In 2020, at the direction of the Secretary of the Army and the Chief of Staff of the Army, the Army launched the Project Inclusion initiative to improve diversity, equity and inclusion across the workforce. To that end, the Joint Munitions Command is committed to being a place where Soldiers and Civilians of different cultures, experiences and backgrounds know and understand that they are valued members of the JMC team.
Despite the challenges of fostering a sense of inclusion in the face of COVID, JMC has incorporated a myriad of efforts to ensure that employees across its far-flung enterprise remain informed and feel appreciated.
For example, because JMC is committed to conducting a self-assessment in an effort to drive toward a culture of diversity, awareness and inclusion, and to create an environment of open and transparent feedback and action plans that produce tangible results, JMC leaders conducted listening sessions with the workforce.
JMC’s Command Sergeant
Major, Brian Morrison, said, “JMC senior leaders across the enterprise led 170 listening sessions with employees to find ‘golden nuggets’ to improve the organization.”
Another way JMC fostered a sense of inclusion during COVID was the weekly “Word of the Day” and “Resiliency/Devotional” messages that JMC’s recently-departed Chaplain, Maj. Charles Scott, sent to employees, a majority of whom have been teleworking in isolation from home for more than 10 months now.
Scott, said, “For me, inclusion is about feeling connected, feeling part of the team, being unified.”
His thought-provoking and encouraging messages during COVID, which covered such topics as heroism, commitment and helping others, ethical attitudes, clarity, tough-mindedness, perfect peace, deciding and doing versus feeling, and respect, helped make employees feel connected and included.
In addition, during COVID, JMC’s EEO office has continued to inform employees of annual observances and events such as Black History, Women’s History, Asian-American Pacific-Islander Heritage, National Hispanic Heritage, and National Disability Employment Awareness Months to foster awareness and inclusion of minorities in the workforce.
During COVID, JMC’s leaders, from its commander, Col. Gavin Gardner, to its directors and managers, have had to find unique ways to make sure the teleworking workforce feels as included, informed, and valued as before COVID.
JMC’s Chief of Public Affairs, Justine Barati, said, “Inclusion is all about communication. During COVID, although we are all teleworking, my staff and I have remained in close touch daily through office-wide texts; phone calls; emails; Microsoft TEAMS calls, messaging and chats; and Facebook messages. We also meet on MS TEAMS to discuss the commander’s initiatives, workload and weekly activities. I think we have had better communication and have felt a stronger sense of inclusion while teleworking, than ever before.”
“Diversity is a core strength of JMC. Through COVID and beyond, JMC will continue to develop diversity initiatives that improve the organization, and identify and eliminate institutional practices that inadvertently disadvantage any of its people,” said Gardner.