REDSTONE ARSENAL, Ala. – Following reports on civilian recruiting, training and retention presented during the Army Materiel Command’s Human Capital Strategic Forum, AMC commander Gen. Gus Perna concluded the forum April 29 by re-emphasizing that all human resources activities must be managed with three priorities in mind – protecting the workforce, preventing the spread of the coronavirus and accomplishing the mission.“Let us not lose sight of what is happening right now,” Perna told AMC’s G-1 directors via teleconference during the virtual forum. “We are essentially at war with this virus, and it will take a national response and an individual response to overcome it. There are better days ahead of us. This is a challenge that requires us to be diligent and disciplined both as an organization and as individuals.”This is the sixth year AMC’s G-1 Human Capital Strategic Forum has brought its major subordinate commands together so human resources directors can learn from each other’s successes and challenges in supporting the workforce. It also included presentations from division chiefs, including Military Support and Family Programs; Analysis, Integration and Execution Division; Policy and Program Division; Total Force Training and Development Division, and Safety Division.“What we do is about providing readiness in the seven strategic support areas,” said Max Wyche, deputy chief of staff G-1. “Our focus remains the same – formulate a vision to operationalize output. 100 percent of employees doing the right work has become our mantra. It’s not about getting more people. It’s about making sure the workforce we have today is being utilized as best as possible.”AMC G-1, he said, must cultivate the right workforce, align the workforce to the mission, provide training and development, and ensure the right environment for the workforce to flourish where employees understand the vision and are all driving in the right direction.As the Army’s largest civilian employer, AMC leads in incorporating the Army People Strategy and Civilian Implementation Plan within the workforce as it shifts to a talent management-focused approach within G-1, Wyche said. The plan calls for transforming workforce planning and management to reduce gaps in capabilities and match talent to requirements; modernizing civilian talent acquisition with the use of marketing techniques and efficient hiring processes; evolving Career Programs to be integral to the enterprise; and building world-class supervisors at every level.G-1 priorities within the AMC enterprise include providing increased employment opportunities for military and civilian spouses, and people with disabilities, shortening the time it takes to hire new employees, and increasing the use of work/life flexibilities to include teleworking and alternative work schedules.In the short-term, however, much attention is focused on how to bring the workforce back into the workplace in wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, Wyche said. That plan will be based on the ability to test for the virus, capacity for contact tracing and capacity for physically distancing the workforce.The forum also included a presentation by Lisha Adams, AMC’s executive deputy to the commanding general, on the Ready Army Civilian program, which allows a better assessment of employee skills and competencies, and encourages innovation in support of the mission.“We will develop and implement the RAC concept across the Army, beginning with the pilot program at AMC,” Adams said. “RAC is a development tool that looks at the skills required for a position and then determines if the employee is ready with those skills and what may be needed to get them ready. The tool helps us to see ourselves and to increase the commitment to the Army mission.”The RAC tool is expected to be implemented throughout the AMC enterprise in September.Perna credited AMC’s high caliber workforce, in part, to human resources professionals across the AMC enterprise who implement policies and requirements resulting from the annual Human Capital Strategic Forum.“It is the workforce that is the foundation of what we do,” Perna said. “The abilities of our employees, our collective teams, our organizations allow us to accomplish the mission. People have got to be first. Attracting the right workforce, training them and most importantly retaining them is what enables us to have the expertise, knowledge and experience to meet the requirements of what we want to achieve.”In his travels around the AMC enterprise during his more than three years as its commander, Perna has seen examples of inspired leaders and high performing teams. He has also seen examples of what poor leadership, low morale, and the lack of respect and accountability can do to an organization.“We have made a lot of progress in what we are doing to attract, hire and retain the right employees. But there is still a lot of work to be done,” Perna said. “We need 100 percent of the people in our organization doing 100 percent of the right work. We cannot cut corners. We have to hold ourselves accountable and do the hard right.“We need employees who are resilient, who stay positive, who see the silver lining and who are innovative in finding solutions. With those kind of employees we will succeed. If we have the right employees, then there is nothing we cannot do.”