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NEWS | Aug. 18, 2021

NNSY Collaborator Program Offers Insight and Experience for Shipyard Employees

By Kristi Britt, Public Affairs Specialist Norfolk Naval Shipyard

The Collaborator Program is an effort implemented by Norfolk Naval Shipyard’s (NNSY) Culture Change Team (CCT). This four-week long, 20-hour program matches up pairs of employees from the WS-10 to GS-15 leadership level. The employees shadow one another so they can provide feedback on and evaluate their day-to-day operations through peer-to-peer engagement and interactions. Participants are able to glimpse into the world of other shops and codes within the shipyard, and see how other employees function within their respective areas.


Two recent participants of the program are Nuclear Quality Division (Code 2350) Division Head Tina Hazard and Submarine Safety (SUBSAFE) Program Director John Finefield, who saw the experience as a great learning opportunity. “I’ve been at the shipyard for 30 years and am always looking for ways to improve culture and morale in the workplace, so I was very excited to learn I would be joining the program,” said Hazard. “Being able to pair with other leaders throughout the shipyard and getting that firsthand experience of what they do and being able to grow as individuals through this shared experience is something that I feel all shipyard employees should get a chance to do throughout their careers. The experience helps you as an individual and encourages you and your partner to learn from one-another and grow as a team.”


Hazard and Finefield were paired together, gaining an in-depth look into worlds they rarely get to see in action. The two laid out their calendars with each other, determining how they would spend their 20 hours participating in meetings and walkthroughs. “The endeavor was overall very positive for me,” said Finefield. “We were able to identify many similarities in our programs and enjoyed our time together.”


“We were able to see firsthand how we manage our respective teams, providing our own insight on ways we could each improve and help our teams succeed,” said Hazard. “We also learned that our areas of responsibilities are more similar than we initially thought, even though we come from different departments in the shipyard. We all have our part to play in serving our shipyard.”


Hazard added, “It really provided us a greater appreciation for the shipyard team as a whole. I hope the Collaborator Program continues to build new working relationships with its participants and provides managers that peer-to-peer learning on how to create a better workplace. I think it’s an opportunity that all should take advantage of to better yourselves as leaders.”


All feedback received from participants of the Collaborator Program will be used to identify teams displaying C.O.R.E values, as well as systemic issues throughout the shipyard. These interactions will be communicated with Command University and The Diversity Equity & Inclusion Office to direct developmental efforts in a manner that intentionally shapes the workforce.