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Finding Innovative Ways to Improve TSA

Spotlight On: Tina Cariola

Tina Cariola, second from left, with her team (clockwise) Tyler Maxey, Ruth Britt, Sonja Armstrong, Stan Ham, Paul Simmons, and Janis Burl. Photo courtesy of Public AffairsTina Cariola, who joined TSA in 2003, is the Manager of the Workforce Engagement Branch in the Office of Training and Workforce Engagement (OTWE). With her team, Cariola focuses daily on finding innovative ways to improve TSA.

Cariola’s team fosters workforce engagement throughout TSA in three distinct ways: leveraging national in-person and online forums like IdeaFactory and advisory councils to gather input and collect ideas from employees; supporting and encouraging workforce engagement within workgroups across the agency by providing tools and engagement services; and, capturing TSA’s history and sharing it with the workforce to promote a greater sense of the agency’s culture, mission, vision, and core values. Her team also leads a group of field and headquarters program representatives to analyze the Federal Employee Survey Results and make updates to TSA’s WE Improve plan.

“What my team and I do matters because the success of TSA’s mission requires that all employees be informed, inspired, and supported so they can effectively contribute their expertise and enthusiasm to TSA’s performance. Engaged employees feel a connection to their work, know they can positively impact TSA and their work unit, and participate in opportunities to develop personal and professional skills. When you consider that our people are our most valuable asset in securing our nation’s transportation systems, it is critical to provide the tools to help them do their job effectively. We have an amazing group of people in our branch, including people with extensive field experience, and that helps properly balance our engagement requirements with such a geographically dispersed workforce.

“I find most rewarding when I’m able to give employees a voice and connect the importance of what they do to contribute to the success of our agency’s mission. Through our team’s ongoing efforts, frontline employees have the tools to express their thoughts, opinions, and suggestions – and it can all be viewed and acted upon by senior leadership. For example, IdeaFactory recently received over 200 suggestions from employees that were reviewed and incorporated into recommendations for improving officer safety and security after the tragic LAX incident.  Other examples include the Historical Archive and Timeline, which shares artifacts related to the unique history of our agency in an interactive format, and we will soon be launching a new tool to enhance StoryLine that allows us to collect and share examples of the great work our employees do every day.

“We face challenges on a daily basis with finding the best ways to effectively engage with a large workforce of 60,000 employees from coast to coast with limited access to networked computers. Through ongoing collaboration with advisory councils and other engagement programs, our focus remains on areas of improvement identified by our employees in the Federal Employee Viewpoint Survey. Workforce engagement really has so much to do with ensuring that our communications efforts are successful and that people are engaged in the process. It’s really a culture change, but one that we are achieving through collaborative efforts across the country.”

From the Office of Strategic Communications/Public Affairs

Latest revision: 16 May 2014