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March 31, 2008


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Well, how about the non-scientific poll? Just state the disclaimer right off the bat. Then ask your readers to take a survey for their property. Attach a date on it, so that it can be compared with future years.

Integrity to me is the greatest determinate of a good work environment. If the managers tell you the truth, and are fair, then stress goes way down.
This could be broken down by department:
In Your Organization how would you rate the integrity of each department:
Marketing (1-5, and NA)
Long Range Planning
Short Range Planning
Top Level Management
Mid Level Management
Low Level Management

Then you could have a composite number giving the average of those rated for that company. In parenthasis you could show how many respondents and the size of the bus fleet. That would add/subtract weight to the response.

Quality of Product might be another criteria.

Personal Pay Satisfaction - you could also ask them to devide their pay with the average price of a house in their city and report that index along with the satisfaction rating.

Future Prospects: Personal and Corporate. I may have a great chance at advancement, but the city is shrinking. So there would be two indexes there.

Degree of Oversight: TT ST JR SL TL for Too tight, Somewhat Tight, Just Right, Somewhat Loose, Too Loose. This would have to be for the department in question. Would probably on show this if there are more than five responses to eliminate someone getting tracked.

If you were 25 years old and in your position, what is the likelihood you would stay: 1yr 2yr 5yr 10yr 25yr in increments of 10%?

(End of the Toothpaste) If you were advising the following people who would you suggest should work here?
A beloved relative Y/N/Maybe
Your Best Friend Y/N/M
Your Only Child Y/N/M
Your Good Neighbor Y/N/M
Someone off the Street Y/N/M
Your Pesky Neighbor Y/N/M
Your Ex- Y/N/M
Your Boss Y/N/M
Idi Amin Y/N/M
Joseph Stalin Y/N/M
The Mummy Y/N/M
Sleepy Y/N/M
Dopy Y/N/M
Grumpy Y/N/M
The Wicked Witch of the West Y/N/M
Don Quixote Y/N/M

James Burke


In addition to the usual job statistics, a "great place to work" should be based on:

1.job training and education opportunities that are available and being used by "rank and file and mid-managers" and not upper management staff;
2. existence and participation in "employee lifestyle programs" - education and exercise programs;
3. employee participation in corporate charity and fundraising activities;
to name a few off the top of my head.


Tony Kouneski

Steve I think your on the right track but don't forget about the organization and its goverance and management structure -- are relationships between board and staff stable and positive.

Is the organization's funding base stable and do they have a dedicated and reliable funding source so that goals are reached and projects accomplised.

Is there labor piece -- Do they have a productive relationship with organized labor.

Is the sytem expanding -- including ridership growth and does it have the public's support and repect.

Lastly Does it have a CEO who is a positive leader repected and trusted by his/her employees the board and the public. Is he innovative and willing to take risks. Is he also willing to stand up for his organization and his employees in trying times.

If you have all of these factors then you have a transit organization that will be the envy of everyone in the industry.

Rita Haskin

Some of the items to take into consideration, in addition to those mentioned by other posters, include:
- Opportunity (with stats to back it up) to advance
- Organization must be dynamic, always looking at ways to improve current practices and undertake new ones to the benefit of the customer and employee
- Employee development (training, conferences, cross-training)
- Employee feels that he or she is making a difference in the organization
- Benefits (transit pass reimbursement, tuition reimbursement, plus the standard ones)
- Management of the agency, i.e. is it an overly formal structure so progress is slowed or is it informal so employees can go directly to whom they need to deal with
- Goals set and met by the agency

Bill Brown

Steve, I think this is a great project! I am looking forward to the results.

I would like to reiterate these two criteria (although some others are good):

1) Future Prospects: Personal and Corporate. I may have a great chance at advancement, but the city is shrinking. So there would be two indexes there.
2) Is there “widespread” labor peace -- Do they have a productive (versus adversarial) relationship with organized labor?

My Ideas for Criteria:

1) Is the company building up it’s infrastructure for insourcing or is it moving to an outsourcing model (i.e. DBOM)?
2) Do the line managers have their own budget for training and seminars and the freedom to choose their development path?
3) Does the amount of responsibility align with the level of authority?
4) Are employees treated like kindergartners --- i.e. when one person does something wrong everyone gets punished? Managers being treated like contractual employees?
5) Are managerial training philosophies concurrent with the actual workplace philosophies?
6) Are there pay grades to advance within your own field of expertise (Engineer I, Engineer II, Engineer III) or do you have to leave your craft behind to promote?
7) Official organizational structure: Project Management, Matrix, or Functional.

I know some of these sounds like “beefs”, but I think they are important and show the level of buearacracy within a particular transit organization. With this being said it might be a good idea to separate newer transit agencies from older ones. Also, separating the types of organizations by modes would be useful (i.e. bus only or multi-modal).

Steve Hirano

Thanks for the suggestions! I'm pleased to get such thoughtful feedback. All of the points made by the commenters are well taken and will be seriously considered as I cobble together an entry form.

As much as I'd like to incorporate all of the suggestions, I have to keep this project relatively narrow in scope, mainly to ensure that I meet the deadline. Also, I want to be sensitive to the time constraints of the transit properties that will be participating. If I make the entry process too involved, some of the agencies that deserve recognition might take a pass (yes, I know, then they don't deserve the recognition).

I really like the idea of making the qualification process subjective enough to allow for intuitive judgments about leadership, staff morale, standing in the community and other intangibles. Yes, it sounds a little touchy-feely and perhaps a bit squishy, but I believe a transit system's "grade" in those areas will directly and indirectly factor many of the suggested criteria mentioned earlier and accurately reflect its standing as a great place to work.

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