News: Organizational culture: Empowering employees
Story by Nick D'Amario
FORT LEE, Va. - Defense Contract Management Agency International is no stranger to culture, with contract management offices providing contracting support in dozens of countries. Shortly after Navy Rear Adm. Deborah Haven’s arrival as International’s new commander in summer 2013, she introduced yet another type of culture — organizational culture — as one of her leadership goals.
“An organization’s culture is evidenced by how it conducts its business and treats its employees, customers and stakeholders,” said Haven. “Empowering our employees in decision making, developing new ideas and personal expression is essential to organizational growth and success. For the employee, this enhances their trust in the organization and job satisfaction.”
Organizational culture is defined as a way of thinking, behaving, or working that exists in a place or organization (such as a business). International has adopted this definition in developing a trans-geographical organizational culture their staff can embrace in enhancing internal productivity, performance and morale.
International leadership — at headquarters and CMOs — studied a 2013 climate survey identifying themes and common concerns affecting productivity and performance within the directorate. This became the foundation for developing a construct of morale-building measures in response to employees’ issues and concerns.
Haven appointed Army Lt. Col. Linnen Hodo, International Contracts Division deputy director, as the directorate’s organizational culture champion. Hodo maintains regular contact with each of the CMO commanders and their culture team leads, acquiring updates with specifics on activities, events and programs initiated in support of the program.
“We have empowered the culture teams to develop programs and events that would fulfill individual employees’ expressed needs and expectations, as well as those of the total team,” said Hodo. “CMOs report quarterly on their programs, to include detailing activities and identifying barriers to work accomplishment. This provides transparency for all culture team leads so they can share and adopt ideas for their CMOs.”
Some culture programs, events and activities selected for inclusion at or away from the work place include: suggestion boxes, bi-monthly town hall meetings, Morale Welfare and Recreation presentations, potlucks, decorating contests, hail and farewells, email etiquette awareness, professional development opportunities, and other employee recognition and team building meetings.
“I am proud of the progress our organizational culture champions, team leads and employees have made in such a short period of time,” said Haven. “People are our most important asset in meeting the agency’s goals and objectives. We have a responsibility to ensure they are afforded every opportunity for personal development, expression and job satisfaction."