TECHNOLOGY enhances personnel manangement
Table of Contents
About Track IT Transit Personnel Management
Better Information Means Better Management
Demistify the cloud and make it work for you
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Track IT Transit is passionate about helping customers find a better way by transforming current paper-based processes into cost effective paperless processes by putting forms on a tablet to collect data, store and analyze information. Track IT Transit effectively checks all of the boxes: • Incident Management • Accident Management • Tracking Management • Attendance Management • Compliance Management • Alert & Action Management Whether it’s attendance records or accident reports, the information is completely searchable and usable for planning, analyzing risk or staying compliant with federal, state and local requirements.
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Personnel management By Mark Anderson
On first thought, bus transportation management commonly has to do with operating and maintaining equipment. But the fact is, the first concern is with the people doing the work in every area of the the business. Management begins in personnel. As the company relies on employees’ quality work, their fair treatment and oversight also requires accurate management. Currently, bus companies may keep personnel records on Excel spreadsheets, or even with a hard copy folder for each employee. One folder might be for training, another for compliance issues. The safety department will maintain a spreadsheet on accidents; operations will keep track of attendance. Some companies attempt to be more “innovative” by putting all this information into one comprehensive file. Nonetheless, this still has more to do with tracking issues than actually managing performance in each area. The preferred solution is a system to compile all this information in one cloud-based database for each employee that presents a more comprehensive performance record. For example, a manager might be talking with an employee about his attendance, but also see where that same employee is having accidents. The data in each area — i.e. attendance, discipline, safety, compliance — contributes to the opportunity for a more comprehensive evaluation. The solution is technology that makes this process simpler and more accessible. The technology solutions that companies such as Trackit provides help agencies take their current paper-based process to paperless forms on a tablet to collect data, store and analyze information. These cloud-based solutions are simple to implement and very cost effective. The management tracking categories may include incidents, accidents, employee attendance and training and compliancy. The searchable data is available for planning, analyzing risk or staying compliant with federal, state and local requirements. A cloud-based personnel management system establishes the flexibility to enter and track only what is important to the business; and provides alerts, action items and to-do lists to help managers determine the correct outcomes and track progress. Tracking performance in every operational area is critical for any transit agency. For example, training records must document not only initial training that qualifies an employee, but also that person’s retraining and any continuing certifications. Because a transit agency is a government entity, it will always face the risk of a lawsuit. In the event of an accident or serious event, from a liability standpoint all documentation must show evidence of a complete and correct training program. If something happens on a bus or train, we need proper documentation to show that employees are trained and retrained routinely. Typically, relying solely on the trainer to create the necessary documents, that denote and prove what was taught and when, leaves room for error. As a court will subpoena such records, the agency needs a system to provide the proper documentation easily and without delay. In another scenario, just to be safe from defense attorneys, agencies must also have proof of a strict policy for additional, rehabilitative training following any preventable accident. A general description of “what we normally do” will not suffice in this day and age. 4
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GPS data, pictured here with Trackit Manager, can be very useful when tracking safety incidents.
But how best to manage all the records? How to store all agency assessments on one PC or tablet for quicker and easier access? To show what, when, where and how the agency carried out these assessments? Agencies must be able to follow up on assessments, and then be able to discuss this information with the employee. Given the approximate 40 minutes required to manually process each paper record, the number of administrative hours saved by switching to tablet forms and uploading to a database becomes very apparent — especially at a time when administrative requirements keep rising as the available personnel to help fulfill them keeps dropping. Technology can help bridge that gap, for example; quickly complete the accident form on the tablet and select submit. All the details, including photos and diagrams, are submitted at one time and it’s done. Behavioral safety is another critical area to consider, and one in which technology can aid in implementing the desired skills and behaviors for drivers and customer service representatives, and provide a roadmap for the training. The technology will enable the organization to provide a consistent message by including the behaviors into Coaching Reports. Asset management and a system-safety approach are main elements to MAP-21. The transit industry has taken a system-safety approach for some time, but could perhaps be more formal in how it assesses, reports and follows up on issues that concern safety. Tracking technology ensures consistency across the organization through accurate recording keeping, and provides the needed evidence in challenges from courts and labor unions. Everyone in the agency adheres to the same criteria and the same training and advice, which ultimately lowers the accident rates; and guides management to safer, more efficient operations by noting desired behaviors and recording consistent evaluations, and giving uniform advice across the board. Mark Anderson is president of Trackit LLC, La Mesa, CA. Trackit Manager provides paperless digital tools to systematically collect – track – analyze —and allows managers to act on the personnel data generated by transit agencies. Visit www.trackittransit.com.
Better information means better management By Mark Anderson Businesses continually strive to “break down the silos” and allow their people to communicate in a seamless workflow. Essentially, management is asking, “How can we make the information we pass back and forth between departments flow faster and easier, with more benefit for everyone in the company?” For most transit agencies of any size, this dilemma typically involves more meetings that invariably leave the staff yet to accomplish the work they were hired to perform. A meeting alone is not enough; nor is the “old way” of managing the flow of information and data – maintaining personnel records on Excel spreadsheets and perhaps a hard copy folder for each employee. In an attempt at innovation, a company might go so far to put all the collected information into one comprehensive file. Still, in this scenario, critical data is often omitted or goes missing, making for an incomplete report that leaves it unclear as to the next step, who must be contacted or the person ultimately responsible. The work day ends up having more to do with tracking a paper trail than understanding and managing the actual performance of employees. The goal is to work together more effectively and more efficiently, and may ultimately require the organization to take a “giant step” into new technology that eliminates most of the paperwork. Trackit Manager is one such application that connects people electronically within every department through the use of tablets and one all-inclusive cloud-based database. While adhering to their assigned responsibilities within their silos, their use of Trackit Manager makes their work more transparent and accessible as information. Data and directives flow easily from one individual to the next. As supervisors and managers fill out their reports, observations and activity reports, others can tap in and add to the files with regard to their own responsibilities and functions. A person at each stage or department can attach additional documents, take photos with the tablet and attach, and forward it all directly to the correct individual. Using the Trackit Manager safety module as an example, an agency has the capability to electronically track every accident, incident and safety issue, and establish a comprehensive record for purposes of risk analysis and human resources; providing management with the information to make informed decisions concerning policies and costs for training, safety and service. Managers and assigned personnel collect and enter all critical data and documentation in the database at each step in the workflow. For example, supervisors charged with interacting with bus operators in prescribed safety contacts and performance observations use their tablet on-site to document and notate all they discussed, in order to help drivers perform their duties with safety in mind.
An effective personnel management system can help increase efficiency and quality of service in a public transit agency.
In this case, management can then search the safety-related data for trends that they determine high risk, such as the locations of frequent accidents or incidents of unsafe operator behavior. If in the course of such a field visit, a supervisor observes another questionable situation or circumstance, he can immediately record photos and details and submit a quick memo for the record. That same information becomes part of the employee’s personnel file; accessible by everyone with permission, who, again, can then make their additions and direct the file for appropriate action. A safety supervisor can notify the training department that a driver involved in a preventable accident requires additional training. The training department would then tap into the app to assign that driver to the training list; and then send a notice he or she has come off the list when the training is complete. An auditing component running in the background ensures the company as a whole is following its prescribed process and procedures in every operational area; and is able to readily demonstrate the process and verify everyone is in lockstep. Trackit Manager ensures all prescribed activities are reported and maintains metrics on the matters discussed, such as repeat infractions and their corrective actions. All is transparent once it is entered in the system. Every supervisor can easily call up the entire record and dig deeper into the information needed to promoting more accurate and effective supervision.
“The goal is to work together more effectively and more efficiently.”
Mark Anderson is president of Trackit LLC, La Mesa, CA. Trackit Manager provides paperless digital tools to systematically collect – track – analyze —and allows managers to act on the personnel data generated by transit agencies. Visit www.trackittransit.com.
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Demystify the cloud and make it work for you By Mark Anderson What do transit operators need to know about the cloud that they don’t already know? While many people use the cloud, not everyone understands its tremendous benefit to company operations. It takes some demystifying and a few illuminating Ah-ha moments to realize the cloud is a much better solution, and using it is easier than many operators think. Perhaps more importantly, the cloud platform is a true cost solution to facilitate all software management systems such as Trackit Manager. As yet, many companies still think the approach is to buy the servers and hire people to bring IT functions in-house. Comparatively speaking, a totally inhouse system is nearly cost prohibitive and actually counterproductive to the expected security and control of information, as well as workflow. As Trackit Manager exists in the cloud, an agency needs nothing more than computers, laptops and tablets with internet access. Trackit provides the servers, hosting and technical support. Managing a singular in-house platform requires a very high level of technical expertise that most agencies understandably lack, particularly smaller operations. Trackit is in the IT business to alleviate transit agencies of the major responsibility of owning and managing the software. This all allows agencies to work harder and smarter. For example, recently a small transit agency in the Los Angeles area encountered a virus that invaded its server and eradicated up to 10 years of spreadsheets and accidents reports. It crippled the organization for weeks. The IT staff thought all this information had been backed up. Unfortunately, they had inadvertently backed up the virus on to the other system as well. This turned out to be their Ah-hh that took the agency into the cloud via Trackit. At the leadership level, with regard to the expense and liability of using and maintaining the technology, those who understand budgets, and the capability of software to manage, access, and store all company records, know an in-house solution doesn’t make sense. Another Ah-ha moment is certainly the ease and efficiencies of the mobile applications using handheld tablets that replace the redundancy and compartmentalized pitfalls of disseminating spreadsheets. Trackit Manager mechanizes every step in the process to create a work flow. The fact that this involves the same people completing the same managerial tasks with greater speed and efficiency, and not taking anyone’s job away, is one more Ah-hah moment. Employees fill out their forms, validate the information and hit the submit button, sending their reports and comments to the cloud and emails for everyone’s access and use as-needed. What they were 6
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“Many companies still think the approach is to buy the servers and hire people to bring IT functions in-house.” unable to do in the past, they can now accomplish with Trackit. This cloud-based document management and workflow system makes all forms completely searchable, which is not possible with paper reports that get stacked or filed, and allows everyone to work together in lockstep—instantly, if they so choose. Mark Anderson is president of Trackit LLC, San Diego, CA. Trackit Manager provides paperless digital tools to systematically collect – track – analyze —and allows managers to act on the personnel data generated by transit agencies. Visit www.trackittransit.com.