NSWC Crane Hosts Department of the Navy Human Capital Branch for In-Depth Workforce Dispatch Study
Naval Surface Warfare Center, Crane Division (NSWC Crane) hosted a team from the Department of the Navy (DoN) Human Capital Strategy (HCS) Program Management Office (PMO) for their first visit as part of a Navy-wide distributed workforce (DW) study. The DoN HCS team visited Crane June 28-30 and aim to share the results of the study later this fall.
Jim Hardin, the DoN Civilian HCS PMO within the Assistant Secretary for Navy Manpower and Reserve Affairs, and an accompanying team met with several different groups at NSWC Crane for a three-day visit to gather information for the DW Study Phase II initiative. Hardin and the team are comprised of human resources (HR) professionals and other subject matter experts (SMEs) from the Distributed Workforce Initiative at HCS headquarters in Washington, D.C. The DW study is being conducted with four different commands from the Navy or Marine Corps.
Hardin, who was previously human resources director at NSWC Crane, says the team is collecting data from NSWC Crane to learn and develop DW guidance for the future.
“Through these studies of various commands, including NSWC Crane, we will develop Navy-wide guidance, tools and command models,” says Hardin. “We will use the details and information from this study to develop criteria to define the level of telework that different roles can use. We will focus on the positions and not the person.
The DW Initiative is an HCS effort to understand unique human resources, facilities, and information technology (IT) challenges and solutions to create a mission-driven, corporately adoptable DW model. DON scale.
Garry Wieneke, Deputy Director of Corporate Operations at NSWC Crane, said it was exciting to be the first site the DW Initiative team chose to visit.
“As we successfully emerge from the health challenges associated with the COVID-19 pandemic, their time at NSWC Crane will help the DoN understand how to implement a long-term distributed workforce,” says Wieneke. “Work is different now, and it’s a good opportunity to highlight best practices around the distributed workforce. Anyone who works for the Navy could be affected by the efforts of this initiative. »
Hardin says this visit launched Phase II of the overall study, which is more in-depth than the information previously gathered in Phase I. Phase I focused on defining the work and skills needed to understand what had to be on site and what might be remote.
“NSWC Crane was the first order we visited and was selected because it does a good job of how it selects the work it does,” says Hardin. “Phase I of the study was to assess the post-COVID-19 workforce, people’s thoughts on working from home and in what situations jobs can be done offsite. Commands need to have objective criteria for making dispatched workforce decisions. What we’re doing is the Navy’s mid- to long-term approach to helping commands make sound decisions.
The three-day visit consisted of an analysis of remote work, telework and the study of the distributed workforce, as well as a workshop to develop an organizational model. The analysis covered broad areas at Crane, including technical, HR and IT teams.
Since March 2020, due to the COVID-19 pandemic, many federal employees, as well as many other industry roles, have been working remotely. Hardin says the team is facilitating a broader movement.
“There’s a huge cultural shift happening — post-COVID it’s not the same,” Hardin says. “As of 2021, the Navy has been reviewing these efforts. Fifteen thousand military and civilian supervisors were surveyed and more than 80% said telecommuting had no or positive impact on productivity and culture. Cultural change and DoN goals make this DW initiative critical and essential.
Goals of the DW initiative include attracting and retaining DoN talent, modernizing virtual collaboration infrastructure, optimizing facility space utilization, reducing carbon footprint , improving employee engagement and satisfaction, and informing workforce task analysis and position management. Other federal agencies are also working on DW initiatives.
The study and follow-up efforts, Hardin says, will help commands make informed decisions when the Navy encounters DW decisions.
“People are wondering what the unintended consequences might be if remote work persists,” says Hardin. “But there are also fears of attrition. We can use this study to better understand and mitigate the associated risks. For example, managers fear losing opportunities for “water cooler” collaboration and innovation in the office, but there are ways to replicate them virtually. This is a joint military and civilian effort; we all share what we do.
Hardin says there are significant examples of human ingenuity with innovative teams collaborating from different places.
“If you think about Apollo-13, there were astronauts in space and scientists and engineers in various cities across the United States working together to bring them home,” Hardin says. “Collaboration can happen virtually, and with the technology we have today, there’s no reason we can’t.”
About CDSN Crane | NSWC Crane is a naval laboratory and field activity of Naval Sea Systems Command (NAVSEA) with mission areas in expeditionary warfare, strategic missions, and electronic warfare. The Warfare Center is responsible for multi-domain, multi-spectral, full lifecycle support of technologies and systems that enhance the capability of today’s Warfighter.
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