Addressing Human Capital Strategy and Workforce Requirements for TSA
The client’s perspective
After September 11, 2001, the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) was created to ensure the safety of the traveling public. Nearly two million passengers are screened every day by TSA’s highly trained workforce. The work is challenging and requires a wide range of skills—from law enforcement to technology to security operations and management.
TSA is faced with unique challenges as it hires and retains people with the skills and desire to protect transportation security—everything from poor public perception, to varying security threats, to the introduction of collective bargaining. These challenges combined with a lack of consistent processes and procedures, frequent leadership turnover and low confidence in makes it difficult for TSA to attract, retain, and develop the workforce needed to successfully carry out its mission.
A new view
The TSA Office of Human Capital (OHC) asked Eagle Hill to help them answer the following questions:
- What are the current and future challenges and workforce requirements that need to be addressed by TSA?
- What are TSA’s human capital goals for the next 5 years?
- What initiatives will help TSA achieve its human capital goals and support the agency’s evolving mission?
A breakaway approach
In order to address TSA’s workforce challenges, Eagle Hill established a comprehensive understanding of the current state of the workforce and TSA leadership’s vision for the future workforce. We conducted a series of surveys, focus groups, and one-on-one interviews with representatives from the approximately 60,000-person field and headquarters workforce to understand the strengths and areas for improvement across all stages of TSA’s employee lifecycle (e.g., attract, recruit, develop, and transition). We also surveyed leading best practices within the federal government to identify relevant, innovative and leading-edge workforce solutions.
Eagle Hill captured approximately 1,000 discrete data points and organized the data to identify the high priority challenges. We also evaluated the changes that would need to be made at the enterprise-level to create alignment with the leadership’s vision for the future workforce. In addition, we led and facilitated a cross-organizational working group with representatives from each Program Office to brainstorm and develop initiatives that addressed the high priority current and future challenges to create an integrated, agency-wide 5-year Workforce Strategic Plan. The working group members became change champions and enabled agency-wide buy-in for TSA’s first ever Workforce Strategic Plan.
Eagle Hill authored the Workforce Strategic Plan that included three primary objectives: 1) to integrate strategic workforce planning, 2) to create a compelling employer brand and 3) to align training and development to career paths. Furthermore, Eagle Hill created an implementation roadmap for the strategic plan and a communication plan to foster broader organizational awareness and support.
Eagle Hill created TSA’s first-ever 5-Year Workforce Strategic Plan that was approved by TSA’s Senior Leadership Team (SLT). The Workforce Strategic Plan led to the implementation of a repeatable process for workforce planning, the examination of workforce impacts stemming from a shift towards an approach to risk-based security, and the expansion of career path initiatives to Mission Critical Occupations (MCO). In addition, Eagle Hill’s implementation and communication plan supported the enterprise rollout of the workforce strategy across TSA’s 400+ field locations.
Eagle Hill worked with TSA’s leadership team from start to finish to address its human capital challenges:
- Planning: Confirmed the work plan and project scope; identified human capital strategy positions from key programs and engaged the appropriate people in working group sessions throughout the progress of the strategy; and identified key stakeholders that represented TSA headquarters and field operations.
- Best Practices Research: Identified a minimum of five other Federal agencies with similar workforce issues and conducted interviews and external research to identify best practices within the Federal government on workforce planning and strategy issues.
- Current State Analysis and SWOT Analysis: Conducted over 100 interviews, with field and headquarters staff at all levels in the organization. Used this data, along with existing studies, reports, and policies at TSA to develop a detailed current state analysis, including an identification of the agency’s strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats in workforce planning and development.
- Strategic Planning Working Group: Formed and managed a working group that assisted in the creation of the mission, vision, and goals of the Workforce Strategic Plan, and ensured they were in alignment with the needs of the agency and its employees.
- Workforce Strategic Plan: Identified gaps between the current state and the desired end state of the workforce. Used these gaps to identify goals and initiatives for improving the workforce across the employee lifecycle—from recruitment to separation.
- Implementation & Performance Measurement Plan: Developed an implementation plan that 1) provided actionable instructions for carrying out the initiatives in the plan, and (2) developed a way to measure the success of the initiatives. It included project plans, performance metrics, a governance structure and list of owners for each initiative.
- Communications Plan: Developed a comprehensive Communications Plan that identified stakeholders, communication channels, and timelines to accompany the rollout of the Workforce Strategic Plan. It included communication materials that could be used for leadership briefings, posters, emails and podcasts to communicate the Plan to the agency’s stakeholders.