The Bi-State Development Board of Commissioners approved a $2.6 million plan to invest in new and current programs to attract and retain top talent. Bi-State Development and its enterprises, like many companies nationwide, have been struggling with significant staffing shortages. The effort will impact team member amenities, employee benefits and wellness, learning and development, company culture and recruitment. The incentive programs will cover what Bi-State Development calls “quick hits” designed to help team members feel more valued.
The Gateway Arch and Riverboats operations, which are two of Bi-State Development’s enterprises, have had a challenging time finding seasonal workers this year. The staffing shortage at Metro Transit has been compounded by higher-than-normal turnover rates and has resulted in missed MetroBus trips and unreliable bus service. During the first three quarters of FY2022, Bi-State Development hired 368 people, but lost 469, underscoring the significance of the work force challenge.
“We have to make some dramatic changes in how we compete for talent, both through recruiting and retention, so we can maintain the levels of customer service needed to keep our region moving forward,” said Bi-State Development President and CEO Taulby Roach. “It is imperative we create and sustain the most effective and efficient work environment we can support.”
The new programs are aimed at directly addressing known challenges. In the benefits and wellness area, it will support paid parental leave, provide a subsidy for childcare/eldercare, cover the cost of tuition reimbursement and student loan subsidies, and pay for onsite mental health professionals to be available for employees in need of such services. A new Wellness & Advocacy Center is being created, and team members will have new HDHP/Health Savings Account medical plan options. Family transit passes will also be available to team members to encourage them to bring their families onboard Metro Transit.
Issues negatively influencing company culture will be addressed through a new, multi-faceted management development initiative and anti-bias and anti-racism training, while the companywide deployment of an app will help to improve direct communication and engagement with team members who do not have access to email because their work environment is a transit vehicle or transit center, and not an office space. Other benefits include improving recognition of all team members.
“The competition for talent has never been more intense. We are optimistic this incentives package will go a long way toward stabilizing the exceptional team we already have in place, and toward attracting top talent who will help us build a brighter future,” Roach said.
Career opportunities with Bi-State Development range from MetroBus operators, mechanics and riverboat captains to positions in supply chain, marketing, public safety, food & beverage and more. To learn more about or apply for any positions available, please visit bistatedev.org/careers.