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13 and re-train new operators. Swain hypothesized that opera- tising and outreach programs can be successful in this regard. tor recruitment is not the issue; the issue is one of retention. Some agencies award bonuses to employees who recruit new The alleged "proven fact" is that operators leave companies bus operators. Others display promotional buses at major pub- because they perceive a lack of communication and believe lic and sporting events and have bus operators available to talk that they are not respected or valued. Operators complain to prospective operators. Other tactics, which apply to all that companies do not treat them well (33). organizations and most job categories, include providing web- In addition to fair treatment, vehicle operators want to site access for potential recruits; focusing on inside sources, know what is expected of them, whom they work for, how current or former employees, and internal job postings; and they are doing, how to resolve problems, and what is going on seeking recruits through schools and fraternal, religious, and in the company that will affect them (33). community organizations. The report also emphasizes the A report by the Gallup organization, commissioned by the importance of a realistic job preview as a factor in attracting American Trucking Association Foundation, included inter- applicants and retaining new hires (34). views with 801 truck operators to determine activities that TCRP Report 77: Managing Transit's Workforce in the New most influence operator satisfaction. Operators identified a Millennium cited a number of best practices in this regard. number of factors: support from the company when on the For example, Pierce Transit gives each new bus operator road, friendliness of managers, company expectations around applicant a handout that describes typical scenarios in the schedules, fairness of the managers, amount of physical load- work life of a vehicle operator. This practice seems to cut ing and unloading, amount of general non-driving work, down on the number of dropouts during the new employee schedule, and most especially, time away from home (32). orientation period (27). In another study of truck operator retention, which involved TCRP Report 77 also identified one successful strategy for an extensive literature review on operator turnover, brain- recruiting operators that included interviewing, administering storming sessions with truck operators, and a review of oper- drug tests, and signing up new employees in one day. Another ator exit interviews, researchers reported that dispatcher approach is to partner with community colleges and offer responsiveness has a greater impact on operator retention than classes on-site as a recruitment and retention incentive. Accord- was originally realized (33). ing to the transit systems highlighted in the report, internal and external partnering appears to lead to higher retention rates. Partnering approaches include working with outside organi- Successful Approaches to Recruiting zations; partnering new employees with seasoned operators and Retaining Transit Vehicle Operators (mentor programs); and partnering among different depart- Literature related to recruiting and retaining transit vehi- ments within an organization in ways that lead to information cle operators has increased quite a bit in the past decade. sharing in the community and among employees (27). Some writings provide paratransit-specific information. For TRB Special Report 275 recommends more partnering be- instance, recommendations resulting from the 2005 National tween community organizations like high schools and com- Council on Disability research study, The Current State of munity colleges--potential sources of applicants. It further Transportation for People with Disabilities in the United States, suggests making human resources a priority in transit agen- include cies. The report also stresses the importance of high-quality training. Although Congress allows 0.5% of funding to tran- Equalize salaries and benefits of fixed-route and paratran- sit agencies to be used for training, most agencies do not use sit operators, with the rationale that research has docu- any of it. According to the authors of the report, successful mented that such action can reduce chronic paratransit transit organizations spend 2% of their payroll on training (8). problems such as high turnover and difficulties in main- TCRP Synthesis Report 52: Transit Operator Health and taining a stable, skilled force of operators. Wellness Programs found that quite a number of transit agen- Consider training operators on both service modes and cies embrace the health and wellness of operators as a critical rotate operators between fixed-route and paratransit service. employee development and retention issue. Six case studies Undertake studies to determine the impact of the discrep- of transit agencies in this report highlight various approaches ancy in employee wages and benefits between fixed-route for retaining a healthy operator workforce through compre- operators and paratransit operators on service quality and hensive health and wellness programs (35). other factors (5). Literature from abroad provides a view of similarities between successful recruitment and retention practices in In TCRP Synthesis 40, the authors cite a number of innova- the United States and the United Kingdom. Best practices tive recruiting methods for securing bus operator applicants. used in the United Kingdom are a comprehensive induction Well-planned and highly targeted graphically appealing adver- (orientation) period including focused training, support