DLA HR director’s road show makes stop in Columbus

By Michael Jones DLA Land and Maritime Public Affairs

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DLA Human Resources Director, Brad Bunn brought his human resources roadshow to Land and Maritime Nov. 4 to personally discuss several high visibility human resource issues with the Columbus workforce.

Working in both morning and afternoon sessions that were also live streamed video to the workforce, Bunn’s agenda included a deeper examination of the Department of Defense (DoD) Performance Management and Appraisal Program (DPMAP), Eagle Telework Management (ETM), Phased Retirement and other People and Culture initiatives. The Columbus stop represented about the halfway point of Bunn’s scheduled Agency-wide visit.

“DPMAP is an Enterprise implementation of a new set of policies and procedures being rolled out across the DoD impacting more than 600,000 DoD workers – including DLA,” said Bunn. “It’s been in the design phase for a few years now and we see this as an opportunity to align, leverage and incorporate the benefits of DPMAP into our DLA Strategic Plan using our People and Culture pillar. That pillar sponsors DLA’s excellence through the sustainment of a high performing workforce.”

DLA will incorporate DPMAP to increase opportunities to improve on how it executes performance management capabilities. “The whole idea behind incorporating DPMAP is improving support to our customers, what can we leverage from this that makes us even better at what we do mission-wise,” said Bunn.

Bunn also talked about the importance of Culture Action Plans and referenced how the Agency will blend workforce results from the Denison Survey to strengthen its game plan to successfully phasing in DPMAP. Sharing his observation that DLA already has a strong culture foundation to work from he talked about the potential for progress. Workforce perceptions of performance expectations were high and those perceptions are a key ingredient in the performance management process.

Bunn also talked about the need for cross feedback between supervisors and employees during the performance management process and the need for that communication to be purposeful and ongoing. Additionally, he stressed the need for the workforce’s increased access to the soft skill sets, especially for effective supervision. DPMAP will include an expanded leadership assessment to help build more effective leaders.

All DoD employees will be on a single appraisal cycle from April 1 through March 31 with an appraisal effective date of June. DPMAP requires three formal, documented face-to-face discussions between supervisors and employees; an initial performance plan, one progress review and a final appraisal discussion. Bunn did note that the option to have more than three required discussions is encouraged.

DPMAP uses a 3-level rating pattern with Level 1 being Unacceptable; Level 3 being Fully Successful and Level 5 being rated as Outstanding. Feedback is expected throughout the year and there’s a minimum period of 90-days for an employee to receive an appraisal.

Bunn said the successful implementation of DPMAP is dependent on the performance expectations set forth for the leadership and workforce, building better relationships, providing feedback – use this as an opportunity to help reset how relationships are established and how the engagement happens,” Bunn said.

Bunn mentioned that an important challenge to the leadership in integrating the DPMAP rating system is developing a clear definition of the rating expectations and how those expectations relate to the employee’s final appraisal. Discussions are ongoing within the Agency to develop leadership consensus on specific rating guidelines.

A central IT system is being unveiled that provides automation to HR’s ability to review workforce trends, assist with data requests and enable employees interactive access to their professional development plans. Phase I training for DPMAP launched in October via the Learning Management System. Recently launched Phase II is slated to be a one day in classroom training session (in person or by VTC) through March 2017. Bunn took several questions about DPMAP from the audience before moving on to discussions about the ETM. He also made sure everyone knew HR has a website hosting frequently asked questions that might be helpful for employees who might have additional questions.

Bunn also discussed the introduction of an electronic forum, a partnership between Human Resources and Information Operations, to streamline the management of telework DLA-wide. That new capability brings more consistency to managing the telework requests and approvals, is electronically updatable, supports the paperless option, is integrated into the EAGLE web application and provides readily available metrics for monitoring the telework data.

Wrapping up, Bunn touched on the Phased Retirement option and emphasized that the essential consideration involves the mutual benefit between the employee and agency. “This is about successful succession management and it’s a business based decision,” Bunn explained. Plans are being finalized for DLA to implement Phased Retirement in early 2017 after all required coordination is completed. Employees should consult with their leadership and human resources office for more information on Bunn’s DLA Human Resources Roadshow or other HR concerns.