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SECTION 4 Recruiting, Hiring, and Retaining Staff This section is intended to provide you, the transit manager or administrator, with a basic out- line of a comprehensive human resources (HR) process designed to make your transit system a sought-after employer in your community. Transit systems offer excellent employment oppor- tunities, but many systems report challenges in attracting highly qualified employees. By focus- ing on your role as an employer, not simply a service provider, you will successfully market your system as an employer; especially as you compete for professional drivers and operating per- sonnel. You want to be viewed as a reputable employer, associated with steady employment, high wages, generous benefits, and security through seniority. As an employer, it is important to strive to be the best employer possible, because good employers attract the best employees who, in turn, provide the highest quality service to your customers. This section addresses some actions you might consider to improve your methods of recruiting, hiring, and retaining your staff. The Role of Human Resources HR management is important in making you an attractive employer. The term commonly is used to describe the combination of traditional administrative personnel functions with per- formance management, employee relations, and resource planning. While larger transit systems often have an entire department devoted to managing human resources, at smaller systems the functions of HR are often filled by managers and staff with other primary job functions and focuses and shared as time and abilities permit. This tends to create a reactive response from some managers, handling crises or situations, rather than building on the element that is most necessary for success--the human element. To be more effective, many transit systems are redesigning their HR programs to be more proactive. Human Resources is becoming an effort that comprehensively addresses all stages of the employment cycle--recruiting, hiring, training, and retaining good employees. Given the size and administration of many rural and small urban transit systems, adopting an HR focus may not mean that tasks are not still distributed or that a departmental distinction won't con- tinue to exist. Integrating these functions, however, can lead to a more focused and compre- hensive approach. The first step in managing human resources in your system is to assess your needs and what you have to offer. Recruiting is more than generating applicants--it is attracting high-quality applicants in a way that makes transit stand out among its competition as an Employer of Choice (EOC). 61