Personnel Directorate takes Human Capital Management for Defense Award

Robins Air Force Base, Ga. -- The Warner Robins Air Logistics Center Personnel Directorate has won the Human Capital Management for Defense Award in the Most Innovative Recruitment and Retention Program category. This announcement for the inaugural awards program was made Feb. 14 at the HCMD conference in Arlington, Va. Michael O'Hara, Center director of personnel, accepted the award. The awards for government agencies were presented by Worldwide Business Research, a non Department of Defense organization.

While winning awards for continuous process improvements within the maintenance arena is nothing new for WR-ALC, the HCMD award is the Center's first for an administrative function.

"Without a doubt, the selection of WR-ALC enterprise hiring forecast for this level of recognition is a reflection of a true Team Robins effort by the wings, Center functional offices and the DP staff," said Robert Williams, DP deputy director. "As a result, we are filling jobs at a pace and with the highest-quality people, that has the Center leading the way for the Air Force.

"At the heart of that effort is a laser focus on customer need and to do everything possible to align all facets of the job-fill process towards that goal. Having said that, continuous process improvement is just that - we will never reach a point in time where we can say, 'good enough,'" Mr. Williams said.

Brig. Gen. Taco Gilbert, director of Air Force Smart Operations for the 21st Century, and Dr. Ron Ritter, special assistant and deputy for AFSO21, were briefed on these accomplishments during a visit to WR-ALC on Feb. 13. The general said he was pleased when Mr. Williams said DP would strive to continue to improve.

"I like to hear that," General Gilbert said. "This shows you continue to work toward even more improvement."

DP has conducted a series of Lean events to improve the process of filling open vacancies with "ready-to-work" employees. Key areas that have been focused on include reducing the time a job is vacant, projecting personnel fill actions, standardizing job descriptions and screening factors, streamlining the hiring process with hiring forecast vector groups, improving the newcomer orientation and creating pools of ready applicants.

Dr. Ritter described the pools of applicants as a "people supermarket." The pool allows for personnel to be ready to work once a vacancy is created.

Mr. O'Hara has long been an advocate of continuous process improvement.

"For a number of years, my focus has been to transform the human resource business at Robins by embedding and tailoring personnel policies and practices more closely to our line mission," Mr. O'Hara said. "With that customer focus, we are constantly refining and seeking ways to improve an HR system and structure which marries both the strategic and tactical services into a robust, enabling staff agency."

Mr. O'Hara said a primary measurement is the time required to fill jobs. Over the last year, job fill times have dropped from a historic average of 100-plus days down to the 78-80 day range. As a result, more than 306,000 additional man hours were in the hands of the Center's line managers earlier than would have otherwise been the case.

"It is tangible results of that nature that posture the wings and staff offices to be best prepared to provide capability to the warfighter," he said. "However, as we look to the future, I am confident that we can further improve as we partner with our customers to provide timelier job fills and with those highly skilled workers needed to support the mission of the Center."