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Championing an Innovative, Diverse, and Agile Workforce at the November TRANSCOM Show

Ms. Gail Jorgenson, Director of U.S. Transportation Command's Acquisition Directorate (TCAQ) is the command champion for General Darren W. McDew's Fourth Priority: "Champion and innovative, diverse, and agile workforce."

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November’s TRANSCOM show featured Priority 4 Champion, Ms. Gail Jorgenson, and Priority 4 Lead, Col Shawn Campbell. MG Clarkson kicked off the show stating the need for adaption in the face of a changing workforce. Clarkson noted changes would not occur overnight, but rather as a campaign over time.


Jorgenson discussed the necessity of human capital assets to accomplish priorities one through three. Campbell noted on average, workers in the Command are 40 years of age or older and thirty percent of the workforce will soon become retirement eligible.  There is a need to shift the current USTRANSCOM talent model to include the acquisition of the necessary talent, enhancement of development opportunities through training, and innovative human capital management. Campbell stated, “What works now isn’t always going to work.”


Jorgenson spoke about the successful telework and internship programs offered at USTRANSCOM and invited people who use these benefits to speak about their experiences.


Teleworking


Marie Pendergast provided the supervisor perspective on telework. Telework has proven attractive to employees and increases the talent pool when it comes to recruiting. In a time of constrained resources, teleworking offers more flexibility and less absenteeism from the workforce. Will Fugate explained the flexibility teleworking affords him, allowing Fugate to easily work across different time zones while giving him more time with his family. Campbell explained that many people find telework frightening. In reality, having the right people with the right training increases productivity when teleworking.


Intern Program


Organizations can be vast, complex, and dynamic. The Intern Program allows people to learn in different settings across the organization. Program participants learn to adapt quickly and become flexible. Fugate and Mickey Muskopf participated in the intern program, where they rotated through different programs, learned more than one contract while experiencing contract life cycles, and worked with different people. Through rotations, both Fugate and Muskopf were able to view USTRANSCOM through a wider lens. Set rotations allowed for exposure to different programs and people, increasing overall knowledge sharing and mission understanding. The Intern Program helps employees find the perfect fit at USTRANSCOM, increases productivity, and overall makes for happier employees. There are currently 12 intern opportunities across the command. Campbell would like to build this up to 19 spots, expanding to 30 and eventually 60 developmental rotational opportunities.


Job Sharing


When someone can no longer work full time, positions can be job shared. Charles Burton shared the supervisor perspective from his experience how two people sharing one position can be beneficial to both the worker and the organization. The worker gains increased flexibility and availability while still being able to work and the supervisor gains continuity in knowledge, skill level, and productivity. Job sharing also tends to increase commitment and job moral. Job sharing is popular with retirees, employees with young children, and employees who have to care for a family member.


Where are we now?


Technology needs to be finalized before the launch of full scale telework. Research needs to be conducted to determine how many people take advantage of telework, the software requirements in each directorate, and access to software. In the next few weeks, a telework policy will be released for USTRANSCOM.


There is a need across the Command to begin understanding the Millennial way of thinking to recruit them to work for the command. Flexibility and predictability are tools that can be used to attract Millennials to the workforce and be beneficial to all. Millennials feel empowered to make a difference in team settings. Weeklong off-sites help employees get to the heart of the issue quicker and problem solve. Campbell discussed the importance of tapping into Generation Z, the demographic following Millennials, now. We can expect to see four generations working together in the workplace in the near future.


Jorgenson noted the need to take advantage of existing tools. Acquisition took advantage of all J1 tools. Talent acquisition and retention are key for the future of our workforce. An Individual Development Program would help employees identify areas they would like to grow, identifying training opportunities to increase skillsets. Individuals add value to the organization. It is important to point this out, explain why the things individuals do matter, and celebrate those individuals. Clarkson noted employees need to be trusted. This trust will be demonstrated through the future use of technology in the workplace. There is a plan to bring mobile technology into USTRANSCOM, allowing directorate cross-collaboration through the use of tablets.


Jorgenson closed the TRANSCOM show stating, “We need to think about what the workforce needs five to ten years in the future NOW.” Jorgenson further encouraged the audience to be the voice of change – “Gen. McDew has his ears wide open.”

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