JUNE 21, 2022 – Norfolk Naval Shipyard’s (NNSY) Strategic Framework foundation is culture. It states “We are bound by mission, strengthened by diversity, and reinforced by culture. Our team’s diverse backgrounds, perspectives, viewpoints, and skills are our greatest strength. Our culture will reinforce that strength by creating a more aware, inclusive, and empowered workforce. Culture is the foundation upon which the pillars stand, the vision is realized, and warships are successfully delivered.”
Crucial to culture, Employee Resource Groups (ERG) were established long before the NNSY’s Strategic Framework launched in April 2021. In many aspects, ERGs support NNSY’s mission of repairing, modernizing, and inactivating Navy warships and training platforms.
“ERGs provide platforms for teaming, engagement and diverse inputs into our Strategic Framework,” said NNSY’s Culture Change Team Lead Antonne Smalls. “The existence and operations of ERGs here at NNSY epitomizes the command’s appreciation for inclusive and equitable support needed to build a better culture.”
The People Development Pillar is another aspect of the Strategic Framework that benefits from the various ERGs. “We as a shipyard need to develop our personnel in technical skills, leadership skills and character development,” said Deputy People Development Pillar Lead John Veal. “This is where the ERGs come into play. Not only do they provide resources in those areas, but they also become mentors to guide the employee onto a successful path forward.”
A misconception of ERGs is that each ERG only assists those who fit within the focus area of the group. “All ERGs are opened to everyone regardless of race, religion, gender and skill trade,” said Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (S.T.E.M.) Chairperson Erica Miranda. “You don’t need to work in any of the fields that S.T.E.M. focuses on in order to be part of S.T.E.M. ERG. We have members whose job is in the communication field, training field, and business field.”
ERGs do more than providing resources and hosting events for various heritage months. They go outside the gates to reach the community whether it be through the Toys for Tots program that the veterans lead each year, or the Back to School Drive lead by the Federal Women’s Group (FWP), and other various community activities that go on outside the gates.
“Recently the S.T.E.M. ERG and FWP partnered in an event at Nauticus entitled ‘Women in S.T.E.M.,’” said Miranda. “Women from the shipyard were able to share and inspire with the community of all ages what they do and their experiences at NNSY.”
In order for ERGs to be successful, they need NNSY employees to get involved. Become a member of an ERG to help make a difference at America’s Shipyard.
Story by Troy Miller
Norfolk Naval Shipyard