By Kari HawkinsOctober 28, 2019
REDSTONE ARSENAL, Ala. -- Mission focused, technically competent, accountable, trained, resilient - the words jumped off the auditorium screen as the Army Materiel Command's top civilian leader described for employees how supervisors define Ready Army Civilians.
Following a year of development, Lisha Adams, AMC's executive deputy to the commanding general, introduced employees at an Oct. 24 town hall to a development tool that will be used during supervisor and employee discussions to pinpoint areas of professional and personal improvement.
"The purpose of Ready Army Civilian is to develop civilians who actively choose to use their skills and experience to improve Army readiness, with the desired outcome being a trained and ready workforce committed to the Army mission," Adams said. "We want to identify opportunities to develop high caliber employees who are resilient, educated, innovative and trained to address vastly complex situations."
Ready Army Civilian was the centerpiece of the town hall that reviewed various AMC topics, including the command's expanding mission in support of Army priorities, feedback from the Federal Employment Viewpoint Survey and the three tenets of Multi-Domain Operations and Modernization. Progress in all areas, including Ready Army Civilian, is designed to move AMC from the industrial age to the information age.
"We have to think about how we need to change, how we need to integrate, to move forward in the information age," Adams said.
During two phases of Ready Army Civilian - one involving an employee team to better define the concept and another involving a second employee team to determine how to implement the concept - it was determined that a development tool would encourage supervisor/employee discussions as well as provide a way to look at an employee's career progression. The tool was created to enable supervisors and employees to identify how to ensure their teams are trained and engaged, understand how to support the mission, and to provide a gauge of overall civilian readiness.
The development tool considers tangible - or hard skills - such as degrees, certifications and other completed technical training, required physical and travel demands in support of the mission, as well as the ability to maintain a security clearance and pass any required drug testing. Intangible - or soft skills - that are not required for the job, but accentuate an employee's ability to meet organizational goals include time management, critical thinking, communication and listening skills. These elements provide a starting point for employees and supervisors that can help guide conversations regarding developmental opportunities.
"This is about how we can we work together to develop our civilians to be ready. I hope you will take the opportunity to do a self-reflection to determine where you are in being a Ready Army Civilian and opportunities to develop to enable you to be a better team player," Adams said.
While the development tool isn't an official Army-wide personnel process, the information gleaned from it can help in building individual development plans for employees and can support formal input into the Defense Performance Management and Appraisal Program and other performance management systems, she said. It will also provide AMC leadership information and data to assess gaps and opportunities where command-wide training and developmental programs may be of benefit.
"The bottom line is better effective talent management, aligning skills to the mission, and identifying training requirements and opportunities," Adams said. "It's about defining the capability gaps and addressing those gaps, about identifying opportunities to better develop a Ready Army Civilian."
The development tool is intended to encourage open, honest conversations between supervisors and employees, said Nate Parks, AMC G-8, who was part of the second Ready Army Civilian employee team. Supervisors have been asked to discuss the development tool with their employees by Dec. 6 and then provide feedback on the development tool.
"This is not a definitive process. This is an initiative, a test pilot that we are working," Parks told employees at the town hall.
As AMC prepares to implement a second stage of Shape the Fight to better align employees to the mission, Adams said the development tool's effectiveness directly correlates with AMC commander Gen. Gus Perna's priorities.
"All of this is getting after improving readiness - readiness of ourselves and readiness of our Army," Adams said. "It's about holding ourselves accountable. I hope you choose to actively use your skills and talents to affect Army readiness."
Adams also highlighted with employees a change in the Army Civilian Creed, pointing out the addition of the word "leadership" to reflect the continuity in leadership that civilians provide the Army. The town hall concluded with attendees reciting the creed together - an audible reminder of the importance of AMC's workforce contributions to the Army.