Functional community reps meet to share ideas, successes

By Kathleen T. Rhem DLA Human Resources

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Representatives of most of Defense Logistics Agency’s 16 functional communities met in person and via video teleconferencing and telephone with DLA Human Resources advisors in a biannual meeting at the McNamara Headquarters Complex April 18. 

Functional community managers are senior leaders who oversee and provide guidance on workforce planning efforts and strategies in their respective communities and ensure they are aligned with mission requirements. FCM points of contact assist in these efforts by executing the human capital strategies and objectives of their respective FCMs, lead assessments of the occupational series, implement workforce planning processes, and review and analyze workforce data.

Angela Curtis, FCM integrator for DLA, encouraged “lively participation” from the group and explained the theme of this gathering was “roles and responsibilities.”

“You’re part of a great big system, and if anyone doesn’t understand their role, we can’t move forward with our FCM management goals,” she said. “It’s important for you to understand these roles to be able to take the best practices and mirror them or build on them in your organizations.”

DLA Human Resources Director Brad Bunn lauded the meeting participants for their efforts on behalf of their various functional communities and acknowledged challenges FCMs can sometimes face. 

“The role of the FCM is something we’ve struggled with in DoD, as well as DLA,” he said. “Being an FCM or FCM POC is almost a collateral duty for some. Your ‘day job’ is not to ponder what’s going on with competencies, recruitment, and training and development. You’re in these roles because of your functional expertise and experience.”

Bunn urged meeting attendees to be avid consumers of available data.

“We live in a world that is now data-centric,” he said, pointing out that both the DLA Strategic Plan and the DLA People and Culture Plan were developed and will be evaluated using data and metrics. 

The more you look at data, the more you see stories emerge,” Bunn said. 

For example, as the proportion of veterans hired by DLA has gone up in recent years, the proportion of women in the workforce has gone down at a corresponding rate. Understanding workforce trends’ effect on diversity might affect recruiting and retention efforts. 

Another valuable source of data for FCM managers is the DLA Culture/Climate Survey. 

“Sources of data will help you build the case for what you need to do differently,” Bunn said. “We can trust our intuition, but it helps to be backed up by hard data.”

His overall message to the group was straightforward: “Be curious about the workforce and be voracious consumers of data.” 

These twice-yearly meetings detail specific strategic workforce initiatives, and promote Defense Department workforce forecasting, planning and shaping strategies. The following functional communities within DLA were represented: acquisition, financial management, safety and public safety, leadership, logistics, security, small business, warehousing, property disposal, environmental management, human resources, miscellaneous and program management, engineering, information technology and law enforcement. 

In closing, Bunn urged attendees to focus on producing tangible outcomes with a goal in mind.

“We don’t want to just diagnose a problem, we want to develop solutions and implement the solutions, and then measure how effective they were.”