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23 Cumulative accident and attendance records are Does your organization experience communication and tracked to qualify for the Safe Driver Award (presented training problems related to the diversity of your work- yearly). force (i.e., age differences, cultural differences, etc.)? As incentive amounts continue to increase, unsafe acts Does your organization have an employee wellness pro- continue to decrease. gram that addresses such items as sleep patterns, the use We have earned an APTA bus Safety Gold Award for the of over-the-counter medications, and other issues that last two years, but it's difficult to tie programs to results could impact bus operator performance? in any situation where the goal is to create motivation and culture. The goal is zero accidents and we are just Figure 19 indicates that 40% of the respondents believed about as close to zero as anyone seems to get. they had high turnover rates among bus operators. When asked to provide details on the contributing factors, respon- dents cited: Potential Changes to Policies and Practices Retirements of long-time bus operators One of the survey questions asked: "How can organiza- Changes to retirement plans that result in early retirements tional policies and practices toward employee incentive Low compensation and competition with other driving and reward programs be improved to enhance the agency jobs in the community safety?" Hours of work, especially weekends, early mornings, and late evenings The following provides a sampling of the types of Part-time entry-level positions with no hourly guarantees. program improvements suggested by the respondents. Agencies could: Consolidated Open Ended Responses: Increase focus on positive behavior New employees are offered only part-time hours; there Provide agency-wide consistency in dealing with both are no benefits provided during part-time status. discipline and recognition programs New hires are low-paid and come in as part-time, with no Improve management buy-in guarantee of hours and very limited benefits. These hires Provide financial incentives for positive behavior are also required to have Commercial Drivers License Work to change agency culture (CDL) class B license with passenger endorsement. Adapt to cultural and social requirements of the Although we do not hire or dismiss the operators, the workforce. contractors who provide our service have reported that much of the turnover is a result of better opportunities Challenges and Opportunities at different transit agencies. As there are four con tractors who provide our drivers, some of the turnover The final questions of the survey asked respondents to address could be from operators moving within these four three potential factors that could impact the agency's safety contractors. programs. The questions were: The two main points of contention for our employees are compensation compared with other city departments Does your organization experience a high turnover of and other businesses, and policy violations leading to your bus operators? terminations. FIGURE 19 Bus operator turnover rate.

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24 Drivers dislike primarily the hours of service. They do comprehension. We are also experiencing an issue with not like working weekends or split shifts. Once they find the younger generation's questioning of authority and something else that is 9 to 5 with weekends off, even for an interesting development of a rebellious culture. less money, they depart. Some employees face language and literacy issues. Drivers are not well paid. There are always going to be communication and gen- The majority of our workforce leaves at retirement. erational gaps when you have such a broad work force. The high turnover rate in part is the result of the station However, consistent training and discipline programs manager and train operator positions. combined with the positive reinforcement of recogni- Drivers leave through retirements, terminations, or tion and rewards helps to close these gaps. transfers. Sometimes the message has to be carried to the one-on- Because of pending changes to the state retirement plan, one stage--learning is not complete until the trainee can there have recently been a lot of regular retirements as restate the lesson in their own words. The challenge is well as a few disability retirements. There are also some to simplify information without "dumbing it down" or operators who are terminated after progressive discipline showing a lack of respect to the employee. for performance issues, such as attendance or safety. There are also some operators who resign their positions Figure 21 indicates that 76% of the respondents stated their for various reasons. agencies had employee wellness programs that addressed issues affecting bus operator performance. When asked to pro- Figure 20 indicates that only 20% of the respondents vide detail on their agency's wellness programs, they listed: believed their agencies experienced communication and train- ing problems related to workplace diversity. When asked to Monthly or quarterly wellness newsletters, meetings, describe the problems encountered and some of the strategies and fairs to overcome them, the following items were cited: Wellness committees Employee assistance programs Cultural differences affecting understanding and Provision of safe medicines (e.g., cold and sinus relief, acceptance headaches, and upset stomachs) Poor communication on a one-to-one basis On-site exercise facilities and/or subsidized member- Language barriers ship to gyms Literacy competency Sleep awareness programs A lack of consistent training and discipline in programs Provision of health benefits that include annual physicals with positive reinforcement of recognition and rewards. and similar proactive employee health measures. Consolidated Open Ended Responses: Consolidated Open Ended Responses: Cultural differences can be a problem. People from dif- The company wellness program provides support and a ferent areas of the world react differently to authority 24-hour nurse line. levels. There is also a language barrier at times, not just Information is covered in initial new driver training but because of accents, but also because of dialects and is not reinforced at any other time. FIGURE 20 Organization diversity related communication problems.