March_2022 - 15

Driver Recruitment
Top Tips to Maintain an Operator Workforce
During the Southwest Transit Association Annual Conference, Mark Szyperski,
president and CEO of On Your Mark Transportation, LLC, provided tips on retaining
and recruiting operators during the Driver Retention and Recruiting session.
If you think the pay scale is the number one reason for operators finding work
elsewhere, think again. According to Szyperski, the top two reasons operators
leave is because they don't feel a sense of belonging and they don't feel a
sense of fairness. Here are some suggestions to help overcome these issues:
* Evaluate what is in the driver room and
how it is being used-Are there thank
you notes or a hall of fame? Is the
room being used for something other
than a break room for operators?
* Check in on social media-what are
workers saying about your agency?
Consider joining operator groups,
especially on Facebook, to get a pulse
on drivers' issues. This also goes for
Glassdoor and Google.
* Offer retention bonuses-Operators
have said hiring bonuses are " a slap in
the face " for those who have been loyal
and stuck it through the pandemic.
* Review dispatch records-Is there
favoritism in offering better schedules or
* Create a driver council-Listen openly
to internal stakeholders on what is or
is not working.
Transportation Learning Center
(ITLC). " But to do that, we also
need to educate people who influence
young peoples' career choices,
including parents, principals, guidance
counselors and teachers, explaining
the benefits and opportunities
and, importantly, how young
people can access these careers. "
As young people or those new
to the industry learn about public
transit, Della Piana emphasizes the
importance of explaining how the
industry touches on climate justice,
racial justice, equity and more.
" I think part of it is communicating
that public transit is the
cutting edge of the future and not
some legacy of the past, " Della Piana
said. " And I think if people
feel like the jobs are safe, stable
and secure, and they're also part
of the technological advancement
and improvement and environmental
climate response...I think
that's going to attract people. "
As Della Piana explains, job
stability is a key factor, especially
to retain employees. One way
to do this is to provide continuous
education. For example, the
Transit Workforce Center (TWC),
which is operated by the ITLC on
behalf of the Federal Transit Administration,
is establishing the
new American Transit Training
and Apprenticeship Innovators
connects agencies and labor
unions to new or existing apprenticeship
programs for frontline
" Through ATTAIN, the TWC
promotes apprenticeship, advances
frontline worker training, facilitates
peer exchange and provides
technical assistance to agencies
and unions interested in devel*
Catch people doing a good thing-And
then thank them for it. A little goes a
long way.
* Understand training programs-How
long does it take to train a new driver?
Is there training for managers, sales and
customer service staff?
* Talk to the top drivers-Understand
how they came to the agency so you
can repeat this.
* Communicate open positions to your
community-Meet potential employees
where they're at. Guest speak at
community service clubs like the Rotary
Club and Chamber of Commerce; visit
Veterans Affairs offices; attend career
days for all grade levels to introduce
transit early.
oping apprenticeship programs
for their frontline workforce, "
said Clark.
Adding language for workforce
training in zero-emission bus Request
for Proposals and utilizing
TWC's technical assistance desk
and other online materials are other
ways to provide training. ITLC
Program Director John Schiavone
points out the rapid transition to
low- and zero-emission vehicles
requires immediate higher-level
training, citing an Amalgamated
Transit Union report that confirmed
there is a perception of uncertainty
about technicians' current
ability to perform electrical/
electronic maintenance and repair.
" We need an industry-wide
mobilization to take the many separate
training efforts and coordinate
them in such a way to more effectively
upgrade digital and other
critical skills in agencies across the
country, " Schiavone said. " There
is a lot of room for improvement
and proactive training and strong
workforce development programs
with innovative tools like virtual
learning are components of a comprehensive
solution. "
Providing proper training
" The
most valuable
thing that
we can have
is a driver
who already
works here,
does a good
job, shows
up [and] is a
safe driver,
good with
that driver
is gold. "
Flint, transit
and education can help with the
other two significant factors in
maintaining a quality workforce:
creating a sense of purpose and
belonging for employees.
" It is absolutely essential that
our employees have a purpose.
You move a lot of people; you cut
down on congestion; you do a lot
to help out the community, " Flint
said of SST's operators. " Even
though technology has made
dramatic improvements, we still
need that human interaction. We
need that driver.
" I need supervisors. I need dispatchers.
I need mechanics. I still
need that human element. While
I think sometimes the industry is
really focused in on technology,
I think we've got to continue to
really focus in on the driver, the
staff member, " concluded Flint.
MARCH 2022 | | Mass Transit | 15


Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of March_2022

Editor’s Notebook
People & Places
Riders are Coming Back but Where are the Drivers?
Turning a BRT Line into a Successful Network
Capital Programs Strike Steady Pace
How the Village of Bedford Park and Uber Connect People to Jobs
Sound Transit Driving Consensus Against All Odds
Best Practices
March_2022 - 1
March_2022 - 2
March_2022 - 3
March_2022 - 4
March_2022 - 5
March_2022 - Editor’s Notebook
March_2022 - 7
March_2022 - People & Places
March_2022 - 9
March_2022 - 10
March_2022 - 11
March_2022 - Riders are Coming Back but Where are the Drivers?
March_2022 - 13
March_2022 - 14
March_2022 - 15
March_2022 - Turning a BRT Line into a Successful Network
March_2022 - 17
March_2022 - 18
March_2022 - 19
March_2022 - Capital Programs Strike Steady Pace
March_2022 - 21
March_2022 - 22
March_2022 - 23
March_2022 - How the Village of Bedford Park and Uber Connect People to Jobs
March_2022 - 25
March_2022 - 26
March_2022 - 27
March_2022 - Sound Transit Driving Consensus Against All Odds
March_2022 - 29
March_2022 - 30
March_2022 - 31
March_2022 - Products
March_2022 - 33
March_2022 - Best Practices
March_2022 - 35
March_2022 - 36