NEWS | July 15, 2021

Making a Change at Norfolk Naval Shipyard: Seeing the Progress Firsthand of the Culture Change Team

By Story by Kristi Britt, Public Affairs Specialist Norfolk Naval Shipyard

Norfolk Naval Shipyard’s (NNSY) Culture Change Team (CCT) has been hard at work since its inception in fall 2018. The CCT has built its team and initiatives to help change the behaviors of the workforce, eliminate any discrimination, and to encourage the values of Care, Ownership, Respect, and Excellence (C.O.R.E.) through training, peer-to-peer accountability, and focus group feedback. Through integration across the shipyard, as well as implementation of new development programs, the CCT is seeing progress in its goals.

“The CCT aims to create a more inclusive workforce that inspires, equips, and empowers the workforce to achieve excellence while creating an atmosphere where employees thrive, learn, and develop continuously,” said CCT Lead Antonne Smalls. “In order to achieve our goals, we as a team of diverse backgrounds, perspectives, viewpoints, and skills have come together to build this effort. We have developed focus areas to tackle – including education, engagement and small group discussions, and accountability – so that we could influence change and develop a more organic, culturally diverse workplace. And within these focus areas, we’ve looked at ways we can influence that change – including some of our biggest efforts with our Long Range Plan, the launch of the Empowerment Series, and the Collaborator Program.”

Since the beginning, the CCT has been measuring the progress in its three main focus areas and the efforts of the team across the shipyard. These measurements provide a clear view of how the team is doing as well as what’s in store for them in the future.

Long Range Plan

The Long Range Plan (LRP) is a tool to guide and measure the progress of the CCT and America’s Shipyard in the efforts of changing the organization’s culture. It is designed to lead the shipyard from its present state to an environment where people feel included and valued to do their best. The LRP is a living document that will continue to grow and change with the shipyard’s development and is expected to be launch in July 2021 with leadership support. The area of focus for the LRP will be centered on expedient accountability, communications, resetting expectations, inclusive decision making, active leadership, and people development. These areas will continually be under observation to aid in our shift effort to build our host culture. To read more on this endeavor, check out the May 2021 Service to the Fleet: https://issuu.com/nnsy/docs/2021_may_sttf.

Empowerment Series

Formerly known as Force Multiplier Training, the Empowerment Series is a series of discussions that focus on shipyard trends to help improve the culture. The first of the series has launched – entitled “The Team.” It is a three-hour interactive discussion that allows employees to share their personal experiences and ideas and mold their discussions on what being part of America’s Shipyard means. Since its launch earlier this year, 137 employees have attended the discussion and many have been empowered, by way of a capstone project, to help identify systemic issues within their organization and implement their solutions to correct those issues. The CCT is hosting discussions each month for those interested in attending. To read more on this endeavor, check out the June 2021 Service to the Fleet: https://issuu.com/nnsy/docs/service_to_the_fleet_-_june_2021. 

Collaborator Program

The Collaborator Program pairs WS-9 through GS-15 employees in a four-week, 20-hour collaboration to gauge culture throughout the codes and provide feedback and evaluation through peer-to-peer engagement and interactions. Since its initial launch, 129 employees have participated in the program and have provided feedback to continue to develop the program for future iterations. In addition, collaborators have built connections through their partners, providing advice to one another on ways to improve what they do at America’s Shipyard. The next iteration is planned to launch in July 2021. To read more on this endeavor, check out the April 2021 Service to the Fleet: https://issuu.com/nnsy/docs/april_2021_sttf_update.

Other Successes

The CCT is also fully integrated in each of the shipyard’s Strategic Framework pillar teams – Infrastructure, Dependable Mission Delivery, People Development, and Process Improvement and Innovation. “When NNSY’s Strategic Framework was established, culture became known as the foundation upon which our pillars stand,” said CCT Co-Lead Carlynn Lucas. “Each pillar plays an important part in our efforts in creating a more inclusive workplace that is empowered to excel in what we do to repair, maintain, and inactivate our Navy’s warships and training platforms. The CCT observes, gives input and advises each pillar utilizing the Shingo Communications model of connecting guiding principles, systems and tools to ultimately achieve the desired results.”

In addition, the CCT has also joined the Diversity, Equity and Inclusion teams and Employee Resource Groups to bring insight on what culture is and why it plays an integral part in America’s Shipyard’s continued success.