Although today’s Army is an immense organization with a global presence, the ability to fight and win our nation’s wars is dependent on our most important asset—our Soldiers, Civilians and Family members. As we move further into the 21st century, we must continue to create an environment that strengthens diversity and inclusion, to include women, minorities and individuals with disabilities.
Diversity and inclusion are already strengths of the Joint Munitions Command, but it must continue to invest in and manage its workforce’s talent, value individuals, and develop Soldiers, Civilians and Family members in order to achieve the JMC mission optimally.
A successfully diverse workforce combines employees from different backgrounds and experiences to form a more creative, innovative, and productive workforce. Organizations have learned to draw upon our nation’s diversity to strengthen their mission readiness. Studies have shown that a diverse team is known to make decisions faster than an individual employee, and organizations reap a 60 percent improvement on decisions made by a diverse team. Diversity and inclusion in the workplace causes all employees to feel accepted and valued. As a result, employees feel more satisfied and they stay working within an organization longer.
To help foster diversity, JMC instituted a Special Emphasis Program Managers group. The overall objective of the SEPMs is to enhance the employment and advancement of minorities, women, and people with disabilities at JMC on a nondiscriminatory basis, by ensuring they are afforded an equal opportunity in every personnel management policy and practice. The SEPM subcommittee is comprised of a working group representing the workforce with a variety of organizations, occupations, grades and ethnic diversity. Subcommittee members function as liaisons to provide valuable information about the concerns and needs of minorities, women, and people with disabilities to coworkers in their respective divisions and offices.
In addition, employees from JMC’s Equal Employment Opportunity and Human Resources offices regularly team up to represent the command at employment fairs, to promote awareness of the types of U.S. government jobs available to the nation’s diverse population. Prior to the beginning of COVID-19, the offices participated in a local job fair, which was available to veterans and other citizens seeking employment. They provided information about JMC and Army careers, with the intent of attracting qualified applicants of diverse backgrounds.
For each individual to bring their best self forward, a sense of belonging must first be established. Having a connection to an organization or group of people is a psychological need and results in greater engagement and creativity in the workplace. JMC fosters a sense of belonging in many ways. For example, senior leaders send periodic, encouraging messages to the workforce, not only to inform, but to thank employees for their exemplary efforts in support of the Joint Warfighter. A Transformation Action and Advisory Team, which is a group of employees from each JMC division, mentors employees who have constructive ideas for improvement of processes or procedures at JMC.
But, achieving an optimal level of diversity and inclusion cannot incorporate a one-size-fits-all approach. That’s why it’s important to share best practices and be open to trying new things. It’s a positive that as JMC works on improving diversity, it can also work on inclusion, and vice versa. It’s all interconnected.
Top-down approaches may drive compliance, but not commitment. From senior leaders to frontline employees, every individual must see and understand their role in organization culture. This means identifying differences in employees’ experiences and values across the organization so that change can be made relevant to each person.
In addition, lasting change must activate all aspects of the system: top down, bottom up, and middle out. Workplace diversity is crucial for innovation and creativity within organizations. Hiring qualified employees from various backgrounds brings a variety of perspectives and ideas to apply to mission readiness.
Above all, a commitment to equal opportunity, diversity, and inclusion is critical to accomplishing the JMC mission. As a cornerstone of merit-based civil service, JMC is obligated to seek and to attain a diverse, qualified workforce and must promote a workforce that reflects the diversity found in our American society. The JMC must continue to make a conscious effort to blend the makeup of its employees with the ultimate goal of a highly diverse and inclusive workforce.