DOT's Progress in 2017
DOT implemented a number of new programs to support organizational excellence in the past year. These programs are intended to encourage staff development and retention and to enhance the safety culture in our operational units. For a complete list of the agency’s progress on Organizational Excellence Initiatives, refer to nycdotplan.nyc/initiative-table.
This year, DOT launched the Future Leaders Fellowship Program, a competitive program to cultivate the next generation of leaders at DOT. The year-long program provides 30 early- to mid-career professionals from across the agency the opportunity to develop communication and presentation skills, network with colleagues from across the agency, and connect their work to DOT’s big picture goals. Future leaders attend biweekly events, which include guest speakers, panel discussions, interactive workshops, tours, and social events. The program culminates with group presentations to pitch an idea to senior staff and a short work assignment in another division within the agency.
"Working with other leaders allowed me to see the DOT in dimensions. These gardeners, lawyers, engineers, and operators showed the human value of our institution. And this is precisely why I value the rotational program: to walk in the shoes of those who build and restore our city."
-Huascar, DOT Future Leader
DOT Employee Town Halls
Since the Strategic Plan’s release, Commissioner Trottenberg and senior staff held seven internal town hall meetings with employee groups across the agency. These meetings provide an opportunity for staff at all levels to hear directly from the Commissioner on key priorities and agency goals, as well as a chance to ask questions on a wide variety of topics.
One recent town hall focused on women in the field and included over 100 female employees holding field positions across the agency. Women from all of DOT’s operational divisions – Bridges, Roadway Repair and Maintenance, Sidewalks and Inspection Management, Ferries, Transportation Planning and Management, and Traffic Operations – attended. The meeting focused on unique challenges that women face in field conditions.
Employee Safety Survey
As part of DOT’s effort to enhance workplace safety, the agency conducted an employee safety survey of both office and field employees in 2016. The survey was a way for employees to give anonymous feedback on their working conditions. DOT employees use a range of equipment on the job - forklifts, inspection trucks, concrete saws, bucket trucks, and paving machines – and it is important that each staff member know how to properly operate the equipment they use. From the safety survey responses, DOT identified a need to increase training on the various types of equipment. Between 2016 and 2017, the agency increased equipment training by 80 percent and more training sessions are planned in the future.
To remain effective in a dynamic and fast changing city, DOT must be nimble, efficient with its resources, and forward thinking. We must continue to attract and invest in a talented and dedicated work force. The agency must also continue to embrace the diversity that is the heart and soul of New York and make sure that all of our employees, regardless of background, feel included and valued. DOT is committed to achieving excellence in all aspects of its operations, including staff development and retention, employee diversity and equal opportunity, workforce safety, customer service, and the management of our vehicles and facilities.
At the core of these efforts are DOT’s nearly 5,000 employees. Without their hard work, the agency would be unable to undertake the vitally important safety, mobility, and sustainability initiatives laid out in this plan. To be most effective, our employees need to be equipped with the tools and resources to get their jobs done. That is why DOT is investing in its employees through comprehensive employee training. The agency is also cultivating the next generation of leaders, ensuring that the agency can continue to be effective as veteran DOT staff retire. And we are recruiting new team members from across all parts of the City, so that our staff reflect and understand the diversity of New York.
DOT’s commitment to Vision Zero also extends to our staff: workforce safety is a top priority. Approximately 50 percent of our staff work in the field and on a typical work day DOT employees set up more than 20 work zones to resurface roadways, fill potholes, repair damaged traffic signs and signals, and conduct bridge maintenance. The agency is continuing to build on its safety culture through employee training, safety awareness campaigns, and operational changes.
Leadership Development and Rotational Programs
Many large public agencies have work exchange programs that help break down barriers within the organization and expose employees to new ideas. In 1977 the Federal Government created the Presidential Management Fellows (PMF) Program, through which participants complete a rotational assignment and receive training in leadership, management, and policy. Similarly, the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey offers a Leadership Fellows Program. Participants complete a rotation through the agency’s key divisions, gaining experience in public sector finance, transportation operations, and project management. Rotational programs are mutually beneficial to agencies and individuals: they enrich the work experience of employees while also helping to break down barriers within agencies. DOT plans a pilot rotational program for existing employees in 2017.