News | Oct. 27, 2020

Leadership sync perseveres through pandemic

By Public Affairs DLA Disposition Services Public Affairs

Each fall typically brings Defense Logistics Agency Disposition Services leaders from around the world to the Hart-Dole-Inouye Federal Center in Battle Creek, Michigan, to greet, shake hands and meet face to face to discuss what comes next. The 2020 iteration is no different – except for the meeting in person and shaking hands part.

This October, agency pandemic protocols meant most participants greeted each other virtually and those few who could be together were more likely to bump elbows than shake hands (with their masks in place, of course). An Oct. 27 kickoff featured a State of the Command briefing from DLA Disposition Services Director Mike Cannon who began by recapping the organization’s top fiscal year 2020 priorities.

“There was a plan and we followed it the best we could,” he said.

The briefing highlighted the command’s 2020 accomplishments and ongoing major initiatives such as the fiscal 2021 DLA Disposition Services Strategy Map, the Network Optimization Field Office Review, ongoing support to Afghanistan, Warehouse Management System requirements and the de-customization of DLA Enterprise Business Systems.

In addition to discussing the mission, the summit kickoff focused on people and how they will help drive the way forward.  

One way people help move the organization forward is through participation in the agency-wide Culture/Climate Survey, which is currently ongoing. Just over 34% of DLA Disposition Services employees had already submitted their surveys by Oct. 22, once again leading all major sub-commands in participation, against an overall agency participation currently at just under 27%. 

A man talks in front of a screen.
Hart-Dole-Inouye Federal Center Equal Employment Opportunity Office Director Al Hight briefs DLA Disposition Services leadership around the world on the services and support his office provides to the command workforce.
A man talks in front of a screen.
201027-D-OS362-0043
Hart-Dole-Inouye Federal Center Equal Employment Opportunity Office Director Al Hight briefs DLA Disposition Services leadership around the world on the services and support his office provides to the command workforce.
Photo By: Jace Armstrong
VIRIN: 201027-D-OS362-0043

“I encourage all to take the survey, it’s important,” Cannon said. “I read every single comment and use it to make decisions for the organization. The more people that take it, the better the information we have.”
 
Other factors that can impact culture extend outside of the workplace. Sexual Assault Prevention and Response Manager Robin Rogers briefed leaders about current trends and signs they can look out for as they touch base with employees and friends during a time of social isolation.

Rogers promoted the “Not Just April” campaign, through which the SAPR team is raising awareness throughout the year. October wrapped up the related “Walk A Mile” events and November launches “Denim Day Fridays.”

She provided leaders with information on resources located on the SAPR webpage:  http://www.dla.mil/Info/SAPR.aspx

Another employee resource is the Equal Employment Office. Office personnel provided an overview of their offerings and training to ensure fair and equitable treatment throughout Disposition Services. 

The day wrapped up with a focus on safety. Bill Cohoe, safety and occupational health manager, said one of the biggest changes this past year was the number of incidents reported, although most of the occurrences were minor. DLA Disposition Services’ focus from last year’s summit was to report everything in hopes that scrutinizing the minor will prevent major incidents. Thus far, this has been a successful strategy for the command.

“We’ve done a really good job keeping our workforce safe at work,” Cannon said. “While we’ve had some folks with COVID, none contracted from work.”

Safety will remain a focus area into 2021, with an added emphasis on preventing overexertion through proper training and awareness, as well as the introduction of a two-day virtual material handling equipment training event that kicks off Nov. 4.