Thursday, March 27, 2014

Opportunity to outrun the storm of the Navy's looming retention problem

Commander Guy Snodgrass has some advice for the CNO and CNP about a looming Navy retention problem.  You can read his full post on the USNI blog HERE.

There is much to be said about communicating "THE WHY".  You can  follow what Simon Sinek has to say about "WHY" HERE.

1. Enable Commanding Officers to Better Communicate with Sailors (Align Navy Messaging) 

In today’s 24/7 media environment – where sailors are bombarded with information – it’s more important than ever for our “Stay Navy” message to be aligned across all levels, or we risk eroding trust and confidence because of conflicting information. This requires senior leadership to determine desired strategic end states, construction of appropriate messages, and the sharing of that message across all levels. 

There are several ways we can improve our “Stay Navy” message to better inform the Fleet and aid retention: 

First, expand on existing products. The Navy is a geographically dispersed organization, which makes the timely sharing of information critically important. Senior leadership receives near weekly Chief of Naval Information talking points, helping ensure that admirals and senior executive service members are “on message” regarding forecasted areas of interest. Why not tailor a version for officers that are in command? Pushing a tailored version of the Chief of Naval Information’s current talking points to unit leadership will arm deckplate leaders with the “whys” behind current decision-making, providing access to relevant and timely background information. The commanding officer, or officer in charge, can subsequently tailor this information to share the importance of their mission with the Sailors they lead – necessary when conveying that our Sailors serve with a purpose. This product should include quarterly updates regarding programs that directly impact sailors, including information on changes to Career Navigator and 21st Century Sailor.


Anonymous said...

I'll have a go at that approach.

"Sir, why should I stay in the navy?"

"I don't have an answer off the top of my head but let me just rummage around here in my desk and I'll get out CHINFO's talking points condensed for slow readers such as myself. Ah, I see here that we are talking about terminating TA again for no particular reason and there's nothing you can do about it anyway so let's skip on to your question and tempt you to stay navy by mentioning our commissary privileges which, as an unmarried sailor you don't actually care about. So we'll gloss over that bit of goodness going away in the very near future and move on to your question about staying in at all since all you seem to garner at eval time is Ps instead of EP or MP. That's a toughy Petty Officer Snuffy. I need a man of your exact caliber to wash my staff car which is what you're well suited for and I can see you washing an admiral's staff car someday if you keep up the good work."

James n' Carra Hammersla said...

There are some really great points in CDR Snodgrass’ blog.

One thing I have found myself from time to time doing is recommending to a Sailor to separate; this was based on where what is/should be expected from military life was not compatable with the individual’s personal goals or wants. This was sometimes really hard, since the person I was having the conversation was a good – really good Sailor (officers too) who wanted to pursue a path that did not align with staying Navy. One time in particular I was asked why I wasn’t trying to keep one these exception people in the Navy and my simple/to the point response was “it is not in their best interests.” I did miss getting my “100% retention” bullet on my fitrep but I also think it is important that we understand that our people and what they want is also important and I feel I have a responsibility to help people grow in and out of uniform. I have seen too many times when a Sailor does decide to separate, they become almost ostracized, with no effort put into developing them since they have decided to pursue a different PIM, I find that a shame. In the vast majority of cases, the military returns to society a better individual that it received and as long as that person serves honorably we should not consider effort expended on those who leave as wasted effort.