ALCOAST 098/19 COMDTNOTE 1321 SUBJ: WOMEN’S RETENTION STUDY AND HOLISTIC ANALYSIS

Below you will find an ALCOAST regarding the Women’ Retention Study.

united states coast guard

R 291500 MAR 19
FM COMDT COGARD WASHINGTON DC//DCMS//
TO ALCOAST
UNCLAS//N01321//
ALCOAST 098/19
COMDTNOTE 1321

SUBJ: WOMEN’S RETENTION STUDY AND HOLISTIC ANALYSIS UPDATE TWO
A. COMDT COGARD WASHINGTON DC 180851 DEC 18/ALCOAST 419/18
B. COMDT COGARD WASHINGTON DC 011425 JUN 18/ALCOAST 214/18
C. COMDT COGARD WASHINGTON DC 161410 FEB 18/ALCOAST 068/18
D. Coast Guard Strategic Plan 2018-2022

1. Background. The Office of Diversity and Inclusion (CG-127), in partnership with the RAND Corporation’s Homeland Security Operational Analysis Center (HSOAC), have completed the Women’s Retention Study and Holistic Analysis (WRSHA). As part of the study, RAND convened regional focus groups across the Coast Guard, and thanks to the outstanding support from participants and unit leadership, a total of 1,010 women and 127 men participated in 191 focus groups. The level of participation and response from the field yielded comprehensive feedback that provided vital insight into the study.

2. Final Report. The findings and recommendations have been released and the full study can be found at: https://www.rand.org/pubs/research_reports/RR2770.html. Breaking down barriers to retention and creating an inclusive workplace is an all-hands on deck effort. The report does indicate that sexual assault, sexual harassment, and other cultural concerns continue to exist within our Service. These behaviors are inconsistent with our core values, and have no place in the Coast Guard. I strongly encourage all members to read the report and discuss the findings at your upcoming Leadership and Diversity Advisory Council (LDAC) meetings and in other similar venues.

3. RAND Research Methods. The research team used quantitative statistical analysis, reviewed studies and trends across the civilian sector and the Department of Defense (DoD), and gathered qualitative insight through focus groups with our active-duty workforce. The focus groups provided enhanced understanding of the data and potential barriers to female retention. They also included a sample of active-duty men to understand male perspectives on retention and to assess whether certain factors are unique to women or are broad-based workforce retention barriers.

4. RAND Findings. The research team identified three factors that most prominently influenced female retention:

a. Work Environment: Leadership, Gender Bias and Discrimination, Weight Standards, Sexual Harassment and Assault, and Workload and Resource Issues.
b. Career Concerns: Advancement, Assignments, and Civilian Opportunities.
c. Personal Life Concerns: Spouses, Children, Pregnancy and Breastfeeding, and Other Personal Life Factors.

5. RAND Recommendations. Based on the findings, the study proposed recommendations for initiatives aimed at improving female retention in the Coast Guard and addressing barriers contributing to the retention gender gap. These recommended initiatives are intended to address concerns from all female members, regardless of marital and parental status. In many cases, they will have broad-reaching effects that impact our entire workforce. RAND recommendations fall under three overarching categories: 

a. Update Coast Guard Personnel Management Systems to Better Meet the Needs of the Coast Guard’s Current and Future Workforce.
b. Develop and Implement a Communication Plan to Ensure All Members Are Aware of Relevant Policies and Priorities and Strengthen Leadership Education to Foster Inclusive Work Environments.
c. Promote Accountability and Monitor Effectiveness by Establishing and Tracking Relevant Metrics.

6. PRTF. In January 2019, the Personnel Readiness Task Force (PRTF) began their work at Coast Guard Headquarters. Consistent with the Commandant’s Strategic Intent to “Maximize Readiness Today and Tomorrow,” this study and the PRTF are part of the ongoing effort to recruit, train, support, and retain a Mission Ready Total Workforce that reflects the diversity and best talent of our Nation. Chartered by the Vice Commandant, this nine-member team will remain in place until August 2020 and will serve as workforce advocates for the organization. As announced by the Commandant in his State of the Coast Guard Address, the PRTF and the Coast Guard’s Senior Leadership team will explore forward-leaning policy changes to address the recommendations of the Women’s Retention Study, including using surge staffing to backfill members on parental leave, easing the existing tattoo policy, removing the single parent disqualifiers, and revising outdated weight standards that disproportionally affect women. The PRTF will provide the workforce regular communication on their progress to action this study and their efforts to improve organizational readiness.

7. Other Implementation Actions. In addition to addressing the above recommendations, the PRTF will also address the key study findings of leadership, gender bias and discrimination, and sexual harassment and assault as they develop implementation actions. Additionally, in June 2018, senior leadership launched a collection of initiatives, Early Action Items (EAIs), to address issues of greatest importance to our people. As just a few examples, we have aligned co-location tour completion dates for O4/E6 and below, instituted deferment options of TDY/TAD for one year post-partum, and removed gender specific pronouns and member names from OERs and EERs. The EAIs were our decisive first step in ensuring our service is Ready, Relevant, and Responsive to meet the needs of the nation.

8. POC. Direct questions about the WRSHA to COMDT (CG-127) at: 2018randstudy@uscg.mil.

9. VADM M. McAllister, Deputy Commandant for Mission Support, sends.

10. Internet release is authorized. Additional information on the study can be found at https://www.rand.org/pubs/research_reports/RR2770.html

4 thoughts on “ALCOAST 098/19 COMDTNOTE 1321 SUBJ: WOMEN’S RETENTION STUDY AND HOLISTIC ANALYSIS

  1. So, what happened with the former Workforce Cultural Study? This one will go on the shelf and be forgotten too along with the 1980s Minority Officer Retention Study. and th e1981 Enlisted Attrition Study. This is what the Coast Guard does.

    Make a show and then fold the tent.

  2. Went to a presentation last week by a retired Adm. from the Coast Guard – he was at the Academy when women were first being admitted and felt that their addition to the Coast Guard has been a net positive but also touched on the problem of retention. He is with a large Cruise Line and said they also had retention problems with officers because of the away from home strain. No easy answers with the deployments and moving every few years.

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