SMDC claims best command in the Army to work
Vanessa L. Kacer, principal engineer, Ronald Reagan Ballistic Missile Defense Test Site Operations Center in Huntsville, Alabama, ensures the Huntsville Mission Control Center is properly configured to support its next mission. (U.S. Army photo by Carrie David Campbell) (Photo Credit: Carrie Campbell) VIEW ORIGINAL

REDSTONE ARSENAL, Ala. - The U.S. Army Space and Missile Defense Command’s Federal Employee Viewpoint Survey results rose for the second year in a row claiming the second highest employee engagement index for the U.S. Army in 2021 thanks to its continued focus on “People First.”

USASMDC’s EEI for the Office of Personal Management’s annual nationwide federal survey in 2021 was 81%, a 0.7% increase from 2020. USASMDC still holds the title for top participating Army organization on Redstone Arsenal and has the highest score of any Army command.

“I see the FEVS results as a positive reflection of who we are,” said Lt. Gen. Daniel L. Karbler, commanding general, USASMDC. “I’m incredibly proud of the USASMDC team. Their hard work, professionalism, expertise, competence and spirit of teamwork allows us to achieve the high level of dedication and work that we do.”

The EEI used questions from the survey to gauge conditions that can potentially lead to the state of engagement, defined as an employee’s sense of purpose portrayed through their dedication, persistence and effort in their work or attachment to their organization and its mission.

The survey was not sent to all civilians as way to put the Office of Personal Management back on schedule due to COVID, said Dana Henslee, organizational adviser, USASMDC Civilian Workforce Development. Typically, the survey is conducted during late spring/early summer. In 2020, the survey was put off until fall. Instead of inviting everyone to participate in the 2021 survey, OPM sent it to a smaller sample of civilians from each command. This allowed OPM time to process the results before they had to begin administering the 2022 survey during the regular timeframe. Henslee said that although there were fewer people who participated in 2021’s survey, the participation rate was still adequate and results are considered reliable.

The EEI comprises three sub-indices, Intrinsic Work Experience, Supervisors, and Leaders Lead, each with five equally weighted questions. USASMDC saw an increase in two sub-indices, Supervisors and Leaders Lead, with 87.3% and 75.6%, respectfully.

In the Work Experience sub-index, the percentage saw a 0.5% decrease compared to 2020, with 80.2%. Four of the questions in the sub-indices had decreases in their score, as well. The questions: I feel encouraged to come up with new and better ways of doing things; My work gives me a feeling of personal accomplishment; I know what is expected of me on the job; and I know how my work relates to the agency’s goals. Despite the decrease, USASMDC still ranked third among Army commands.

“While our bright engineers and statisticians in the command will tell me that 0.5% isn’t statistically significant, I’m always looking to improve,” Karbler said. “I, along with SMDC leadership and our G-1 team, will be looking closely at the segment’s five questions to determine the way forward in 2022.”

USASMDC will also focus on the questions in the sub-index Work Experience, as well as Leaders Lead, for improvements.

Henslee said she recommends three listening sessions with employees, each focused on a different area, to determine focal points to improve upon. If they are conducted similar to last year, the participants are given questions to discuss, Henslee said. She pointed out that recognition and communication are two areas USASMDC always need to better itself in.

“They are very common areas of concerns, no matter the survey and sensing session,” Henslee said.

While Henslee has gathered potential areas for improvements, she will use guidance from Richard De Fatta, deputy to the commander at USASMDC, and Karbler to identify specific actions.

Karbler said the USASMDC team, comprising 3,300 Soldiers and civilians spread around the world in 22 locations and 10 time zones, is the command’s greatest strength and most important weapons system.

“USASMDC cannot carry out our wide-ranging, no-fail, national security missions without the dedication of our greatest asset—our people. Their service and sacrifice are what make winning possible,” Karbler said. “That is why, in the Army, we put ‘People First,’ and ensuring continuous workplace improvement is the least I can do to say thank you!”