Fort Jackson Commanding General, Brig. Gen. Milford H. ‘Beags’ Beagle Jr., and members of the installation’s Equal Opportunity program speak of the importance for understanding an organization’s climate and culture during a virtual town hall Aug. 10.
By Robert Timmons Fort Jackson Public Affairs
Fort Jackson held a virtual town hall Aug. 10 not to discuss COVID-related issues, but rather focus on another important area of the installation – equal opportunity and the post’s climate and culture.
Climate is the mood of an organization, while culture is the sum of the habits and behaviors of that organization, said Brig. Gen. Milford H. “Beags” Beagle Jr., Fort Jackson commander, as he opened the event.
Every year Fort Jackson holds a survey to determine where it is in relation to its climate and culture.
“Embedded in all of that,” Beagle said, “is equal opportunity and how we treat others with dignity and respect.”
There is a command climate survey coming out in September and Beagle wants everyone to participate.
“If you are part of our workforce at Fort Jackson, whether civilian or military, we need your support and we need your feedback,” he said. “We need to hear your voice. Every voice counts when we are talking about something as important as our climate and culture.”
The installation is not immune to the events going across the country, “because we are cut form the cloth of our society; our great nation,” Beagle said. “The Army is not perfect but we strive very hard to ensure don’t have issues with racism, inclusion or diversity.”
EO helps keep the Army and Fort Jackson straight and maintain trust in the organization.
Master Sgt. Marritsa Collins, Fort Jackson’s Equal Opportunity Advisor, said the foundation of the Army’s EO program is based on treating everyone with dignity and respect.
“When you treat them with dignity and respect you can make a fair observation when rating or promoting an individual,” she said. When you create a culture of inclusion that values everyone, you can “create a strong and more effective work environment.”
The command climate survey is a key in ensuring the work environment is improved and trust within an organization is maintained.
It is part of an approach that is a “constant loop of feedback where we can improve, where we can assess and look at our climate, our culture and make the right adjustments to where we improve and maintain a healthy climate and culture,” Beagle said.
Even though results of command climate surveys done since March 2018 have shown increase in respondent rates, Beagle cautioned not to let the minority speak for the majority. The May 2019 survey had a respondent rate of 26% which is the highest in four years.
Survey results have indicated improvements in six areas of organization effectiveness to one area, organizational processes, “where we still have a bit of concern.” The May 2019 survey showed an improvement in knowledge of Sexual Harassment/Assault Response Prevention.
To get better Fort Jackson uses Tiger Teams that listen and leverage insights across the installation to gain a clearer picture of the challenges and opportunities to improve the post’s climate and culture.
The yearly command climate survey will run from Sept. 14 to Oct. 16.