MAY 29, 2020 – As Army Materiel Command continues to strive towards providing the best Equal Employment Opportunity program for its employees worldwide, both military and civilian leadership recognize its effectiveness depends largely on the support of commanders, supervisors and managers at all levels.
Speaking during a May 26 virtual briefing concerning AMC’s progress in establishing model EEO programs throughout its 11 major subordinate commands, AMC Deputy Commanding General Lt. Gen. Ed Daly said AMC leads the Army in its efforts to diversify, establish a work environment of respect and dignity, and provide Army civilians with opportunities to grow professionally.
As the largest civilian employer within the Army, AMC senior leaders, supervisors and managers have an obligation to continue to build a command-wide model EEO program that can be emulated throughout the force, he said.
“We can’t rest on our laurels. We have to build for the future. We can never be satisfied with the status quo,” Daly said. “EEO is a commander’s program and command is an action word. Commanders need to understand the regulatory requirements and policies associated with the Army’s EEO program and the Army’s people strategy.
“Our EEO policies and people strategies not only address diversity, reasonable accommodations and the right to a discriminatory free workplace, but also talent management and career progression, the complete life span of our civilian workforce. It’s about taking care of our employees.”
The briefing, hosted by AMC’s Office of Diversity and Leadership, resulted from a requirement from the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission and Army to conduct an annual command-wide self-assessment and review of EEO policies and practices to ensure free and open workplace competition, known as Management Directive 715.
The directive requires an in-depth analysis of work place practices, including recruitment, promotions and awards. AMC commanders are required to report to AMC Headquarters on their command’s EEO progress in six essential elements of compliance for a Model EEO Program and identify proactive steps they will take to eliminate organizational EEO barriers within their commands. The six essential elements are: demonstrated commitment from command leadership; integration of EEO into the command’s strategic mission; management and program accountability; proactive prevention of unlawful discrimination; efficiency; and responsiveness and legal compliance.
“The self-assessments allow us to adjust, refine and open the aperture on how we recruit, hire and retain,” Daly said.
During the meeting, commanders reported on challenges and initiatives within their commands related to achieving a workforce, at all grade levels and occupational categories, that is representative of National Civilian Labor Force percentages, which are based on data from the Census Bureau.
“It’s understood that the actions you take to ensure proper diversity of the workforce really take time,” Daly told the commanders. “From the actions you take now, we won’t see the effects for potentially 12, 36 or 48 months down the road. You are building for the future. Getting the right workforce with the right diversity to achieve the right effects in the workplace is absolutely critical.”
Daly encouraged commanders to focus on both sides of the Human Resources equation – recruiting and retention.
“They are absolutely linked and are critical to our success,” Daly said. “We need to retain the right people and the right skill sets. With the right efforts in recruiting and retention our workforce will continue to have an unbelievable impact on our mission. We need to recruit and retain the best people with the right knowledge, skills, behaviors and attributes to make a difference in the workforce. There is huge power in that.”
Overall, AMC is meeting the National Civilian Labor Force percentages in all race and ethnicity categories, with the exception of Hispanics and Asians, and females, reported Paula Taylor, director of AMC’s Office of Diversity and Leadership. AMC’s female employee population continues to be below the NCLF percentages and female participation rates decrease as employment grades increase, she said.
AMC is exceeding the 12 percent EEOC goal in the employment of Individuals with Disabilities, coming in at 18.93 percent, Taylor reported, while AMC is slightly 2% EEOC goal of hiring Individuals with Targeted Disabilities, however, the Army has exceeded that goal.
Army-wide recruiting tools such as the Non-Appropriated Funds Spousal Preference Non-Competitive Hiring Authority, hiring authorities for Individuals with a Disability and Individuals with a Targeted Disability and the two-year intern Career Program have provided AMC and its MSCs with advantages in hiring a diverse employee population to fulfill requirements of Management Directive 715.
In addition, commands developed MD 715 initiatives. Highlights of those include:
- Installation Management Command highlighted success with the IMCOM Emerging Enterprise Leader Mentoring Program and a Service Culture Campaign to build both morale and employee understanding of customer service.
- Army Contracting Command discussed the production of podcasts on Diversity and Inclusion, Anti-Harassment and Civility in the Workplace that the Mission and Installation Contracting Command shared with employees via SharePoint.
- Aviation and Missile Command reported on its Quarterly Diversity Committee meeting where senior leaders and union leadership review data on recruitment and workforce retention.
- Army Sustainment Command discussed the benefits of conducting EEO Forums and the sanitization of personal data from resumes to lower unconscious biases during the hiring process.
- Communications-Electronics Command showcased the command’s recognition as a 2019 Accessibility Award Winner and a CECOM employee recognition as the 2019 Employee of the Year, presented by the Harford County Commission on Disabilities; and discussed the Human Resources Enterprise automated EEO reporting tool to capture internal applicant flow data.
- Joint Munitions Command included the initiation of a Diversity and Inclusion Team to provide strategic direction on how to attract and retain diverse employee populations.
- Military Surface Deployment and Distribution Command reviewed its barrier analysis program for competitive hiring actions and coordination with the G-1 on reviewing SDDC specific policies for the removal of exclusionary language.
- Tank-automotive and Armaments Command showcased the use of its new Anti-Harassment Initiative Program to effectively identify and efficiently address issues at the lowest possible level, and the use of EEO Exit Surveys during out-processing as a feedback mechanism.
- Security Assistance Command reviewed its new Hiring Policy and Handbook.
Story by Kari Hawkins
U.S. Army Materiel Command