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News | Oct. 1, 2020

Culture survey to measure employee satisfaction, drive change

By Beth Reece

Employees will have five weeks to share their uncensored opinions on life and work at the Defense Logistics Agency when the 2020 DLA Culture/Climate Survey launches Oct. 9.

The survey is normally conducted every 18-24 months to assess employees’ attitudes in areas ranging from morale to job satisfaction but was delayed this year due to the pandemic. Results will identify areas that need improvement and enable action planning for positive change, said Shannon Lewis, DLA Human Resources Culture Program manager.

“The survey gives employees the chance to share their feedback on what’s working and what’s not. The results will guide us toward areas where we need to make changes so we can create actionable plans and a roadmap to the future,” she said.

“Your Voice is Our Future” is the theme of the 2020 survey. In a video encouraging employees to take it, DLA Director Navy Vice Adm. Michelle Skubic said access to training, tools and a supportive culture shape employees’ ability to meet the agency’s challenging mission. The survey is voluntary but she is calling for maximum participation.

“This pandemic has caused many of you to adapt to new methods, locations and conditions, which makes it more important than ever to hear from you. DLA always finds success when we collaborate to solve problems and find solutions,” she said. “We need your voice to let your leaders know where to focus their attention and where to take action to improve our culture.”

All DLA employees – civilians, service members and local nationals – will receive an email invitation to take the web-based survey from Denison Consulting, the independent contractor administering the survey. Paper surveys are available for those without convenient web access.

The confidential survey takes 30 to 45 minutes to complete and there are slightly fewer items than the 2018 survey. DLA employees respond to 60 culture survey items, which assess four key traits of culture: mission, adaptability, involvement, and consistency. A separate climate section includes questions on subjects such as workforce resiliency, audit advancement, and the DLA Strategic Plan, as well as an area for write-in comments.

Lewis stressed that written responses and scores are confidential. Denison Consulting doesn’t include employees’ names or identifying characteristics with survey results, nor does it provide that information to anyone in DLA.

Results are reported for DLA as a whole and broken down into various organizations and activities, however, reports are not run for groups with fewer than 10 respondents. The same care is given to write-in comments, for which employees’ work unit and demographic information is removed before being shared with senior leaders.

The more people who participate, the more detailed data the agency will have when evaluating policies, regulations and processes for change, Lewis said, adding that research shows a direct link between culture and performance.

“A high-performing culture is usually tied to positive outcomes like employee and job satisfaction, client satisfaction, etc. It’s a culture where people feel like coming to work and are satisfied with what they produce,” she said.

This is Lewis’ first DLA Culture/Climate Survey. She arrived at the agency in May 2019 after 10 years at the Office of Personnel Management, where she worked on a team that administered the Federal Employee Viewpoint Survey. She said she believes her experience analyzing data from that survey and those she conducted while working for state government will help her connect results to continued improvements throughout the agency.

“The emphasis on culture here at DLA is second to none,” she said. “Rear Adm. Skubic and other leaders are committed to this survey and they take it very seriously.”