Yokosuka SRF-JRMC Opens Focus Group Discussions to Improve and Maintain Healthy Work Environment

By Ryo Isobe, FLEACT Yokosuka Public Affairs

20160401-N-JT445-005 YOKOSUKA - Senior Chief Electronics Technician Dominique Taylor clarifies and elaborates on the objectives and importance of the discussion in front of focus group attendees, March 3, 2016.  Ship Repair Facility and Japan Regional Maintenance Center (SRF-JRMC) conducted the series of sessions to improve and sustain a better and healthy command climate from all levels in the organization.  (U.S. Navy photo by Ryo Isobe, FLEACT Yokosuka Public Affairs/Released)

20160401-N-JT445-005 YOKOSUKA – Senior Chief Electronics Technician Dominique Taylor clarifies and elaborates on the objectives and importance of the discussion in front of focus group attendees, March 3, 2016. Ship Repair Facility and Japan Regional Maintenance Center (SRF-JRMC) conducted the series of sessions to improve and sustain a better and healthy command climate from all levels in the organization. (U.S. Navy photo by Ryo Isobe, FLEACT Yokosuka Public Affairs/Released)

YOKOSUKA, Japan – Yokosuka Ship Repair Facility and Japan Regional Maintenance Center (SRF-JRMC) recently conducted focus group forums to dive deeper into the results of their Command Climate survey conducted last September.

SRF-JRMC employees utilized these focus groups to find solutions that will improve and strengthen the SRF team.

From Feb. 29 to March 4 , the off-site Regional Workforce Development Building hosted about 20-25 participants each session, generating opinions and suggestions in support of the command’s 2016 Strategic Plan’s Strategic Area 1: Workforce/Leadership Development.

The appointees and volunteers were selected from all organizational levels to join the discussion.  About 20 people per group assembled into nine different time periods categorized according to job titles, such as Foremen, Shop Heads, supervisors, non-supervisors, apprentices and Engineering and Planning Development Program (EPDP) members, etc.

Discussion topics included leadership, performance evaluations, manning, workload, recruitment, training, working environment, communication and processes.

“It’s good to improve SRF as an organization,” said Senior Chief Electronics Technician (ETCS) Dominique Taylor.  “Although this occasion is not for every single employee, nor can this change everything, we are continuously making efforts to make a strong impact on Team SRF.  Improvement doesn’t stop here.”

To encourage frank and open discussions, the command assured that all participants’ opinions were respected and their privacy protected due to the sensitive nature of some topics.

“I initially thought it would be difficult for attendees to muster courage, to come forward and talk about very serious things,” said Environmental Engineer and Command Support Division Interpreter-Translator Kenichi Kashima, who acted as an interpreter during the group discussion between Japanese and U.S. personnel.

20160401-N-JT445-006 YOKOSUKA – Ship Repair Facility and Japan Regional Maintenance Center (SRF-JRMC) Deputy Commander and Command Assessment Team Leader Capt. Edward Katz emphasized to the attendees that their free exchange of ideas and honesty are essential to strengthen the command as a team, March 3, 2016.  (U.S. Navy photo by Ryo Isobe, FLEACT Yokosuka Public Affairs/Released)

20160401-N-JT445-006 YOKOSUKA – Ship Repair Facility and Japan Regional Maintenance Center (SRF-JRMC) Deputy Commander and Command Assessment Team Leader Capt. Edward Katz emphasized to the attendees that their free exchange of ideas and honesty are essential to strengthen the command as a team, March 3, 2016. (U.S. Navy photo by Ryo Isobe, FLEACT Yokosuka Public Affairs/Released)

“This event, however, turned out otherwise.  Even if it was a sensitive issue, the attendees spoke freely.  Since our day-to-day job necessitates us to stick to limited areas of our own departments, shops and codes, an opportunity like this brings us to see and share issues from a broader perspective.”

“The Command Climate Assessment Team (CAT) Overall Leader and SRF-JRMC Deputy Commander, Capt. Edward Katz provided the CAT Team expected outcomes from this focus group,” said Command Assessment Team member and Command Support Division Head, Alicia Akashi.  “As it turns out, this year’s focus group was very productive, involving employees at various levels in identifying solutions and improvement areas on common topics that were identified during the Command Climate survey.  Valuable feedback received from employees was evaluated by the CAT and provided the overall assessment to the Strategic Area Workforce and Leadership Development Team.  This process is called strategic alignment which links our people with the command’s strategic initiatives.  [SRF-JRMC Commanding Officer Capt. Garrett Farman] is a firm believer that strategic alignment will enable higher performance by optimizing the contributions of our people and minimizing waste and misdirection of effort and resources to unintended or unspecified purposes.  If we are not pulling together and working together, it represents wasted effort.  But, if we move ourselves in concert towards a common vision, we can achieve our goals without difficulty and will truly elevate SRF-JRMC to a higher level of excellence!  This focus group is the vehicle to get us there!”

Command leaders insist that SRF-JRMC employees are the command’s most valuable resource and continuously establish a positive command climate that leads to mission accomplishment, explains Akashi.  She adds that the command is committed to fostering a culture of respect and maintaining its employees’ engagement in these types of functions in order to navigate to success.  Leaders also take proactive steps to improve the command’s working environment to help make it a safe and comfortable place to work.

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