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Promoting Existing Staff 47 6.1 Workforce Challenges. Programs related to "Promoting Existing Staff" are typically designed to address challenges associated with closing workforce gaps and selecting the most qualified individuals who are likely to succeed at the next level within the organization. These challenges should be carefully considered before selecting the program that would best fit the needs of your agency. For example, these are common challenges agencies face: Misperceptions of Advancement Potential. Over one-half of participants in one study indicated that lack of awareness regarding advancement potential has at least some impact on why young people are not pursuing jobs in transportation (Cronin et al., 2007). The misperception is that new employees will always be performing entry-level tasks. This was also suggested as the greatest challenge for recruiting ethnic minorities. Lack of Organizational Commitment. In an attempt to broaden their skill set, our findings suggested that individuals from younger generations feel that they must leave an organization to gain new experiences. Many companies focus their talent-management programs on employees when they are first hired and then on their senior leaders, leaving a gap during the early and prime career years. A serious loss of key talent, however, takes place during this in-between time. (Galinsky, Carter, and Bond, 2008). Organizations also indicated that the younger workforce is not as interested in staying with one organization or working longer hours without additional compensation. While employee desire for positions with greater responsibility dipped in 1997, it has rebounded in recent years and is now the same for both women and men, but both men and women are seeking flexibility and a supportive work environment for balancing their other priorities (Galinsky, Aumann, and Bond, 2008 ). The seniority- based model for success has been challenged by many organizational initiatives (e.g., diversity), yet organizations are often challenged with getting younger workers to look at their job as a long-term career instead of a temporary stepping stone to a more prestigious position. Furthermore, older managers who see younger workers as less committed to their jobs may avoid investing in a mentoring relationship with a younger employee out of concern that the younger worker may leave the organization at any moment. Organizations are challenged with training managers in how to productively lead and work with younger employees. Thus, while younger workers are believed to have higher turnover intentions at any given point in time than older workers, this belief itself may result in behaviors (e.g., failure to mentor) that only further perpetuate the problem of retaining younger skilled talent. 6.2 Industry Strategies. Researchers and program managers identify the following programmatic strategies when describing industry efforts in "Promoting Existing Staff" (see Exhibit 6-2). While these strategies represent the general direction of human resource (HR) departments across the nation, it is important that the specific needs of your agency are used to guide the development and implementation of a program in your agency. Exhibit 6-2 Industry Strategies: Promoting Existing Staff Strategy Strategy Description Recruit Existing When it comes to filling vacancies, especially for management positions, Employees participant organizations are looking at existing employees first before looking to outside sources. The idea behind selecting applicants from within an organization is that these individuals already understand many facets of the organization and will require less on-boarding and training. Some participants noted that as many as 85 to 95% of their senior management/directors are
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48 Strategies to Attract and Retain a Capable Transportation Workforce Exhibit 6-2 (Continued) Industry Strategies: Promoting Existing Staff Strategy Strategy Description internal promotions. One organization in particular sets hiring targets (e.g., 50% internal hires, 50% external hires) in order to have a mix of new talent with strong leadership skills, and internal hires with strong technical skills. In some organizations, when a supervisor leaves the organization, their highest potential subordinate is promoted into the position. This sets off a similar chain of promotions until an entry-level position is left vacant. With this method, the hiring manager and recruiter are responsible for filling a lower skill level (e.g., entry-level) position instead of a skilled supervisor position. The organization reports there is less risk and a larger applicant pool at the lower level making it easier to fill the position. Develop Employees and As transit systems have discovered, DOTs should consider making in-house Maintain Employee recruiting a priority to promote from within and ensure that growth Career Paths opportunities are available to employees (KFH Group, Inc., 2008). Results of a recent study indicate that career paths improve job satisfaction, employee motivation, and employee commitment (Griffin et al., 2000). Furthermore, results from analyses of 21 turnover studies indicate that receiving promotions is directly related to less employee turnover (Carson et al., 1994). To prepare employees for advancement, agencies need to implement structured employee development practices. Create a Job Rotation Job rotation programs allow employees to increase their understanding of the Program larger operations of the agency and to prepare for cross-functional roles and/or management jobs that require a great breadth of knowledge. Develop a Staffing Plan Participants suggested that hiring managers are meeting with executives and human resource professionals to identify ideal candidates (i.e., those who have the knowledge, skills, and abilities required) for each critical position in the organization. The organization then determines the factors that will recruit, train, and retain this type of individual. Finally, they attempt to determine where these individuals are located so that they can begin to recruit them. Organizations are also looking at recruiting as an annual or cyclical process as opposed to hiring for a specific project or immediate need. Ongoing hiring cycles are successfully being used in the oil industry for oil rig workers. For example, recruiting for summer projects occurs in the winter, on-boarding and training of new employees happens in the spring, and evaluation and revamping of recruiting initiatives occurs in the fall. These ongoing recruiting initiatives help companies avoid incurring the cost of repeating their recruiting efforts for positions that were successfully filled the year before. They can also interview high potential candidates several months before there is a need. This helps to avoid rushing through a recruiting process to quickly fill the position of an exiting incumbent.