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OCR for page 71
Recruiting, Hiring, and Retaining Staff 71 In some cases, the interview process may include progressive interviews (2nd and 3rd inter- views) as candidates are weeded out. Generally speaking, the intensity and length of the process is directly proportionate to the level of the position within the organization. In the event of mul- tiple or progressive interviews and panel interviews, all of those persons included in the process should be consulted for their recommendation of a hiring decision. In any case, the person who will supervise the position should be a part of the interview process and of the hiring decision. A good interview is structured, stays focused, and includes the following elements: A description of the position and the organization, and recognition from the applicant that they understand the requirements of the job, A general question and answer session led by the interviewer, and An opportunity for the applicant to ask questions of the interviewer to confirm his/her under- standing. It is important, especially when interviews are held simultaneously by several persons, as may be the case when several people are being hired, that the information presented in the interview about the job, the work environment, and the organization is an accurate and fair representa- tion, and that the presentation is consistent. Inaccurate information provided during this process can be detrimental to the employee retention process, as it can create false impressions leading ultimately to disappointment. This is an opportunity for the employer to market itself to the employee, creating an accurate picture of the job and of the environment. Making an Offer As a result of low unemployment and local competition, Once an applicant has successfully passed all pre-screening applicants have employment options and can make and been recommended for employment, a specific written choices. Under these circumstances, applicants are also offer should be provided. The offer should specify job title, date interviewing the potential employer. It is important of hire, rate of pay and benefits, job classification (if any), and that the hiring process be conducted in an organized whether the offer is contingent on anything, such as a negative and professional manner. This is one of the first drug test, physical, or background check. The offer may take the impressions that a prospective employee gains, and can form of an offer letter or, in many cases, the provision of an help or hurt the applicant's attraction to the job. employee handbook. Initial Training Once employees have been hired, they are most likely placed into a training program. Train- ing is often a consideration of applicants during the recruitment process, and the extent and type of training, as well as whether it is paid or unpaid, is important as a recruiting tool. Depending on the position and the person, the training may be informal or formal, more or less detailed, and more or less time intensive. Administrative and maintenance positions are more suited to on-the-job training, where the new employee is performing the tasks under the close supervi- sion of a fellow employee or supervisor, usually side-by-side. The positions of driver and aide frequently require a lengthier training program, one that includes both classroom and behind the wheel instruction. Whether a lot or a little, all positions require some type of training. The purpose of training is to provide employees with a clear understanding of their responsibilities and with the tools, skills, and information they need to perform their job well. Regardless of how training is actually provided, the training program should be well struc- tured and organized. Initial training is where the standards are set--expectations of the employee are established, and the employee develops his expectations of the employer.

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72 Employee Compensation Guidelines for Transit Providers in Rural and Small Urban Areas In order to be successful, Where Do We Start? . . . training must be engaging Orientation training has become a priority of training programs, providing a and dynamic, educational comprehensive understanding of the organization in addition to the job skills and practical, and well required. In agencies where the HR process is separate from operations, and in those planned and organized. The where HR functions are throughout a small staff, this is helpful for the employee to training should be presented learn what resources are available and how to access them. Orientation programs can in ways that capture the include facility and departmental tours, presentations by department and/or attention of the audience, committee leaders, and staff shadowing and departmental observation. Orientation engage their opinions and training introduces new employees to the culture, goals and functions of the system, concerns, and keep them and provides a greater understanding of the relationships between job functions, involved. creating a strong foundation for cooperation and teamwork. How the training is pro- vided, by whom, and when it is considered successful is equally important as what information is provided. It is important that someone who fully understands the information provides the information in a positive and encouraging manner. To the greatest extent possible, training should be provided in an interac- tive manner and in a hands-on environment. This is especially important for positions that are oriented toward working with the public, such as a driver or customer service provider. Depending on the size of the transit system, training may be provided by one person or by a host of persons. In all cases, the person responsible for supervising the employee once training is complete should conduct some of this training. When multiple persons provide an employee the same training, all persons responsible for the training should be well versed, have a training plan or syllabus, and should be permitted to provide some input into the determination of pro- ficiency. This can be accomplished through written evaluations or documented observations. At the end of the training, employees should have a clear understanding of their position, and also of the roles of others within the organization, and of how each relates to the other. Skills presented in training should be practiced throughout, and a competency test should be conducted to ensure the employee's proficiency. If proficiency is required at certain stages of the training in order to progress to the next topic or level, a What Time Is It? . . . need for additional instruc- tion can be quickly identi- No matter how much training is provided, it must be made available to prospective fied, and one person's need employees. Training is generally provided in a full-time setting, during the course of will not hold up the rest of the "normal" workday. When a transit system seeks to hire part-time employees, the training group. Failure whether it be for permanent positions or for those that will transition to full-time, to demonstrate proficiency a full-time training requirement is often already in conflict with potential employees' may provide cause for a needs. Those with full-time jobs seeking supplemental income may not be available trainee to be removed from for this type of training. Those who seek part-time employment in order to maintain training, reducing the poten- flexibility for personal reasons, including childcare, may also have conflict as a result of tial for wasting resources on these personal schedules. Single parents, students, and second wage earners make up these persons and permitting a large part of the part-time workforce. those who remain to receive Solutions to this problem include the partitioning of training topics into blocks, which more personal instruction. can be rotated throughout the training so that each block, or topic, is available more Simulation training can be than once. This can include evening sessions, half-day sessions, and/or weekend useful by placing employees sessions. Because this process may extend the length of time that it takes to complete in a realistic operating situa- training, the recruiting process may need to be adjusted to account for the longer tion while in a controlled lead-time. As well, the length of time that a new employee may need to reach environment, testing their proficiency may be extended, requiring a potential change in tolerances. ability to use all of their skills.