HR director talks changes, touts ‘Dynamite’ workforce

By John Bell

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Brad Bunn, director of Human Resources for the Defense Logistics Agency, clarified aspects of the new performance management system, highlighted workforce changes and urged employees to participate in the forthcoming DLA Culture/Climate Survey, in a town hall at the McNamara Headquarters Complex Feb. 27.

The event was the third stop in what Bunn calls a “roadshow” of planned visits to the major subordinate commands. He delivered a similar presentation in New Cumberland, Pennsylvania, Jan. 18, and Columbus, Ohio Feb. 15. Upcoming J1 roadshow presentations are being scheduled for Richmond, Virginia; Philadelphia; and Battle Creek, Michigan.  

After a high-level summary of the agency’s People and Culture Plan, Bunn asked employees to provide their candid responses to the voluntary DLA Culture/Climate Survey, to be sent electronically March 13 to most of the workforce.

Bunn also explained aspects of the DoD Performance Management and Appraisal Program, noting that the end of the cycle for the first DPMAP rating cycle at DLA arrives at the end of March. This means employees should use the MyPerformance system to provide their accomplishments to the supervisors, he said. Supervisors should likewise begin planning written evaluations and think about scheduling end-of-cycle discussions. (For more information, see this video.)

It also means employees and supervisors should work on new performance plans, Bunn noted. However, a plan is only the first step, he said — adapting a quote from a character in the 2004 movie Napoleon Dynamite: “Having a plan is not going to allow all your wildest dreams to come true,” he said.

He added that DPMAP will not feature “forced distribution,” or “grading on the curve.” This means there will be no cap on the number of employees who can achieve the highest rating, Bunn said.

In addition, DLA Human Resources is also undertaking a telework study, to asses how this option is being used across the agency. He noted that overall telework has increased at DLA in just the past seven years, from 35 percent in 2010 to 60 percent in 2017.

Mandatory training was another area Bunn said may soon see reform. He noted his office is looking at ways to reduce the considerable volume of required training DLA employees must complete. Some ideas under consideration include accepting training completed at previous federal jobs, granting waivers where appropriate and giving experts in a subject the option to “test out” of certain training.

Bunn also shared initiatives to test new supervisors for situational judgment, achieve better succession planning, and launch a pilot coaching program for trainees in the Enterprise Leader Development Program.

The HR director also explained how the DLA workforce has changed in the past few years and how the mission will change the nature of its work. Thanks to hiring initiatives for veterans, 45 percent of DLA employees have prior military service. Likewise, 14 percent of employees have disclosed a disability.

In addition, as technology advances, the work of DLA employees will over time become less based on transactions and more based on information and analysis, he noted.

Bunn concluded by thanking the workforce and expressing his appreciation for its efforts. “I’m proud to be part of an organization that puts such a great focus on its people,” he said.