By Joe Bela Air Force Installation and Mission Support Center Public Affairs
JOINT BASE SAN ANTONIO-LACKLAND, Texas – Air Force Installation and Mission Support Center leaders recently released results of the AFIMSC section of the Air Force Materiel Command Diversity and Inclusion Survey conducted late last year.
Nearly 900 members from across the worldwide AFIMSC enterprise took the survey for a 26% response rate.
Aggregate data from the report confirms a significant organizational commitment to diversity and inclusion with no major areas of concern. However, results indicate a disparity in awareness of D&I initiatives and positive climate perceptions among differing supervisory levels, with those at lower ranks and grades viewing command efforts less favorably.
Consequently, D&I program officials expressed a need for additional emphasis in the following areas:
- Raising awareness of current Air Force and Air Force Materiel Command diversity activities;
- Increasing participation in sensing sessions by emphasizing their value;
- Developing awareness of personal psychological safety when discussing sensitive topics like backgrounds and experiences;
- Communicating leadership actions following identification of concerns;
- Providing more transparency in hiring practices and promotions; and
- Communicating the process the command follows to allay the fear of retaliation and reprisal for those who report discrimination or other illegal personnel practices.
“Achieving diversity and inclusion is about having an open dialogue amongst ourselves – at every level of our organization,” said AFIMSC Commander Maj. Gen. Tom Wilcox. “Let’s talk about those sensitive topics. Some of us may be reluctant or afraid at first, but let’s do it and learn from one another. We need to listen with an open mind as respected and valued members of our enterprise, As I’ve said in the past, ultimately, this is about becoming a better team by building lasting and meaningful trust relationships. Our focus is to make AFIMSC a better place for everyone.”
As a result of the survey, the AFIMSC D&I Council is developing action plans to enhance education and training across the enterprise.
“We’ve identified some areas for improvement, particularly with sensing sessions,” said Robert Jackson, director of personnel, who oversees AFIMSC D&I efforts. “Our emphasis on sensing sessions requires us to address psychological safety when discussing our own backgrounds and experiences in a diverse group setting. Although we encourage free and open communication, we know now we need to shape the sessions and better define them.”
The survey helped determine a baseline for D&I perceptions across AFMC, with future assessments planned to evaluate progress and further diversity, equity and inclusion across the command. More than 14,000 military and civilian Airmen in AFMC responded to the survey, which ran from Nov. 30-Dec. 21, 2020. Participants provided more than 3,500 comments in response to the open-ended section.
According to AFMC officials, information gathered will be used to adjust some of the command’s ongoing activities, including modifying the communication strategy to target those who may not be aware of the efforts and to encourage increased engagement by first-line supervisors.
For up-to-date information on AFMC diversity and inclusion efforts, visit https://www.afmc.af.mil/About-Us/Featured-Topics/Diversity/.