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New Climate Survey Improves Awareness for Commanders

From a Defense Equal Opportunity Management Institute News Release

PATRICK AIR FORCE BASE, Fla., Dec. 13, 2013 – More than 3.2 million Defense Department and Coast Guard military and civilian personnel have the opportunity to affect their organization’s readiness using the newest release of the Defense Equal Opportunity Management Institute’s Organizational Climate Survey, DEOCS 4.0, DEOMI officials said.

DEOMI is responsible for the primary training of all DOD military and civilian personnel assigned to military equal opportunity billets and civilian equal employment opportunity positions. The institute provides specialized analysis and reports to the respective service headquarters equal opportunity offices as part of its DOD-wide support role.

The climate survey anonymously assesses perceptions of organizational effectiveness, equal opportunity, equal employment opportunity, fair treatment, and sexual assault prevention and response. Several new factors have been added, officials said, including favoritism, diversity management, organizational processes, intention to stay, help-seeking behaviors, exhaustion or burnout, demeaning behaviors, and hazing.

“These factors help leaders receive a well-rounded picture of their organization by identifying perceived attitudes and behaviors that could affect morale and organizational performance,” DEOMI officials said in a statement announcing the new version of the survey.

Scheduled to be released in January, DEOCS 4.0 is a commander’s management tool that allows military and civilian leaders to proactively assess critical organizational climate dimensions that can have positive or negative impacts on an organization’s effectiveness, officials said. The DEOCS 4.0 enhancements resulted from DEOMI working closely with each service to identify their emerging requirements, they added.

The DEOCS represents the first component of an overall organizational climate assessment, officials said, which also should include focus groups, interviews with unit members, and observations.

The DEOCS also includes a section devoted to characterizing an organization’s Sexual Assault Prevention and Response environment. The SAPR section illuminates members’ views on:

-- Their feelings of safety from sexual assault;

-- Chain of command support;

-- Awareness of SAPR resources;

-- Perception of whether or not the chain of command would take appropriate actions to address an unrestricted report of sexual assault; and

-- The social and professional environment envisioned following a sexual assault report.

The new SAPR questions meet legislative and secretary of defense requirements to assess the command for purposes of preventing and responding to sexual assaults, DEOMI officials said, adding that this critical information will inform commanders, the services and decision-makers on the current status of the sexual assault prevention and response climate within commands and across the Defense Department.

Recent Defense Department directives also ensure that every command conducts climate assessments more frequently, officials noted. Military commanders now are required to conduct a climate assessment within 120 days after assuming command, and at least annually thereafter. This requirement ensures that leaders are apprised of members’ perceptions of how leaders respond to incidents of sexual harassment and sexual assault in their units, they explained.

To further bolster leadership accountability for climates of dignity and respect, the next senior commander in the chain of command will receive climate survey results. This mechanism provides higher-echelon commanders with direct knowledge of their subordinate commands’ DEOCS climate assessment results.

The DEOCS report has expanded to include an Executive Review section that provides an overview, highlighting the report’s three highest and three lowest factor averages. The results of each DEOCS are compared to servicewide norms. Additionally, officials said, the report includes a summary of all responses to each item listed by factor, providing commanders with a more detailed account of response patterns.

The climate survey’s newly developed recommendations area now includes linkage to an “assessment to solutions” tool found on DEOMI’s website, DEOMI officials noted, calling it a major improvement that uses survey results to help commanders or survey administrators in the transition into the next stages of a comprehensive climate assessment. It offers supporting resources that can improve organizational effectiveness and the overall human relations climate, they added.

“DEOMI continues to develop tools for commanders to help them address all aspects of their total climate assessment,” said Rebecca Marcum, director of DEOMI’s technology development and clearinghouse management branch here.


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Related Sites:
Defense Equal Opportunity Management Institute
Special Report: Sexual Assault – Awareness and Prevention

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