COLUMBUS, Ohio –
Defense Logistics Agency Human Resources Director, Brad Bunn, visited DLA Land and Maritime Feb. 15 as part of an informational roadshow updating Agency associates on personnel initiatives influencing operations.
His discussion topics ranged from the new 2018 DLA Strategic Plan, DLA People and Culture Plan, Defense Performance Management and Appraisal Program (DPMAP) and he touched on a DLA Telework study that’s been commissioned to review the impact of the program.
Bunn welcomed everyone attending the forum and those watching via electronic methods. He thanked the Land and Maritime leadership for hosting what he dubbed the visit as, the J1 Roadshow, to talk to the workforce about issues and initiatives that potentially influence the Agency’s daily operations.
Before launching into his presentation, Bunn loosened up the audience by recalling the regularity of his “All Hands” information updates on the recent possible government shutdowns and subsequent resolution. Responding to the laughter generated by his comment, Bunn reminded everyone that his DLA responsibilities included much more than “All Hands” messages.
“We want to make sure we’re communicating broadly and openly to our DLA workforce about all issues that may impact their daily work schedules,” Bunn said.
He kicked off his presentation by revisiting the Agency’s current alignment and the relationship to its operating environment. “One of the very first things Army Lt. Gen. Darrell Williams did when he came back to DLA as the director was to look at the Strategic Plan we had in place,” Bunn said. He further explained that a very deliberate and collaborative Enterprise-wide effort was involved in crafting the new DLA Strategic Plan.
Working through his hour-long plus presentation, Bunn dissected the new DLA Strategic Plan, explaining the importance of each Line of Effort identified and how thorough execution of each LOE related directly to the successful accomplishment of DLA’s expanding mission.
Bunn described how DLA’s leadership redesigned the new Strategic Plan to insert People and Culture as the plan’s core revision; linking it as foundational to DLA’s business operations. “This acknowledges our total workforce, both military and civilian while elevating and recognizing the visibility of People and Culture programs,” said Bunn. Additionally, Bunn clarified DLA’s modification to its core values; explaining that the Agency simply adopted the Department of Defense’s core values because DLA is a part of the DOD and it seemed redundant to have separate core values.
“When we started the process we stepped back and looked at an expanded list of priorities and what our Agency looked like from a demographic standpoint,” said Bunn.
He further explained that management surveys and other tools are employed as options to assess the changes within the workforce and require individual input in the process. “How we treat each other is extremely important to ensure we develop and maintain our positive work environment,” Bunn said.
Citing current data, Bunn revealed that there’s been a change at the Enterprise level over the last five years or so that reflects DLA’s workforce possesses more prior military experience than previously.
After sharing his observations about the demographics, Bunn pointed out additional subtle changes that have occurred within the Agency’s workforce. He also addressed how understanding and leveraging the insights from the demographic data would help improve DLA’s overall mission performance.
“I’ve been to a couple of HR conferences in the last 6-8 months where the discussion of organizational culture was first and foremost on the agenda. I thought to myself on several occasions – hey, we do that already at DLA. …. Really, our focus on organizational culture is something we’ve had for a while and is truly one of our strengths,” Bunn said.
He drew direct attention to the Agency’s effort to develop leadership competencies and management and succession planning. He said DLA was still rolling out the specifics to enhance the selection and development process for new leaders. Bunn identified the key to successful resource management as striking a balance in managing the workforce and supporting development of capable associates to fill in when vacancies occur.
“We’re working to develop a pilot program, tentatively aimed at new DLA senior leader orientation, that includes coaching efforts to help support development of our talent pool,” Bunn said. “The timing of training and development is important… to capture the attention of incoming leaders and introduce them to DLA before they arrive. This up front introduction gives them a running start and more understanding of our mission and purpose before they officially arrive on site.”
Touching on DLA’s Whole of Government effort, Bunn said the Agency’s response to last year’s natural disasters really enabled DLA to demonstrate the Agency’s power, capability and strength. He identified changing national and international conditions and situations since the draft of our previous Strategic Plan as drivers in DLA’s mission evolution. “Several months ago our rapid response to hurricanes in Texas, Florida and Puerto Rico were a testament to how agile we are and how quickly we can respond to requests for assistance from other agencies,” Bunn said.
After identifying several previous DLA system evolutions, Bunn emphasized that the Agency is no stranger to the reality of adapting to mission changes. “There’s a good possibility we’ll be asked to do more in supporting supply chain management initiatives in the future,” he said.
He spoke briefly about the Agency’s progress towards meeting the audit requirements; sharing that the feedback has benefited DLA by helping establish a solid baseline to target future logistics process improvements.
When he delved into DPMAP, Bunn said he thought DLA’s efforts to embrace the new assessment tool has gone well so far. “But we haven’t done ratings yet. So, let me just touch on a few points to help focus us here,” said Bunn. “Good performance management is about having relationships where everyone understands expectations and having regular dialogues about performance. Formal feedback is critical to improving overall organization improvement and makes sure the performance tool is working properly.”
Additionally, Bunn talked about the Agency’s detailed efforts and said DLA is working approaches to further develop how to proceed as an organization in linking performance to rewards.
Bunn said that both workers and supervisors should take time to review, update individual performance guidelines and talk with each other in conversation about it. “We should familiarize ourselves so we’re better positioned to fully participate in the process – it’s designed to be interactive – and that requires real-time communication,” he said.
Directing everyone to become fully familiar with both the Strategic Plan and the People and Culture Plan, Bunn encouraged every DLA employee to be prepared when they come to work every day. “Whether you’re focused on individual or collective projects or tasks, the drive to contribute to the DLA mission depends on reading these documents and taking advantage of opportunities as they become available.”
Bunn concluded the J1 Roadshow session by talking about telework. “We’ve commissioned a contractor to conduct an academic study of our telework program to assess its effectiveness and participation levels. The purpose is to establish some benchmarking about our program and determine the relationship between telework, organizational culture and mission performance,” Bunn said. After stating that no preconceived outcomes have been established from the study, Bunn said DLA is looking to the contractor to provide timely and accurate data so the Agency can make its own determination.
Study results should be received around the June timeframe and will then be evaluated by DLA.
Bunn closed the Roadshow by fielding questions from the audience, with the majority of them involving telework study.