Unofficial Retention Survey

Unofficial Retention Survey

Postby Schlag » Sun May 04, 2014 7:28 am

Saw this getting kicked around in some other channels. A group of Naval Officers have put together a Retention Survey for all ranks that is being offered outside of official channels but the results will be provided to senior leadership. Initial belief is that this will provide "more honest" answers than an official survey.

Anyways, I took it because I'm curious what the results are going to be so I took it. It seems that there is a RL specific set of questions when you put down your RL affiliation. I would have liked it if the questions were developed a little better, but think it's a good first stab since most of the Officers who put this together were URL.

If you're interested, take a look at their site at:

http://www.dodretention.org/

It sounds like you'll be able to view the results if you take the survey. Survey is open to all ranks as long as they are active-duty in uniform, so feel free to pass to your people.
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Re: Unofficial Retention Survey

Postby Schlag » Sun Jun 15, 2014 10:41 pm

Update: A snapshot of the results have been posted here.

http://www.dodretention.org/results

This might lead to an interesting discussion...
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Re: Unofficial Retention Survey

Postby yoshi » Mon Jun 16, 2014 2:17 am

glad to see they stuck to their announced timeline. It will be interesting, and potentially more insightful, when the complete results come out. Nice to see a majority of folks wanting to stay to 20 years, as most respondents are careerists or considering it. And, this is in spite of the large majority perceiving performance rankings to be baloney. However, there does seem to be a lack of trust in senior leadership ability, willingness, or desire to resolve issues ("I believe senior leaders will take action based on the results of this survey"). Interesting to note pretty much half don't want the boss's job (is leaving at MSR or staying until retirement the biggest factor?)

Seems like the reasons for continued service are primarily intrinsic and compelling enough to overcome what this survey contends is a disconnected senior level leadership and a ranking system in which merit doesn't figure.
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Re: Unofficial Retention Survey

Postby Schlag » Mon Jun 16, 2014 10:47 am

yoshi wrote:Nice to see a majority of folks wanting to stay to 20 years...


But I wonder if 20 years is enough. I've seen a lot of stuff lately come out saying that 20 years isn't enough. Granted a lot of that literature was centered around URL and it was propagated during the Retirement debate, but if you think about it, can we afford to lose our best at the 20 year mark?

Most of the career paths have command somewhere between 18-20 years of service. That means that we identify the future leaders of the community and a bunch of them punch out at retirement opportunity. I'm not saying that this is the case for the IDC, but it should be of concern.

I would be interested to see what happens specifically with the IDC and the IW community. I've had a lurking suspicion (but haven't seen numbers to back it up) that given the large number of prior enlisted officers that our community has that we have a tough time retaining a lot of great officers through the O-4/O-5 paygrades. My belief (again, no data to support) is that a lot punch out as O-4, maybe as a junior O-5, just because they've put in 20-25+ and are running out of gas in the tank. Does this mean that the officers we promote don't deserve their promotion? No, but it does mean that we have a lot of otherwise talented leaders that have significant experience that we lose to the civilian sector.

Sorry for kind of rambling, but I guess it really comes down to this, what does the IDC and even the Navy as a whole value? Providing a career for people to do their 20 and live happy lives afterwards? Or developing and producing the leaders that will lead us in the next war?
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Re: Unofficial Retention Survey

Postby COMEVIL » Mon Jun 16, 2014 11:34 am

Schlag wrote:I've had a lurking suspicion (but haven't seen numbers to back it up) that given the large number of prior enlisted officers that our community has that we have a tough time retaining a lot of great officers through the O-4/O-5 paygrades. My belief (again, no data to support) is that a lot punch out as O-4, maybe as a junior O-5, just because they've put in 20-25+ and are running out of gas in the tank.


I have the same suspicion and believe there is data to back this up. A few years back I think this was impacting OCS selections from the prior-enlisted pool as the community sought long-term investments vice "minimum service required" types. I am in the exact position you describe -- prior enlisted, at the 26 year mark -- and can completely relate to the desire to shift careers. In the end, though, I can't say how much of an impact this has to the community writ large.

v/r

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Re: Unofficial Retention Survey

Postby yoshi » Mon Jun 16, 2014 7:53 pm

The difference between community "health" and a healthy community.
Stability is a reason for preferring non-priors. But, such metric-driven logic does not incoporate a qualitative view of capability, experience, and an easy learning curve. All of these provide a prior enlisted officer a comparative advantage over non-priors, certainly for the first dozen commissioned years. As for tough retention of those folks at O4/O5, might it be more a case of the caeer shifting (what will I be doing compared to what I have done?) on the officer than a desire to shift careers?

I think most people serve for others - those for whom they work, as well as those alongside them. Broad strategies from far away and community-sized goals aren't what motivate people personally or professionally. I think it comes down to job satisfaction and the ability to make a difference in others. Sometimes the opportunities derived from a shift in direction can be motivating (example - cyber billets and available training) personally and/or professionally. But, once the waves of change become status quo, its the new normal. I think for most O4s/O5s, motivation to continue service is less about today's trend, and more about a feeling inside. I suspect the top three reasons for continuing service are job satisfaction, making a positive difference for others, and personal reward. A few people balance all three, a few are heavy in one or two areas. O4/O5s (both priors and MSR folks), when looking ahead to senior O5 and O6 billets, might have a hard time seeing job satisfaction or positive difference potential, relative to previous billets. Additionally, after 20+ years of service, increasingly complex family/life dynamics can impact this decision (should family continue to sacrifice, knowing there are fewer options going forward, and with shorter tours?).
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Re: Unofficial Retention Survey

Postby Schlag » Mon Jun 16, 2014 8:18 pm

yoshi wrote:But, such metric-driven logic does not incoporate a qualitative view of capability, experience, and an easy learning curve. All of these provide a prior enlisted officer a comparative advantage over non-priors...


Not trying to slam prior-enlisted officer's or even your perspective, more the paradigm throughout the community (or at least the commissioned program selection process) that may or may not exist.

Why are we trying for an easy learning curve when it comes to the training and educating of our officer corps? The URL certainly doesn't subscribe to it. If they did, SWOs would be better people than they are. Instead a SWO Wardroom can sometimes be akin to a Boondock Saints gun fight. I think there's something to be said for the fact that "the hottest fire forges the strongest steel" and that trying to cherry-pick officer candidates who have "experience" or "exposure" to the community really shouldn't be a priority.

Sure having technical exposure or acumen is a significant plus in our line of work. But it shouldn't be a priority focus in our accession and development paradigm. You could be the most technically savvy operator out there, but if you can't relate to people then you're going to have an incredibly hard time leading people which is what officers need to be able to do at the end of the day.

Ultimately, my point is this - are we doing enough to train and develop those that are under us? If not, what are we doing at our level to change that?
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Re: Unofficial Retention Survey

Postby Sum1 » Mon Jun 16, 2014 9:30 pm

On the other hand, does the hottest fire really forge the strongest steel, or does it drive some good people to take what they can out of the military while they're still young (training, certifications, even grad ed) and then run at the first opportunity? Anyone who's ever been PCS afloat, especially to a small boy, has seen first hand the SWO training paradigm, and in most cases lived it, too (albeit with some top cover as we are usually a little more senior than your average ensign, although often no more experienced in surface operations).

*shrug* I don't have a dog in this fight, as I'm one of those priors who has always planned on doing his 20, which if I promote on time will put me right around my high 3 as an O-4. If I stay in after that it will be a function of the jobs I'm afforded and my family situation.
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Re: Unofficial Retention Survey

Postby Schlag » Mon Jun 16, 2014 9:50 pm

Sum1 wrote:On the other hand, does the hottest fire really forge the strongest steel, or does it drive some good people to take what they can out of the military while they're still young (training, certifications, even grad ed) and then run at the first opportunity? Anyone who's ever been PCS afloat, especially to a small boy, has seen first hand the SWO training paradigm, and in most cases lived it, too...


Very true and fair points, in fact, I was lucky to escape through the IW community.

That said, where do our priorities lie? If it's technical proficiency then I think we're putting our eggs in the wrong basket - that should belong to the LDO/CWO. If it's something else, what is it and what should we be doing to make things the best?
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Re: Unofficial Retention Survey

Postby yoshi » Tue Jun 17, 2014 2:45 am

You have to obtain and maintain a balance. I think there is some goodness to capitalizing on experience. The assumption behind selection for officer programs is that those individuals selected have the right stuff and will be able to apply inherent knowledge quickly and appropriately. It isn't that they would sit back on their haunches. But, there is merit to having MSR folks, as they are the ones who ultimately wind up running things.
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