A recently released OIG report found that the TSA needs to improve efforts to retain, hire, and train its Transportation Security Officers (TSOs). Unclear advancement opportunities, low pay, and poor management have pushed officers to leave their jobs.

For part-time hires in particular, scheduling challenges account for their higher-than-usual attrition rate. According to exit surveys, “Reasons respondents were dissatisfied with scheduling include the lack of flexibility in scheduling, the scheduling process, difficulty in obtaining time off, nontraditional scheduling, and the inability to obtain shift preferences.”

TSA officials reported that a lack of clear understanding of shift schedules has led to TSOs leaving shortly after starting, with new and part-time TSOs leaving at a considerably higher rate than their full-time counterparts. When you consider that the TSA currently hires more part-time than full-time TSOs, this is not a mild grievance—this creates a huge productivity gap that the airports can’t have if they want to accommodate flight schedules and operational requirements.

To retain your officers, scheduling needs to be both transparent during the recruitment process and flexible throughout their tenure. Here’s how our automated employee scheduling solution can help make that a reality.

Give Employees Scheduling Flexibility (Within Reason)

Not having any sort of control over their hours turned a lot of fledgling and part-time employees away. Whether it’s wanting more opportunity for overtime or having an easier process to request time off, TSOs claimed that they were not obtaining their shift preferences.

Creating flexible, dynamic schedules may seem impossible when management also has their own constraints to content with. Needs vary from airport to airport, but there will always be people who don’t prefer the night shift that are still working nights, or those that got their week-off request denied due to it being peak season.

But how can you improve? How are you able to balance your workers’ expectations for flexibility and choice with your organization’s need for a 24×7 workforce? To put it simply, you can’t have flexibility without automation and Employee Self-Service (ESS).

Automated scheduling isn’t just about generating weekly schedules in minutes (though we’ll admit it’s a nice benefit); it’s about staffing to match only what you need and putting some of the responsibility in the hands of your hourly workers so that HR and Operations can focus on business-driving initiatives. Our cloud-based WFM solution Workloud does just that, and our mobile app promotes visibility and transparency for both management and hourly employees. It’s everything your employees need to be more engaged, and it’s everything you want to effectively communicate with your workforce.

Job Bidding is a feature of ESS that not only quenches employees’ thirst for flexibility, but also could be used as a recruiting tool. You’ll increase employee satisfaction while streamlining your scheduling process. Here’s how it works: employees choose their preferences for what their ideal base schedules (both function and hours) would be. The method in which TSOs choose is up to your discretion, such as by seniority. By digitizing the job bidding functionality, you’ll get a centralized breakdown of what each employee is interested in. This helps HR make better job replacement decisions when a vacancy opens up—and helps keep the operation running smoothly because only qualified people will have the opportunity to bid for the vacancy.

The difficulty TSOs had in requesting leave was another reason they left. With our Annual Vacation Planning module, that can be a breeze, too! Employees shouldn’t be afraid to ask for vacation. In turn, vacation requests shouldn’t create a (literal) pile of work for management. With Workloud, you simply enable employees to select the upcoming year’s vacation and let the platform create the schedule. This streamlines vacation planning enterprise-wide by providing visibility and centralization through the mobile app; managers can even handle overlapping requests with pre-existing rules to ensure positions are never under-staffed. Employees can just as easily request day to day leaves as well.

Fly the Friendly Skies with Indeavor

Your schedules should be made based around what the airport needs to be safe and efficiently-run; while it would be nice to let the TSOs dictate their hours, that isn’t realistic. But just because you are offering more wiggle room to let your hourly workers tell you their preferences doesn’t mean that the scheduling process can no longer follow set rules and constraints. You can now have both.

Want to keep your vital employees happy? Click here to request a demo.

Workloud is our workforce management SaaS solution which offers clients an end-to-end, cloud-based employee scheduling, time & attendance, and absence management system. Workloud integrates with your human capital management and enterprise resource planning systems to create a robust platform that provides you with real-time employee data.