What’s Next: Planning for Success in Your Organization

  • Author: Sarah Hildago-Cook
  • Date: December 11, 2020

Content in this document is disseminated by NCMM in the interest of information exchange. Neither the NCMM nor the U.S. DOT, FTA assumes liability for its contents or use. The opinions expressed herein are those of the author and not of the National Center for Mobility Management.

One of the most pressing issues in any initiative, industry, or organization is determining how progress will continue from month to month and from year to year.

Factors within your organization such as funding shortfalls or an aging vehicle fleet can impact continued success. Currently, your thoughts might take you to external threats, such as COVID-19’s impact or climate-related events, to your organization. 

When thinking about your organization, how can the good work continue when those advocating for mobility management currently, are not around? Do you think about the strides made by your organization over time? Who will continue carrying the torch when mobility management advocates move on to new life stages, like retirement? How do we entice others to join the efforts in support of improved mobility? 

Thinking Ahead, From Behind

Pondering all the above questions, let us address what mobility management related succession planning can entail:

  • making sure that new staff are on-boarded properly & have a good understanding of their new organization and position, 
  • are current on mobility management best practices, 
  • having protocols put in place addressing these things. 

Onboarding of new staff is the key ingredient. Incoming mobility managers and adjacent staff need to have a full understanding of what your organization does; on a day-to-day basis and in the larger mission-statement sense. Things like knowing the ins and outs of the program they work for (or may be working closely with), who works the front desk on Mondays, and the strong outside partners advocating for your organization or program, are all important. Shadowing a staff member for a period of time can help new employees to understand other staff’s role in the organization, as well as frame their own scope of work. Getting together daily to breakdown what has happened that day and to answer any questions they may have can be valuable in the beginning as well. 

Additionally, it’s important to make clear how things actually are. It could be as simple as creating a living document that lists those things or a more detailed handbook addressing funding streams, partner contacts, listing shared vocabulary and the like. Whichever option you may choose, having something prepared for new staff can greatly help with the transition. 

Making sure a new staff member feels comfortable in their workplace can help them to thrive. When that is the case, it can make preparing for the future that much easier. 

Training for the Future

While there isn’t a degree or certification for someone to become a mobility management professional, there are options for training to prepare incoming staff to get in the right mind-set.

The NCMM website provides a great place to start. To keep new and current staff members as up-to-date in the realm of mobility management, sign them up for the NCMM newsletter and invite them to explore some of the other areas of the NCMM website: the NCMM Knowledge Center with a resources by topic page & the new Health and Transportation Resource Center, the Mobility Lines blog, or the What is Mobility Management? page. There’s a lot available on the website, with new learning and networking opportunities coming up periodically. It can provide a good starting point. to build up their mobility management knowledge

An idea to get your new staff member on the right page may be to require them to complete virtual courses pertaining to mobility management; a certification program of sorts. There are various resources towards creating your own certification.

There are seven e-learning courses pertaining to various mobility management topics on the NCMM website such as Mobility Management Basics (great for new staff not familiar with mobility management) and The Role for Advocacy in Mobility Management. CTAA has successfully developed a certification program for community transit that is well valued and respected throughout the transit industry, among others. National RTAP has a number of trainings available on their website. Easter Seals also provides various training and certification opportunities, including travel training and multiple levels of transit management. Another option is the courses available through Partners for Youth with Disabilities. With a focus on inclusion, their courses can help staff who may be unfamiliar with inclusion and accessibility topics to become so. 

Formulating your organization’s training series for new mobility management practitioners could include areas like:

  • Marketing
  • Financial Management
  • Travel Training
  • ADA Law
  • Best practices in holding meetings, public speaking, 
  • Networking & Partnerships
  • Grant Writing
  • Leadership

Tailor these areas to what your new staff’s responsibilities will be. For example, someone who isn’t involved in grant writing may be better suited to learning about marketing if that’s part of their job responsibility. If in the future they may help with grant writing, it can be listed in an employee handbook that training from other staff or through a program will be expected after a certain point. Beyond trainings and education, there could be valuable past webinars you may think is worth a peek. Simply making a list of what you find valuable for new staff to know is the beginning of a new hire’s certification program.

Regardless of how you approach continuing success, the importance lays on how mobility management will move forward in the next 10-20 years. What is important is making sure those next in line are as educated and prepared as they can be. As our world changes, with technological innovations impacting one’s mobility near and far, it’s important that mobility managers are prepared for all that comes next.

We’d love to hear from you!

Have more mobility news that we should be reading and sharing? Let us know! Reach out to Kirby Wilhelm (wilhelm@ctaa.org).