In an organization defined by 10 major subordinate commands, 95 active Army installations, 26 organic industrial base facilities, three medical logistics centers and 20 support brigades, it can be challenging to support the readiness, training and development needs of a 190,000-plus workforce.
But that’s the challenge the Army Materiel Command G-1 is willing to take on.
During the semiannual G-1 Forum held virtually Oct. 6-7, the command’s leading Human Resources professionals discussed how G-1 programs, activities and guidance fit into AMC’s readiness mission in the areas of Soldier, Civilian and Family; Installation; Industrial Base; Munitions; Strategic Power Projection; Supply Availability and Equipment; and Date Analytics and Logistics Information.
More than ever before, G-1 actions as they relate to diversity and inclusion, workforce flexibilities, employee development opportunities and telework technologies are vital to mission success in a COVID-19 environment.
“This year has brought the G-1 mission to the forefront. With policies regarding COVID-19 and max telework, Project Inclusion, spouse employment and other People Strategy programs, G-1 has been on the front lines both here at AMC and throughout the Army,” AMC chief of staff Maj. Gen. Bob Harter said at the virtual summit.
“I want to thank the AMC G-1 staff for working in the trenches every day to ensure we are responsive to our employees during this challenging time.”
During the summit’s major subordinate command reports, attendees reviewed 26 best Human Resources practices across the AMC enterprise in seven categories: employee hiring, recruiting, awards, data, talent management, training and development, and workforce flexibilities.
“In all areas, G-1 staff are planning, taking action and driving things to completion as AMC moves forward,” Max Wyche, AMC’s deputy chief of staff, G-1, said. “Particularly in the area of workforce flexibilities, we are leading the Army. We are looking at the impact long-term on the command when it comes to workforce flexibility. Our future includes a new normal where our major subordinate commands have the latitude to develop policy themselves regarding employee issues, and we at the headquarters are here to enable them.”
The forum focused primarily on human capital investments and technology solutions that influence recruitment, training and development programs, Wyche said, adding “we need to know what solutions and tools are needed for the future to enable what we want to get done as we continue to recruit, develop and retain a world-class workforce for AMC.”
One such Human Resources tool that has had a recent impact on AMC employees is the Ready Army Civilian development tool, which identifies opportunities for employee development and engagement, AMC G-1’s Ricky Rivera said. In 2019, a pilot RAC tool was launched within AMC headquarters, and feedback was solicited for further development. On Nov. 2, the official RAC tool will be launched at headquarters, with the tool being implemented throughout the major subordinate commands and activities in spring 2021.
The development tool reviews both tangible and intangible skills of Army civilians, determines where further development is needed, and “encourages conversations between supervisors and employees,” Rivera said. “The end result is a total civilian – someone who is technically proficient, gets along with others in the workplace and has good communication and listening skills.”
The tool, which is separate from the Defense Performance Management and Appraisal Program and informs Individual Development Plans, provides more flexibility in determining the right mix of skills, training and experience to ensure civilian readiness.
“It allows us to identify training opportunities and to identify where shortfalls are in training. It provides a means for supervisors and employees to talk about expectations and the training needs to meet expectations, and provides input to make smart decisions on employee development,” Lisha Adams, AMC’s executive deputy to the commanding general, told forum attendees.
Adams has been working with employee groups within AMC headquarters to develop the RAC development tool, which was a need identified by Army senior leaders a few years ago. While the Soldier force has a system in place to determine Soldier readiness, there is no such system in place for Army civilians.
“Civilians do so much to support the readiness of the Army, but we haven’t tracked what really makes civilians ready with the right skills and training to meet the mission,” Adams said. “We are leading the way for the Army as we implement the RAC tool within AMC and its major subordinate commands. Army leaders are excited to see how RAC nests with the Army People Strategy.”
Hiring policies, Army Career Program Transformation, Project Inclusion and the Army People Strategy-Civilian Implementation Plan were all discussed during the AMC G-1 forum. In addition, major subordinate commands gave reports on best practices and opportunities for further human resources reforms.
In recruiting new employees, AMC is encouraging maximizing use of Direct Hiring Authorities, providing employment opportunities for Army spouses and family members who relocate with a service member, partnering with universities and technical colleges to recruit a diverse workforce, and utilizing pay incentives and workplace flexibilities.
“We want our major subordinate commands to keep implementing their own civilian hiring programs and best practices,” Tara Ackeret, AMC’s chief of Civilian Human Resources Policy and Programs Division, said. “We do want to implement some policies that encourage consistencies throughout AMC. But, across the command, we have different workforces and missions, and we want to keep our policies broad enough to allow MSCs flexibility in their hiring policies.”
AMC G-1’s Joe Coutcher outlined the plan for career program transformation, sharing that the Army is reducing its 32 career programs into 11 career fields to allow for “career broadening opportunities within a career field, and more effective and efficient usage of training dollars. It’s not just about consolidating career programs. It’s about positioning ourselves to do something even greater by preparing our careerists to take on new responsibilities and by encouraging collaboration within the career fields.”
In a review of the Army’s Civilian Employee Implementation Plan, AMC G-1’s Anthony Felton said the plan’s goal is to “have a ready, professional, diverse and integrated workforce by updating the Army’s human resources and management processes. The CIP is focused on modernizing talent acquisition, building world-class supervisors, evolving career programs, and transforming workforce planning and management.”