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The National Academies

ACRP 06-06 [Pending]

Cultivating Talent in the Airport Environment

  Project Data
Funds: $250,000
Contract Time: 15 months
Staff Responsibility: Theresia H. Schatz

BACKGROUND
 
The airport environment is facing a shortage of individuals who can lead, guide, manage, and carry out airport-centric initiatives to support the aviation industry. In an environment where attracting, inspiring, and developing the airport workforce is becoming increasingly challenging, a vision for talent planning is needed.  This is a critical endeavor as we consider the negative economic impact of potentially diminished aviation activities in our communities.  
 
Today’s talent pool is looking for a dynamic career path. The aviation sector is filled with many vibrant career opportunities, and the challenge is to develop talent cultivation techniques and strategies that align the talent pool with the evolving needs of airport organizations. 
 
Previous research in the area of workforce development has created guidebooks and reports that, while helpful to the industry, should be augmented with readily implementable solutions. Different from a “best practices” guidebook, a “playbook” uses experiential and inspiring techniques to energize airport employees to embed talent cultivation within their organizational cultures.
 
OBJECTIVE
 
The objective of this research is to develop a “playbook,” for airport leaders and managers, that will provide inspiring, tested, and readily implementable techniques to enhance talent cultivation and knowledge transfer* within airport organizations. The playbook should be designed for quick, easy application with key talent planning ideas that can be used by airports of different types and sizes, addressing all levels of the organization from entry level through leadership. Attention should be given to strategies and techniques that focus on an organization’s culture and workplace environment by addressing, but not limited to, the following:   
 
  • Integration of talent cultivation into the airport’s vision and strategy;
  • Alignment of organizational objectives and individual’s goals;
  • Professional development and career growth, particularly, 
    • Cross utilization and lateral movement,
    • Knowledge transfer and sharing, and
    • Succession preparation and planning;
  • Job satisfaction, enrichment, engagement, and fulfillment;
  • Availability of rewards and perks; 
  • Outreach and communication of the employee value proposition;
  • Impact of airport governance on talent cultivation;
  • Consideration of diversity and inclusion;
  • Competitiveness within the airport industry and with other industries for talent; and
  • Identification of emerging trends and future talent roles.
 * Note: Knowledge transfer refers to measurable, on-the-job transfer of both skills and training to keep a workforce prepared, productive, innovative, and competitive.
 
The resulting playbook should include approaches that are tactical, strategic, and structural in nature.
 
RESEARCH PLAN
 
The ACRP is seeking the insights of proposers on how best to achieve the research objective. Proposers are asked to develop and include a detailed research plan for accomplishing the project objective. Proposers are expected to describe research plans that can realistically be accomplished within the constraints of available funds and contract time. Proposals must present the proposers' current thinking in sufficient detail to demonstrate their understanding of the issues and the soundness of their approach to meeting the research objective. The work proposed must be divided into tasks and proposers must describe the work proposed in each task in detail.
 
The research plan should include appropriate interim deliverables, for ACRP approval, that include at a minimum:
 
1. A literature review of relevant material within and outside the airport environment (see Special Note A.);
 
2. Gap assessment to identify challenges and barriers to talent cultivation and professional growth;
 
3. Development of strategies and tools to address talent cultivation including proposed case studies and rationale for their consideration;
 
4. Proposed quantitative and qualitative metrics to measure the effectiveness of implemented techniques and strategies;
 
5. An interim report that describes work done in early tasks with an updated work plan for remaining tasks and a detailed outline with description of envisioned strategies and techniques presented in the final playbook that will require ACRP approval.  
 
The research plan should include other appropriate checkpoints with the ACRP panel, including at a minimum (1) a kick-off teleconference meeting to be held within 1 month of the Notice to Proceed and (2) one face-to-face interim deliverable review meeting, as well as web-enabled teleconferences tied to the panel review and ACRP approval of other interim deliverables deemed appropriate. 
 
The final deliverables will include: (1) a playbook that meets the research objective to include approaches that are tactical, strategic, and structural in nature; (2) a presentation to be used to communicate findings to airport industry; and (3) a stand-alone technical memorandum titled “Implementation of Research Findings and Products.” (See Special Note H.)
 
Note: Following receipt of the draft final deliverables, there should be 3 months for ACRP review and comments and for contractor preparation of the final deliverables.   For budgeting purposes, proposers should assume that ACRP will provide access to web-enabled teleconference services. ACRP will pay panel members’ travel costs for the face-to-face meeting. Proposers should assume that the meeting will be held in Washington, DC.
 
SPECIAL NOTES
 
A. ACRP publications and other relevant industry-related resources should be consulted when conducting this research. It is expected that portions of the following publications and/or resources will complement and enhance but not duplicate the research efforts:
  • ACRP Research Report 186: Guidebook on Building Airport Workforce Capacity; 
  • ACRP Web-Only Document 28: Identifying and Evaluating Airport Workforce Requirements;
  • ACRP Report 75: Airport Leadership Development Program;
  • ACRP Synthesis 18: Aviation Workforce Development Practices; and  
  • ACRP Synthesis 49: Helping New Maintenance Hires Adapt to the Airport Operating Environment.
B. Research for this playbook should be comprehensive throughout the organizational structure and not specifically the HR function.

STATUS: Contractor selection will take place on February 27
 
 

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