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CHAPTER 2 Workforce Toolkit 2.1 Overview The challenge of this project was to build a flexible, user-friendly tool that encompassed a wide variety of subjects while focusing on common workforce issues experienced by DOTs. Because the tool needed to be publicly available and easily updated, the researchers chose to develop a Web-based knowledge portal with 10 views. These views accommodate diverse searches to make accessing information intuitive for a wide range of users in a variety of workplace settings and scenarios. The site connects users to external sites where additional resources are available. Following an extensive search of available literature to identify resources of interest, the research team assembled a database of over 200 resources. These resources were linked to search features, or facets, to ensure that the most relevant resources were retrieved for each search. A "facet" is a dimension on which a subject may be classified--for example, a vacation can be classified based on destination, cost, length of time, and suitability for families. Similarly, a workforce information resource can be classified based on topic area, source, or target audience. Using a companion administration site, which is password protected, additional resources can be added to the data- base, search parameters can be modified, or outdated resources can be deleted. These resources are not intended to provide exhaustive coverage of workforce issues. They do however include the most directly relevant resources for state DOTs. The research panel at the end of Phase 1 directed the research team to focus Phase 2 efforts on developing the software capabilities of the Toolkit rather than expanding the breadth of resources. The panel felt that the AASHTO Subcommittee on Human Resources would be able to add to the resource base after the project was completed. The Workforce Toolkit is located at: http://220.127.116.11/Workforce10a/NCHRP.aspx. The web site was developed as part of the work under NCHRP Project 20-72. The site is being provided as a demonstration by the research team. At the completion of the research project and publication of this report, discussions were continuing among AASHTO, NCHRP, the research team and others, regarding the long-term maintenance of the web site and the Workforce Toolkit but no firm plans had been developed. 2.2 Accessing Information This toolkit provides nine options for finding resources. Five of the views access a database containing resources selected from web sites, books, publications, university research centers, state DOT practices, and other educational resources selected for their usefulness and relevancy. Two options, Geographic View and State Practices, link to separate databases containing responses to surveys, statistical data or contact information. Resource searches cannot be performed from 10
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Workforce Toolkit 11 these views. This is a capability that the research team suggests be developed in the future. Additional options include a full text search (of resource abstracts), access to the FHWA Community of Practice forum, and access to the AASHTO YouTube site. Each of the Toolkit's views is briefly described in the following sections. View 1 in Figure 2.1 accesses resources relevant to needs identified by the research team as priority issues facing DOT workforce managers. The needs are displayed as row names in the table, and the column heads further define what the DOT needs to know about these areas: (A) understand issues and trends; (B) learn about peer agencies; (C) assess our situation; or (D) implement programs, policies, and procedures. Each topic is explained in an overview, and available resources are retrieved by clicking the blue "resource list" link. The initial information retrieved includes a short description of the resource. Clicking on a title retrieves detailed infor- mation, including author, organization, contract information, and URL. The top 10 issues, which were identified by the research team and reviewed by the research panel are the following: · Strategic workforce planning, · Attracting and retaining talent, · Developing the next generation of leaders, · Downsizing and reduction in force, · Employee conflicts and performance issues, · Improving HR efficiency and effectiveness, · Outsourcing, · Organizational change--reengineering and reorganizing, · Preserving institutional knowledge, and · Retooling the workforce to meet evolving business needs. The view allows for a further refining of the search by combining the priority issues with needs. The needs, which appear as column headers, are: understand issues and trends; learn about peer Figure 2.1. View 1--Top ten DOT workforce needs.
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12 Tools to Aid State DOTs in Responding to Workforce Challenges agencies; assess our situation; and implement programs, policies, and procedures. Selecting "resource list" from the desired column and row retrieves relevant information from the data- base that is relevant to the selected topic (row) and would be useful to address the specific need (column.) For example, the resources listed in 1B accesses information on how peer agencies are approaching strategic workforce planning. The Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) view in Figure 2.2 lists the questions identified by the research team as addressing priority issues for state DOTs, including inquiries regarding retirement, recruitment, turnover, downsizing, reorganizing, performance metrics, strategic planning, outsourcing, and data management resources. Clicking on a question retrieves an alphabetical list of relevant resources by title, as well as a short description of each resource. Clicking on the work's title leads to additional information, including a link to the source document and contact information (if available). FAQs can be edited or updated as work- force priorities evolve. Currently the questions are the following: · What resources are available to help me with reductions in force? · A large percentage of our organization's workforce is due to retire over the next five years. How can we address this situation? · We are having a tough time filling open positions for engineers, and can't match consultant salaries. How can we find and attract good engineers? · There is a large gap in experience between our service managers and engineers and the next tier of staff. How do we fill that gap before the senior folks all retire? · Our turnover rates are increasing, especially in our urban districts. How can we deal with this? · We have a key career manager planning to retire in two years. How can we make sure there is a smooth transition to a new person? · We are about to go through downsizing of our field units. How do we make the transition as smooth as possible? Figure 2.2. View 2--Frequently asked questions.
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Workforce Toolkit 13 · We have several "problem" managers who need to build their supervisory skills. What resources are available for us to draw upon? · After many years of stability, we have undergone several reorganizations in the past two years. Morale is low and there is confusion about roles and responsibilities. How do we get on a better track? · Our mission has shifted and we are relying more on outsourced services. Our staff capabilities do not match our needs for good collaboration, oversight, and negotiation skills. What is the most efficient way to address this mismatch? · We need to improve our ability to measure the performance of our HR function and bench- mark it against other agencies. What are there to help us get started? · We need to replace our ancient Human Resources Information System (HRIS). How can we learn about new products and their capabilities? How do we influence when a statewide decision is being made by the state HR group? How do we implement a new HRIS and still have access to legacy data? · Our HR function does not currently play any significant role in strategic planning for our agency, yet everyone realizes how important workforce issues are to our ability to achieve our mission. Are there examples of agencies that perform good strategic HR planning? This view searches the database based on specific workforce needs and functions (strategic workforce planning, organizational human resources, compensating and rewarding employees, managing employee performance, and human resources services). Selecting a topic displays a definition of the function. Selecting the resources option retrieves an alphabetical list of resource titles and a short description of each title. Clicking on the title brings the user to more detailed information, including the URL and contact information (if available). The five human resources functions are further refined in View 3 in Figure 2.3. In the context of this project, human capital planning refers to all policies, programs, and procedures (e.g., recruitment, hiring, promotion, rewards, training, education, development, work life program Figure 2.3. View 3--Functional view of workforce needs.
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14 Tools to Aid State DOTs in Responding to Workforce Challenges and benefits) which are used to attract, retain, and manage the workforce of an organization. The process involves carrying out a skills analysis of the existing workforce, carrying out manpower forecasting, and taking action to ensure that supply meets demand. This may include the devel- opment of training and retraining strategies. Refining the subject also refines the search, retrieving more specifically targeted resources. 1. Strategic Workforce Planning 1. Human Capital Planning 2. Workforce Planning 1. Succession Planning 2. Operational Human Resources 1. Organizing Work 1. Tasks and Priorities 2. Career Ladders and Paths 3. Position Prioritization 2. Recruiting and Retaining Talent 1. Needs Identification 2. Competencies and Education 3. Recruitment Planning and Process 3. Compensating and Rewarding Employees 1. Compensation Philosophies 2. Compensation Systems 3. Reward Programs 4. Benefits Administration 5. Benefits Planning 6. Workmen's Compensation 4. Managing Employee Performance 1. Performance Appraisal 2. Performance Metrics 3. Career Development 4. Mentoring 5. Coaching 6. Employee and Labor Relations 7. Discipline 5. Human Resources Services 1. Processing Personnel Actions 2. Processing Pay Actions 3. Other Backroom Operations View 4 in Figure 2.4 allows the user to narrow the search parameters using the facets described in section 2.3 to produce matching resources. Five facets are available from the menu: need type, audience, source, DOT role, and resource type. Each option contains a drop-down menu that allows the user to further refine searches. Resources matching the selected facets are retrieved from the database, and the title and short description are displayed. Selecting a title retrieves detailed information described in Views 13. The Geographic View in Figure 2.5 provides a visual representation of the United States and allows users to find information by state. This view is linked to tables that will contain infor- mation from state DOTs regarding knowledge systems and human resources information sys- tems, contact information, links to state DOT web sites, statistics on number of state DOT employees, and information on which states outsource human resources functions and which have labor unions. Much of this data is not yet available. The AASHTO Subcommittee on
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Workforce Toolkit 15 Figure 2.4. View 4--Faceted search. Human Resources will populate this data base when possible. Source documents are not avail- able from this view. The Text Search shown in Figure 2.6 allows state DOT personnel to search by keyword(s) of their own choosing. Using words entered in the textbox, the Workforce Toolkit searches titles and descriptions to locate relevant sources. As with the views described above, selecting a title retrieves detailed information. Figure 2.5. View 5--Geographic view.
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16 Tools to Aid State DOTs in Responding to Workforce Challenges Figure 2.6. View 6--Text search. The State Practices view in Figure 2.7 is linked to a third database that provides access to 62 web pages that display state-level data derived from the State Practices Excel spreadsheet developed in Phase 1 of this project. This view summarizes, by state, findings from NCHRP studies on recruitment, retention, succession planning, training, and change management. Additional surveys can be added in the future. Figure 2.7. View 7--State practices.
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Workforce Toolkit 17 Currently, this view contains information from surveys conducted for the following NCHRP projects and synthesis: · NCHRP Project 20-24(40), "Analysis and Benchmarking of Recruitment and Hiring Practices of State Departments of Transportation;" · NCHRP Project 20-24(48), "Analysis and Benchmarking of State Departments of Transporta- tion Human Resource Activities;" · NCHRP Synthesis 323: Recruiting and Retaining Individuals In State Transportation Agencies; · NCHRP Synthesis 349: Developing Transportation Agency Leaders; and · NCHRP Synthesis 362: Training Programs, Policies, and Practices. Clicking on the individual studies retrieves a menu of subject options. These options, in turn, connect the user to the tables which cover the following subjects: · Agency leadership; · Crisis management; · Critical skills identification; · Communication resources; · Education level of professionals; · Employee demographics and work profile, including age, classification and gender of profes- sionals; number of employees by division; years in state employment; years in current position; years to retirement; average number of hours worked per week, and the percentage of employees taking work home; · Employee perceptions regarding pay raises, promotions, morale, and personal pride; · Funding sources and methods; · Human Resources, including competencies, outsourcing, and software usage; · Knowledge management; · Partnerships with other agencies, private sector organizations, non-profit entities, public sector agencies, and universities; · Professional certification, registration, continuing education and certification programs; · Recruiting, including attracting engineers, technicians, IT, and other professionals; · Retention, including employee turnover rates, factors influencing the decision to leave state service, and the likelihood of leaving for the private sector; · Retirement; · Strategic Planning; · Succession Planning; and · Training and Development. Selecting the "Home" option returns users to the home page of the Workforce Toolkit web site shown in Figure 2.8. The Forum option in Figure 2.9 connects users to the FHWA's Knowledge Sharing web Site. From this site, users can access Communities of Practice, which are virtual home bases providing members with access to information, discussion, and collaboration on specific subject areas of interest to the highway community. This link is included to illustrate the concept of user forums. The Toolkit steward can choose to use another social networking mechanism for user exchange for developing a forum focused solely on state DOT workforce issues. Users can also access FHWA online presentations called "Knowledge On-Demand." These multimedia presentations are self-contained packages that combine textual, audio, and video elements to create the learning experience of attending a presentation. Selecting the "Video" option connects users to a YouTube site containing videos from the American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials (AASHTO). AASHTO is
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18 Tools to Aid State DOTs in Responding to Workforce Challenges Figure 2.8. View 8--Home. Figure 2.9. View 9--Sample forum view.