News | Aug. 27, 2021

Latest survey confirms DLA Aviation’s workplace culture continues to improve

By Natalie Skelton, DLA Aviation Public Affairs

When Defense Logistics Agency Aviation sets out to create a culture of high performance, the results speak for themselves.

To prove lasting impact and ensure specific targets are met, DLA has relied on the Denison Survey since 2003 to illustrate its current success and prepare for changes going forward. This year’s results confirm DLA Aviation’s ongoing success with demonstrated improvement in all survey areas.

Crystal Holmes, deputy division chief, Defense Logistics Agency Aviation’s Supplier Operations Directorate, explained the survey’s purpose.

“The primary goal of the Denison Survey is to assess and measure DLA Aviation’s progress toward achieving a high-performing culture with optimum results. The results are used to shape future change initiatives going forward,” Holmes, who was also on the DLA Aviation culture team, said.

DLA Aviation performance was measured against four quadrants built into the survey: Adaptability, Mission, Consistency and Involvement. These quadrants are illustrated in a color wheel.

“By collecting data from the survey, [DLA] Aviation is able to gauge these areas of alignment and discord within the organization,” she said.

This year’s survey results showed improvements in all focus areas, with an average increase of 10 points. One focus area, Creating Change, showed the greatest improvement—up 16 points from a score of 67 in 2018 to a score of 83 in 2020.

“I’m certainly no specialist; however, I attribute this positive increase to the rapid response [DLA] Aviation [leaders] had regarding the pandemic and other events that occurred in 2019 and 2020 leading up to the survey being issued to staff,” Holmes said.

DLA Aviation’s survey results are not only compared to other units within DLA, but with all private businesses and federal organizations participating in the Denison Survey—a total of over 1,000 organizations.

“When I say we score 99% in an area, this is compared to all other organizations,” she said.

Following the survey results, comments are shared with DLA Aviation directors as the group transitions from survey analysis to top-level directorate and division focus. These senior leaders will build their own, smaller culture teams to address action planning for focus areas.

Strategic direction and intent measure employees’ understanding of how they fit into the overall DLA picture. Customer focus examines how well the customer base understands what DLA Aviation can do to support warfighter readiness. Capability development measures a ready workforce, improved coordination and decision making, the empowerment of team leads in the decision-making process, and the level of trust between leadership and employees in decision making.

For DLA Aviation specifically, consistency with cross-functional coordination and integration looks at employees’ increased knowledge of other directorates and their role in warfighter support.