By Kari HawkinsJanuary 8, 2019
REDSTONE ARSENAL, Ala. -- With modernization and readiness at the forefront of Army priorities, the Army Materiel Command's Human Resources (G-1) is setting the standard to ensure its civilian workforce is prepared to respond with support.
Coming on the heels of the Shape the Fight initiative to ensure the right level, type and assignment of human capital required to perform the mission, efforts are now being made to incorporate the Ready Army Civilian initiative - a movement focused solely on civilian readiness - throughout AMC.
"For our workforce to take on this initiative, they must first understand what are the real characteristics of a civilian employee who we consider to be ready," said AMC Deputy Chief of Staff for Personnel Max Wyche.
"How do we define Ready Army Civilian? What education and training do they need to do their job and be ready to support? The answer can be very complex with the extensive list of duties required for the mission. Even with job descriptions that are straightforward, there is still training - combined with their current job skills and experience -- that will help employees master and perform their tasks in support of AMC and Army priorities."
With its workforce being 96 percent civilian, AMC is developing the Ready Army Civilian initiative with plans of it eventually being adopted Army wide. AMC Human Resources (G-1) will have a major role in the initiative as it works to implement the initiative among G-1 employees, encourages its implementation to employees throughout headquarters staff sections and helps to oversee its implementation through AMC's major subordinate commands.
"Our subordinate commands have been asked to undergo the same analysis we applied in HQ AMC. The entire AMC enterprise is being asked to become more efficient while enhancing our focus on lethality, readiness and modernization. Shape the Fight and Ready Army Civilian are essential in our ability to adapt to and execute current and future requirements for our Soldiers and Department of Defense partners," Wyche said.
The G-1 mission - to man the force, lead the human capital management program, cultivate and develop talent, oversee the health of the force, and execute the commander's safety and occupational health program - puts it at the forefront of any employee development initiative. AMC's town hall with Lisha Adams, the executive deputy to the AMC commanding general, in late 2018 helped set the stage to ensure employees are trained and equipped to support Soldier readiness.
"Ready Army Civilian gets to the heart of (AMC commanding) General (Gus) Perna's goal of having the right workforce doing 100 percent of the work 100 percent of the time," Wyche said. "We're in a stage within our organization where a lot is expected of Army Materiel Command employees while, at the same time, we are transferring some responsibilities and work to the Army Futures Command. There are high expectations of AMC, our workforce and our leaders to take on different roles and tasks, and to maintain a high level of performance while doing so."
Wyche expects supervisors within the G-1, and throughout AMC headquarters and its subordinate commands to "take deliberate actions to ensure our current workforce and future workforce are properly trained and aligned to perform the mission."
Supervisors, he said, must be able to manage high performing teams while also working with employees individually to ensure each has the adequate education, training and experience to do their job. While Shape the Fight allowed the G-1 to better align with its mission to develop and sustain an innovative and responsive human capital framework, and to maximize workforce capabilities and output, Ready Army Civilian defines the requirements of civilians so that solid pathways are clearly set to move the AMC enterprise toward mission accomplishment, he said.
"At the end of the day, employee performance must align to mission output," Wyche said. "Ready Army Civilian ensures employees are fully equipped to perform jobs they are in. To do that, supervisors must effectively define requirements and expectations of each job."
Just like Soldiers, Army civilians must be qualified to compete, perform and serve in a way that positively impacts Army readiness. AMC supports this effort by providing policies, guidance and resources needed to build and sustain a high performing workforce.
"This is really about, number one, ensuring we are effectively using our resources in terms of people and money. As trusted agents of the Department of Defense and the federal government, we are obligated to do that," Wyche said. "And, number two, forming a workforce that has the tools needed to do their jobs, that has the opportunity and is empowered to perform their mission."
Following Perna's guidance to "think big, start small" in designing a framework for civilian readiness, AMC G-1 will implement the Ready Army Civilian initiative by first doing an analysis of where employees are in terms of education, training and experience. Supervisors must be able to identify gaps in employee qualifications and training, and then work to fill those gaps.
"We want to provide tools to help supervisors assess our current workforce," Wyche said. "We want to help employees assess themselves as well. We want to make sure everybody is effectively postured to perform at a high level in their current position."
The DOD Performance Management and Appraisal Program and other performance assessment tools, career programs, supervisory support and the Civilian Education System are all key to implementing the Ready Army Civilian initiative.
"There are many opportunities for employees who want to grow and be empowered, who want to be high performers. There are several tools for employees and leaders that help them to develop their skills, solve problems, resolve conflicts, communicate better and focus on the mission, all elements of Ready Army Civilian," Wyche said.
"The issue is that supervisors and employees must determine which training courses are the best for the right kind of output, and then plan on when that training can occur without having an adverse effect on the mission. That's the challenge."
But, planning for those training opportunities is well worth it in the long run, he said.
"When you enhance peoples' ability to perform in a certain position and for the organization, then you have improved civilian readiness and responsiveness to the Army mission," Wyche said.
"We want employees to be able to perform at top levels. If you take care of employees' education and training needs, you provide a positive and higher performing work environment, and you set a foundation of excellence that affects performance, retention and recruiting."