FORT MONTMOUTH, N.J. - More than 30 of the senior human resource leads from across the Army's Research, Development and Engineering Command assembled here at the Myer Center for RDECOM's G1 Summit, May 24 - 26.

The three-day conference aimed to facilitate cross-organizational collaboration and discuss common issues pertinent to all of the centers, said Steve Latour, RDECOM G1, deputy chief of staff for human resources.

The importance of collaboration became immediately evident on the first day of the summit, when the participants created a joint list of expected outcomes from the meeting, and words such as "networking," "relationships" and "partnerships" were emphasized among the participants.

JT Kostman, an industrial and organizational psychologist and senior human capital strategist for C2 Technologies in Vienna, Va., expressed the need for collaboration, positing that each of the centers possessed their own unique strengths, but that their individual assets were not shared by all.

"In other words, it's like these people are doing this thing great and those people are doing that thing great, but nobody is doing everything great. However, if we can share some of those best practices, I think we can really advance in how everyone is doing business," Kostman said.

The summit was a step in the right direction toward a more collaborative community for Lynne Direda, team leader for the Communications-Electronics Research, Development and Engineering Center's Employees Resources Office.

"It was a valuable opportunity to meet and network with fellow human resources professionals from other research, development and engineering centers," she said.

In order to ensure that the issues that were most prevalent and urgent were addressed, a survey was sent before the conference to all of the command's centers asking them to identify the biggest challenges they faced in the next year and upcoming five years.

According to Latour, one problem that surfaced - and one which became one of the main areas of focus of the summit - was the need for workforce models, or the need to provide employees with a "career roadmap."

"There is a tremendous amount of opportunity and we don't think the individuals necessarily have access to them because the opportunities are scattered all around, so we want to make sure we capture them all in one document tailored to the individual, based on the career field that they're in," said Latour.

In addition to the development of workforce models, Latour identified one other major issue that was tackled during the conference.

"Another thing we wanted to work on and we did work on was defining the roles, the responsibilities, the accountability, the coordination and the information for each of the three major areas of human resources which are recruiting, developing and retaining."

The G1 Summit was the first of its kind to be held in several years. Latour explained that the resolution to re-instigate it was a collaborative decision between himself and leads from other RDECs.

"There was an overwhelming cry to come together face-to-face to work on challenges," he said.
Latour furthermore revealed that he intends to make the G1 Summit an annual event, which will most likely be a welcomed development, considering the reported success this year.

"I think the biggest breakthrough I've had during the conference is the recognition of the similarities and the differences between the command's centers. There are a lot of things that the individual centers have in common and they have a capacity to leverage off of those commonalities," said Kostman.

Assessing what was gained during the conference, Latour said, "I feel that we are leaps and bounds ahead in our willingness and capability to work together as well as in our understanding that our issues are not our issues alone. We have shared with each other our challenges and have learned from those among us who have worked on some of the issues and have solved them."

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Page last updated Thu May 27th, 2010 at 15:45