Ordinarily, the results of a retention study would generate a “meh…” from us. This one is a little different. This study wasn’t done by the Navy. This one was done by a go-getter Commander with some fellow sailors on their own time, own dime. I know less about how to craft a valid study than most, but from what I’ve seen and others tell me, it was pretty well crafted.
The Navy, like the other services, is being downsized. Not surprisingly, that has a somewhat adverse effect on morale fleetwide. That makes keeping the best and brightest in the fleet, while encouraging the less than stellar to depart, something of a challenge.
I have not yet read the survey results in their entirety. I have glanced through the document briefly to get an idea of its structure so that I can best parse it and share my points of view. At the risk of tipping my hand, making a fool of myself, or both, I predict that the two most poignant takeaways from this body of work will revolve around the two following principles:
- People want the tools and latitude to do the job they joined to do with minimal interference from pointless distractors and empty policy.
- Trust in senior leadership has eroded to the point at which most officers and enlisted personnel believe said leadership prioritizes the institution above its people, while failing to realize that the institution is the people.Thus, preservation of an aspiring career cannot come at the expense of sound decisions, honest and forthright communication, and genuine care for the people who perceive their loyalty to be unreciprocated.
We haven’t read the results closely either. But we also suspect Skipper’s suspicions are on target.
This isn’t just an issue for the Navy. We strongly suspect many of the same issues are applicable to the other services as well. Heck, the Air Force is having a hard time finding enough people willing to serve as pilots.