REDSTONE ARSENAL, Ala. -- Even during a pandemic, Army Materiel Command employees come through for their organization.
Despite COVID-19, teleworking and the unique mission challenges of fiscal year 2020, AMC employees continue to substantially create workplace change and influence workforce policy through the Federal Employee Viewpoint Survey (FEVS). As the Army’s largest civilian employer with nearly 89,500 civilians, AMC leads in efforts to measure employee perceptions of what makes a successful organization, and whether their employer, agency and supervisor have those characteristics.
“Army Materiel Command is a significant portion of the Army Civilian workforce,” said Max Wyche, the deputy chief of staff for AMC G-1 (Human Resources). “We are a critical element of Army success in terms of the civilian workforce, innovative workforce priorities, more flexible and agile workforce policies, and best employee practices pushed up to the Army.”
Forty-five percent of the Army’s civilian workforce participated in the 2020 FEVS, providing the Army with its best overall rankings ever. For AMC, 55% of Headquarters employees responded while high responses were recorded from AMC’s Army Contracting Command (ACC), 65%; Security Assistance Command (USASAC), 60%; Military Surface and Distribution Command (SDDC), 55%; and Logistics Data Analysis Center (LDAC) and Financial Management Command (FMCOM), 47%; and Communications Electronics Command (CECOM), 46%.
“None of us knew what to expect with the survey this year in terms of participation or the results. Everything has been so uncertain with the pandemic. It’s very encouraging to see the high level of participation,” said Tara Ackeret, who is among G-1 leadership, including Thomas Dimitri and Dr. Sara Stellatella, who are analyzing and providing insight into the FEVS results.
The service’s Employee Engagement Index (EEI), which measures an employee’s sense of purpose, and overall attachment to their organization and its mission, came in at 72.7%, up three percentage points from 2019, with AMC’s EEI ranking coming in at 71%. The Global Satisfaction Index (GSI), measuring employee happiness with their job, came in at 69%, up from 65% in 2019, with AMC’s GSI coming in at 68%. Both the Army’s and AMC’s rankings exceed President Joe Biden’s goal of 67% satisfaction.
“Having employee voices heard is a critical component of the workplace,” Wyche said.
“Our goal is to increase the Employee Engagement Index in all categories. That’s what drives improvements for AMC and the Army.”
FEVS questions related to the Employee Engagement Index focused on leadership integrity, the interpersonal relationship between employees and supervisors, and employee feelings of motivation and competency.
Questions related to the GSI focused on employee satisfaction with their job, pay and organization; and willingness to recommend their organization as a good place to work. This year’s survey also included questions about AMC’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic.
“Each year, FEVS includes questions based on a theme that has been trending in the workforce. This year the focus was on the COVID-19 response,” Dimitri said.
Regarding COVID-19 impacts and responses, 82% of AMC Enterprise civilian employees reported minimal or no disruption in work, while 88% reported their work unit continued to be effective during COVID-19 and 77% reported favorable sentiment toward their supervisor, senior leader and organizational support.
“We received good reinforcing feedback that shows we are moving in the right direction,” Wyche said. “We will take what’s in the report and use it to drive our People Strategy. We want to further define and improve, and show the workforce we are listening and are doing things to improve engagement. FEVS is one of the tools we have to get unfiltered employee feedback.”
Of the survey results, AMC HQ saw the most positive growth in the Leaders Lead category, which measures employee perceptions of leadership integrity and behaviors, such as communication and workforce motivation.
“The survey found employees feel highly engaged with immediate supervisors,” Stellatella said. “Supervisor-employee relationships continue to strengthen year after year.”
“Our continued improvement in Leaders Lead indicates employees are able to rely on their leaders, and are able to trust their leader has the best interest of employees and the organization in mind when they make decisions,” he said.
Wyche believes responses in this area improved, in part, because of supervisor response to the COVID-19 pandemic.
“Supervisors have been committed to protecting the force and stopping the spread,” Wyche said. “There was a critical time in the spring and summer of 2020 when supervisors led the organization’s efforts to be agile and flexible, to make adjustments in the workplace, and to integrate more teleworking to continue the critical mission of AMC and the Army.”
In the area of Intrinsic Work Experience, which measures employee feelings of motivation and competency, Wyche said AMC HQ had a 4% increase, with CECOM reporting a 10% increase, ACC an 8% increase and USASAC a 7 % increase.
“Many employees do feel their talent is used well in the organization. But there is room for improvement in terms of talent management,” Wyche said. “We still need to improve on getting the right employees in the right seats doing the right job.”
One FEVS aspect that continues to be a challenge for AMC, Dimitri said, is finding ways to make computer access to FEVS more accessible to AMC employees who work in the Organic Industrial Base. Growing the number of employee responses is important to the continued credibility of FEVS, he said, and to the improvement of the work environment.
“We want to hear from employees so we can make changes that lead to a better work environment and workforce,” Ackeret said.