NAVAIR wins Human Resources Community Award for Excellence

Members of NAVAIR’s Total Force Strategy and Management Department gather after an awards presentation in Patuxent River, Md., Aug. 31, for winning the 2016 Department of the Navy Civilian Human Resources Community Award for Excellence.

NAVAIR’s Total Force Strategy and Management Department recently won the 2016 Department of the Navy Civilian Human Resources (HR) Community Award for Excellence for making data analysis faster, more efficient and interactive.

Specifically, the team created a series of workforce graphs and tools, known as data marts and dashboards, to help analyze workforce trends and data quickly and more securely.

“Within the Department of Defense and Navy landscape of processes and information technology tools, it can be difficult to navigate and find efficiencies,” said Kevin Smith, head of the Business Intelligence and Data Analytics Division. “This award demonstrates our steadfast pursuit to find opportunities for digitization and to enable actionable business intelligence and transformation through data analysis. For Total Force, this means using data to drive human capital strategies, which provide the right people with the right skills at the right time.”

The dashboards pull from various data sources to include information on recruitment, retention, diversity, acquisition, civilian pay programs and training. Because they are housed on an online Microsoft SharePoint portal, the dashboards provide a secure, consolidated repository for leaders, HR specialists and supervisors to access and evaluate data, as well as cut down on analysis time, eliminate paper and ensure consistency.

Previous methods to analyze data were too slow, outdated, limited and often required extensive manipulation and normalization, Smith said.

As the demand for hiring data increased, so, too, did the demand for automated data reporting.

What started as a few simple graphs and data points evolved into the first dashboard representing NAVAIR’s hiring status, which shows the progress of hiring actions to the hiring plan, the success of the command’s recruitment strategies and the workload required to meet the hiring demand. Based on this data, the command can target its recruitment and hiring strategies to ensure jobs are filled with qualified candidates as rapidly as possible, Smith said.

The team created other, similar interactive dashboards in the areas of acquisition workforce, diversity, separations, retirement, compensation and training. This lets NAVAIR leaders and HR staff members monitor and devise strategies to counter workforce aging and intellectual capital loss and build a diverse, right-sized, right-talented workforce for the future.

“The work is significant in that it allows us to have information about the workforce at our fingertips so that we can easily strategize with our customers regarding the type of skills required, the number of people and to project potential attrition,” said Naval Air Warfare Center Aircraft Division HR Director Robin Salanon. “This helps us to build strategies around recruitment, retention and training to ensure that we are adequately staffed to produce products for the fleet.”

Smith attributed the team’s success to its willingness to adapt and work collaboratively, as well as listen to its customers’ wants and needs.

“Data analysis is dependent upon first understanding what question we are trying to answer,” he explained. “By listening to our customers and working collaboratively for feedback, we can optimize data sources, analysis and visualization that drive business decisions. It’s easy to be overwhelmed by the vast quantities of data, so our ability to help bridge that gap with leadership and human capital managers is a key enabler.”

The team received the award at a Department of the Navy HR leadership meeting in July 2017. Previously, the team won second place in the 17th annual NAVAIR Commander’s Awards business innovation category. This is the department’s fourth consecutive year being recognized with the DoN Civilian HR Community Award for Excellence.

“Among the HR community, people are coming here to find out how we did it,” said NAVAIR Assistant Commander for Corporate Operations and Total Force Steve Cricchi at an informal awards presentation Aug. 31 in Patuxent River. “It’s not easy to stay at the top of your game when you’re already there. Congratulations!”

For the team, it’s all about helping their customers, which includes a variety of program managers, HR specialists and HR directors.

“Within Total Force, we take pride in the work we do to support the mission and are always working to provide better tools and processes to support our customers,” Smith said. “To be recognized for these efforts helps reinforce that our contributions truly have a positive impact.”