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Workplace climate highlighted on new eval forms

Dec. 29, 2013 - 06:00AM   |  
(Air Force)
  • Filed Under
(Air Force)

Beginning Jan. 1, airmen are being evaluated on what the service has long expected of them anyway — contributing to a workplace free from harassment, discrimination and other demeaning behaviors.

Here’s what you need to know:

1. Every airman

Whether you’re an airman basic or a four-star general, you will be responsible for promoting a healthy workplace environment, said Brig. Gen. Gina Grosso, director of force management policy and deputy chief of staff for manpower, personnel and services. Commanders have the greatest responsibility for setting a tone of dignity and respect on the job, she said. The commander must continually measure the climate and adjust as necessary, she said in a Dec. 20 interview with Air Force Times.

2. Why the change

The change is part of the Air Force’s ongoing focus on sexual assault prevention and response.

“I feel confident, in general, the climate we have in our Air Force is very solid,” Maj. Gen. Margaret Woodward, who heads the service’s Sexual Assault Prevention and Response Office at the Pentagon, said in a separate interview. “Unfortunately, we’ve heard that we do have some unit climates out there that are not healthy for our force. For instance, we need to understand the negative impact a subclimate that objectifies women can have on airmen’s respect for each other. We must eliminate those environments if we are going to successfully combat sexual assault.”

3. Accountability

Promoting a healthy work climate means acting as a good wing man, following and enforcing standards and refusing to tolerate sexual assault, harassment and discrimination. But for the first time, airmen will be formally assessed on how they help create positive work environment via their annual performance reviews, which, of course, are considered during the promotions process.

4. New forms

Evaluation and feedback forms now include promoting a healthy organizational climate as a performance factor. The Air Force defines “organizational climate” as the way airmen in a unit perceive and characterize their environment. In other words, you’ll be graded on how well you do at setting the tone around you.

Promoting a healthy organizational climate is listed as a leadership skill under the performance factors section of the new officer performance reports. It is listed as a primary duty on the enlisted performance reports.

“We’d like every airmen to go look at the rewrite of the Air Force Instruction so you know how you’re expected to perform and be rated,” Grosso said. “If you have any questions, talk to your military personnel section.”

5. Another tool

The new performance evaluation form is just one tool the Air Force is using to help ensure a healthy unit environment. A new climate survey will also ask airmen questions about their trust in leadership, job satisfaction, bullying, demeaning behaviors in the workplace, and other topics. Commanders must administer the survey within 120 days of taking command and once a year after that — and brief airmen on the results.

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