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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:

  1. What are the current and future challenges and workforce requirements that need to be addressed by TSA?
  2. What are TSA’s human capital goals for the next 5 years?
  3. 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. 

Results 

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.