Connecting with every TSA officer is a challenge the agency’s leadership tackles head-on every day. It’s an especially huge challenge at our nation’s largest airports.
“With over 2,000 officers and personnel at Los Angeles International Airport (LAX), we learned quickly it was difficult to reach everyone here through the normal means of communications,” said LAX Supervisory Officer and Employee Advisory Council (EAC) Co-Chair Shanel Johnson. “Our airport operates 24 hours a day, 365 days a year with personnel present all hours of the day.”
In an attempt to reach each officer, the LAX EAC launched several initiatives, and TSA’s National Advisory Council (NAC) took note, recognizing the LAX EAC as one of the top five in the country.
“Emails can be overwhelming,” said Johnson, who believes the EAC’s role is to be a voice for the workforce. So, the LAX EAC created an interactive webpage to give employees the ability to post job concerns online.
Thanks in large part to the EAC, many TSA employees at LAX now feel they have a better opportunity to move up the career ladder. The EAC surveyed employees to gauge their concerns, and as a result of that poll led a significant effort to improve the job promotion process at LAX.
“We shifted how much the interview portion weighed in the application process to focus more on an employee resume and experience,” Johnson noted. “We included employee job performance as well as supervisor assessments. In the event an employee isn’t selected, they can seek direct feedback on areas they can improve to help them in the future.”
Johnson said the workforce is more satisfied with the processes now in place. “It helps employees who may not interview well because of nervousness or anxiety. We do not want officers who have the experience and capabilities to be passed up simply because they didn’t do well on the interview portion of the application.”
The LAX EAC also launched a new awards program for officers. “The awards program shows appreciation for individual outstanding achievements and addresses a concern regarding meaningful recognition,” said Johnson. It’s peers recognizing peers, which she said generates a lot of buzz at the checkpoints.
Stephen Pruitt, LAX EAC program manager, calls it an “honor and privilege” for the LAX EAC to be recognized on a national level. “I would like to thank the NAC for recognizing this group of hardworking committee members who are dedicated to making a difference among our workforce.”
Johnson said being part of the EAC has been one of her most rewarding experiences. “I get to see firsthand some of our ideas and hard work unfold successfully. It also helps that we have a great senior leadership team that supports us and our ideas. Together, we all make a dynamic team here at LAX.”