NORFOLK NAVAL SHIPYARD, Portsmouth, Va. —
Norfolk Naval Shipyard’s (NNSY) Command Philosophy states, “People are at the heart of what we do to accomplish the mission of NNSY.” Staying true to this philosophy, the shipyard has launched an effort to better develop its workforce and has made “People Development” one of its long-term focus areas as evidenced by this year’s shipyard Campaign Plan. The focus area strives to help each employee reach his or her full potential and to create a capable and determined workforce that successfully executes the shipyard mission.
The effort is being spearheaded by NNSY Production Training Division (Code 900T) Deputy Superintendent Myron Evans and Engineering Planning Department (Code 200) Branch Head Jim Duke. The leaders of NNSY’s People Development team believe the resources being poured into this focus area are an investment in the future of every NNSY employee and the shipyard overall. “Management recognizes the development of our workforce is the most important part in being able to accomplish our mission,” said Duke.
The team is hoping to educate and inform shipyard employees of the opportunities for growth and development available to them at every stage of their working lives. Evans said, “We want employees to take ownership in their development and to feel empowered to grow and develop in their careers.” The effort takes a holistic approach to self-improvement and development focusing on an individual’s three sets: the skill set (the ability to do the work), the heart set (the desire to do the work), and the mindset (being ready to do the work).
NNSY employees should be supported by their supervisor to not only focus on developing skills they need to succeed in their current role, but to also devote time and energy to fostering traits and knowledge that will be essential for future positions they hope to fill. Evans said the best place for employees to start is by looking at competencies. “Competencies explain what knowledge, skills, abilities, and behaviors are needed in any career path. An employee can then work on specific competencies that align to their future career goals.”
Another tool the People Development team wants to increase knowledge of is Individual Development Plans (IDPs), which, according to Evans, serve as a roadmap for “mapping out where you want to go and what steps it will take for you to get there; whether it’s career enrichment in your current career or a future career interest.”
The goal of the NNSY People Development team is to increase employees’ knowledge of tools, such as IDPs, available to them along with other methods and opportunities to foster their career development and growth. The team has a five-year plan to fully mature this focus area that began in 2020. “We have made great strides with developing workforce development guidance for competency management, career management, succession planning, and workforce training and development,” said Evans.
The ultimate goal is to have a sustainable workforce equipped with the tools needed to reach career excellence and fulfill the mission of NNSY. The team is inspired by this goal and hopes to “radically change the way we develop people through purposeful growth leveraging development techniques and tools,” said Duke. “We need to stay the course and take advantage of this focus to create a sustainable model for this generation and next.”
“There has never been a better time to take ownership of your development as an NNSY employee,” said Evans. “It starts with becoming the best version of yourself where you are today. Whether you are a mechanic, engineer, curriculum designer, etc. there are opportunities to develop right within your department. From mentoring and coaching, to leading teams and taking on stretch assignments, there are a variety of possibilities to support each employee in developing their full potential.” The question is – will you choose to invest in your future?