News | Feb. 25, 2016

Directorate reflects on actions as agency prepares to launch new culture survey

By Cathy Hopkins DLA Aviation Public Affairs

As the Defense Logistics Agency prepares to launch its 2016 Culture Survey in March, Cynthia Stinchcomb reflects back on action plans implemented in her directorate as a result of the 2014 survey.

Stinchcomb works in DLA Aviation’s Business Process Support Directorate and is the current chairperson of the directorate’s Employee Advisory Board.  The board meets twice a month, once for members only and once with the director and deputy director to update them on issues and initiatives.

“The board formed in December 2014 after the results of the 2014 Culture Survey showed the directorate lost ground, as compared to its 2012 survey results, in all four Denison Culture Survey quads - adaptability, mission, involvement, and consistency,” said Stinchcomb. “It is made up of nine representatives from divisions across the directorate. The group works hard to identify [meaty issues] within the directorate to affect positive change.”

Stinchcomb and the EAB identified the top three employee concerns based on survey results and narrative comments.  They were: lots of things “fall between the cracks,” working with someone from another part of this organization is like working with someone from a different organization, and problems often arise because we do not have the skills necessary to do the job.

Employees also have an ongoing opportunity to let the board know concerns through an EAB mailbox and suggestions boxes placed in three locations throughout the directorate.

With nine divisions and approximately 154 employees within the directorate, Stinchcomb said it does sometimes seem like there is a lack of communication and understanding of how the branches work together.

One of the action items the EAB developed to help divisions become more familiar with each other is the monthly “Yo’BA What’s Up” newsletter which features a division, supervisor and an employee spotlight with each publication. The newsletter also covers directorate happenings, “did you know items,” and agency highlights.

The board suggested a somewhat unique approach to training concerns, Stinchcomb said, “We suggested supervisors use the weekly branch meetings as a training opportunity by incorporating an employee-led training session within the meeting.”  She said several supervisors have adopted this suggestion and employee feedback is positive. Weekly sessions have covered training on job specific tools/software such as intermediate documents (IDOCs), Remedy tickets, and even had invited guest trainers to cover professional development training on how to complete an individual development plan.

Other board accomplishments include increased telework based on mission availability for employees, an employee of the month recognition program, and various morale boosting events.

“Communication is key,” said Stinchcomb and she said the directorate continues to hold quarterly town halls to ensure multiple avenues for two-way communication.

We recently celebrated the board’s one-year anniversary and fielded an employee survey to see how we are doing,” she said. “The board takes its responsibilities to the workforce seriously and wants to be an agent of change and improvement.  To improve, we need the continued support and communication of employees.”

DLA employees will soon have another opportunity to let the agency and the Business Process Support Directorate’s Employee Advisory Board know if improvements and plans enacted since the 2014 survey have made a difference.

The next DLA Culture survey is scheduled to begin March 29 and is offered to all employees.  Employee feedback is anonymous. Employees are encouraged to see the survey as an opportunity to build a better DLA and to help change and improve the agency as it fulfills its number one mission - warfighter support.  

Employees wishing to learn more about the Culture Survey and the Denison Model are encouraged to complete the Culture Survey Awareness Briefing which will be available via the agency’s Learning Management System on Feb. 29.