and frequency. Communications for the first year are focused on the following messages, which frame the EOC Awareness Campaign: What is an EOC employer? What are the fundamental concepts for an EOC? Why is a capable, committed, diverse workforce so important? What is an EOC Toolkit? How was this Toolkit developed? How do we use the Toolkit? What is our agency's strategy for becoming an EOC? Exhibit A contains sample key message for the questions highlighted above. The industry and each transportation agency have identified their most effective forms of communication, such as newsletters, association magazines, emails, bulletin boards, or weekly staff meetings. The risk of over-communicating is small. Adopting a creative approach that solicits feedback can not only effectively communicate the message but can also help model the desired ways in which EOCs operate. This approach may mean using different forms or styles of communication or simply different ways of expressing the message using the usual communication approach. For example, a town hall meeting may represent a typical communication vehicle for an agency. This approach could be struc- tured so that the entire meeting is devoted to targeted employee questions, which could be submitted in advance or taken during the meeting so that the town hall meeting becomes an "Ask the General Manager" session. Moreover, new ways of communicating will demonstrate that "it's no longer business as usual." Transportation industry partners play an important role by providing a platform to collaborate and share agency lessons learned and success stories. Future industry meetings should focus on capturing, sharing, and disseminating experiences across the transportation industry. In addition, the EOC Champions and transportation- transformation subject matter experts can be identified to assist other transportation agen- cies in their EOC journey. The industry associations and unions should leverage existing communications such as newsletters, websites, and trade magazines to promote and