THE CLIENT’S PERSPECTIVE
In 2012, TSA was looking to improve its ranking in the Work/Life Balance category of the Partnership for Public Service’s “Best Places to Work in the Federal Government” and better support its employees’ overall health and wellness. As a result, the TSA Office of Human Capital (OHC) approached Eagle Hill to help develop an understanding of the causes of its low ranking and why the existing Work/Life Wellness (WLW) Program was not working, as well as identify and implement changes to improve work/life balance.
Key initial challenges with WLW included a lack of awareness of the program and the services available (e.g., child and senior care, financial services, legal services, and counseling services); ineffective communications and marketing efforts to promote the program; and a negative stigma attached to the program. Eagle Hill also faced the unique challenge of creatively improving TSA employees’ work/life balance in alignment with the existing operational nature of TSA.
A NEW VIEW
Eagle Hill conducted focus groups and interviews with employees at TSA Headquarters, seven airports, and two Federal Air Marshal Service offices across the country to gain a clear understanding of what work/life balance looked like at TSA. We also completed external research and benchmarking against five other federal agencies with successful work/life programs.
From the information and knowledge gathered, Eagle Hill created a five-year TSA WLW Strategic Plan with four goals and initiatives:
- Develop, deploy, and measure innovative, relevant work/life balance programs
- Structure TSA’s work/life balance program operations to optimally service the TSA workforce
- Effectively communicate work/life balance and wellness programs to build awareness and utilization
- Advance an organizational culture supportive of work/life balance and wellness
One of our key recommendations to TSA was the creation of an airport-based “Champions” network to promote WLW, including field-based Points of Contact (POCs) and the WLW team at TSA Headquarters. After identifying the POCs at each airport, Eagle Hill worked with the WLW team to develop POC training, new hire and program manager training, and a work/life wellness Online Learning Center (OLC) training course for all employees.
Another key recommendation was the development and rollout of four Quarterly Wellness Initiatives (QWIs) for POCs to share with their workforce. The QWIs promote a new WLW theme each quarter designed primarily for employees in TSA’s field locations, highlight resources associated with each theme, and help generate enthusiasm for WLW services. Eagle Hill worked closely with TSA to create communications and marketing materials to support these initiatives. We also suggested modifying WLW Program messaging to be more positive in order to help reduce its stigma among employees. Once new messaging was finalized, we collaborated with TSA’s graphic designer to develop engaging flyers to distribute to employees.
UNCONVENTIONAL CONSULTING—AND BREAKTHROUGH RESULTS
After each QWI, Eagle Hill conducts an online survey to identify successes and areas of improvement for future QWIs to better support the TSA workforce. Results following the first QWI in 2014 revealed:
- More than two-thirds of POCs were pleased overall with the first QWI. Seventy percent reported that the QWI #1 theme was seasonally relevant.
- Nearly 90 percent of respondents reported that the information and resources provided about the WLW Program were pertinent and useful to TSA employees at their airport.
Eagle Hill also analyzes utilization data and monthly reports for the TSA work/life balance website WorkLife4You.com. We found that WorkLife4You.com utilization increased significantly between December 2013 and December 2014 when the POC network was created:
- Total utilization increased by 78 percent
- Web utilization increased by 75 percent
- Total PDF downloads increased by 25 percent
- Total educational material requests nearly tripled
Overall, survey results have been positive, and have also revealed areas for continued growth. Moving forward, Eagle Hill continues to operate as one team with TSA to increase mission focus by reducing employee stress and building camaraderie, increased morale, and a healthier workforce.