Story and Photo by Lt. Col. Cindi King
Most employees know that misconduct or poor job performance can result in losing a job. However, many may not be aware that something as simple as not having a job appraisal can be equally devastating in today’s environment.
This fact was one of the key points provided during the Supervisor Refresher Course hosted by the Human Resources Directorate of the South Carolina National Guard. More than 30 Soldiers and Airmen who hold supervisory positions attended the one-day refresher course at McEntire Joint National Guard Base in Eastover, South Carolina, August 25, 2016.
“Ensuring every technician has up-to-date appraisals is one of our biggest concerns right now,” said U.S. Army Sgt. Sharon Hewitt, Human Resources program manager. “We can provide the tools and be there to answer questions, but it is a supervisor responsibility to take care of their employees.”
Hewitt said from looking through their reporting systems, they can identify some employees who have never had an appraisal, and their office finds that very troubling. She added not only does that impact their opportunities for awards and promotions, it can be devastating for their careers if a reduction-in-force were ever directed because there is nothing in the system to indicate job performance.
The attendees also heard presentations from human resources personnel covering updates for workers’ compensation, equal opportunity, pay and leave policies, awards, recruiting and placements, as well as adverse actions and supervisory folders.
U.S. Army Maj. Susan Hughes, 59th Troop Command, provided the Equal Opportunity portion of the class focusing on Department of Defense initiatives to encourage diversity in the workplace.
“Many Soldiers and Airmen who have gone overseas learn that the more you are exposed to other parts of the world, the more accepting you become of different cultures,” said Hughes. She referenced the success of the National Guard’s State Partnership Program in bridging cultural gaps and exchanging ideas and knowledge. “In today’s environment, diversity is a force multiplier,” added Hughes.
The National Guard Bureau mandated Supervisory Refresher Course is offered twice a year by HRO and is the follow-up course for the two-day introductory course for supervisors, which was also held recently. Hewitt stated that combined, the HRO staff had more than 60 participants attend the training.
“A very helpful part of the instruction was being shown all of the points of contact to reach out to for different areas,” said U.S. Army Lt. Col. Jennifer Settlemeyer, 218th Regiment Leadership administrative officer at the McCrady Training Center in Eastover. “So often that is the first thing we’ll do when we have an issue is pick up the phone and call HRO.”
At the conclusion of the course, Hewitt invited the attendees to provide recommendations to improve the course before she distributed certificates of training completion to each participant.
“Overall everyone liked the information provided and the pace the course was taught,” said Hewitt. “But we want to keep improving to ensure we are providing supervisors the right amount of materials and instruction for them to be successful.”
Some of the changes HRO are taking into consideration are insert sheets with written updates for the supervisor handbooks and incorporating more information for technicians who supervise Active-Guard Reserve Soldiers.
“The overall intent of the course is to ensure our technician and AGR supervisors know how to properly support and care for our full-time employees,” said U.S. Army Col. Matt Fryman, HRO Director, S.C. National Guard. “It is absolutely imperative that supervisors understand their roles and responsibilities to ensure we have a ready and resilient workforce.”