NSPS conversion boasts major success rate

ROBINS AIR FORCE BASE, Ga. -- More than 3,000 employees returned to work Monday Jan. 22 under the National Security Personnel System, giving the civilian personnel flight something to brag about.
The Civilian Personnel Flight had a 99.78 success rate to be proud of.

"It was a total DPC (civilian personnel flight) team effort," said Jean Glover, chief of data management section of the DPC. "It was a lot of hard work and now we have to change gears and work to sustain the two systems."

However, the civilian personnel flight team wasn't just comprised of members of their own flight, it was also comprised of members of other base organizations known as SWAT teams, who helped make sure the conversion went as smoothly as possible in their own organizations.

Steve Bowen is one of the Team Robins members who serves as both a point of contact and a NSPS expanded training cadre member.
Mr. Bowen, program and resources flight chief for the 402nd Software Maintenance Group, said one of the most important steps he took to ensure his organization was ready for the conversion was learning from others who had already experienced the conversion.

Mr. Bowen and other members of his organization visited Tinker Air Force Base, where he had the opportunity to both learn form their experiences and use Tinkers objectives and guidelines as a sample or template for their own.

"They (Tinker) had a lot of lessons learned to share with us, which helped us immensely," Mr. Bowen said. "They got us started in the right direction and we made changes to fit the type of work we do."

Another way the 402nd SMXG helped the 623 nonbargaining employees who converted was by organizing an Integrated Product Team, which consisted of himself as chairmen and a member of each of the five squadrons that make up the group. The group embarked on writing standard job objectives that would cover the more than 600 personnel in their group converting. The group created 10 standard job objectives that covered 90 percent of the personnel converting.

The group also posts frequently asked NSPS questions on their Web site to help their personnel, Mr. Bowen said.

Another effort by the group is starting an NSPS job writing objectives workshop, where employees can come together each Wednesday to share ideas and concerns.

"We are all struggling with this, so we wanted to create an opportunity to get together and share our experiences," Mr. Bowen said.

Donna Birt, a trained Department of Defense personnelist, said the most important thing she learned as she trained others on NSPS was the ability for employees and supervisors to be able to locate information needed to function on the new system on their on.

"I think it was important to make them aware to be able to go out there themselves and find what they need," Ms. Birt said human resources specialist, policies and procedures in the civilian personnel flight.

She said the training also was a big factor in having a successful conversion adding that necessity for training and communication were two of the main things stressed at the DOD training she attended in Ohio.

She said the opportunity for all employees to become as familiar with the system before the conversion was important.

"Making and taking the time that is needed (is important) because there is a lot to it," Ms. Birt said.

One of the things she said was valuable to her as an instructor was the weekly Air-Force wide conference call that allowed people to share their trials and successes as they prepared for the transition. She said the information she learned through the calls was invaluable to her as she communicated with those she trained in the classroom and through follow-up e-mails.

Janet Holovach, who also served as a POC and cadre member, echoed the sentiment that the training is what made the conversion such a success.

Ms. Holovach, resource advisor for the Information Technology Directorate, said her basic responsibility was to make sure everyone was trained and ready for the transition.

"I was just here to make sure they knew what they were getting into," Ms. Holovach said. "Communication, just getting the information out to the employees and making sure employees were abreast of the changes, whether through e-mail, phone calls or whatever means needed."

She said the directorate also worked to create its own objectives and are working as a team to establish their own performance plans.

"The thing I think we (the IT Directorate) did best was the training. We had a great training manager who arranged all the training," Ms. Holovach.

In the end all involved agreed, the successful conversion required everyone involved giving it their all whether they worked in personnel or were a POC or cadre member.

"Everyone being aware what needed to be done and taking it (the conversion) seriously," Ms. Brit said.