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CHIPS Articles: NSWC Dahlgren Division Employees to Engage Leadership via Waggl

NSWC Dahlgren Division Employees to Engage Leadership via Waggl
Using workforce feedback to drive organizational change
By NSWCDD Corporate Communications - May 1, 2019
DAHLGREN, Va. – “New Waggl Now Open for Feedback.”

Government employees at Naval Surface Warfare Center Dahlgren Division (NSWCDD) will soon be familiar with Waggl via “pulse” emails they will receive throughout the course of the year starting in May.

Waggl is a software tool that provides an opportunity for NSWCDD employees to anonymously engage with leadership on various topics including culture, plans and policies, strategy, or operations, by providing feedback – including written responses to open-ended questions – on a multitude of topics and issues from their perspectives to drive change at Dahlgren.

“The real strength of this crowdsourcing tool is that it will provide leadership with a ranked order on what the crowd – our workforce – deems the best solution to whatever question we ask them,” said Chris Clifford, NSWCDD business director who is coordinating Waggl’s implementation at Dahlgren. “We will know what they believe is the No. 1 answer, as well as the No. 2 answer, No. 3, and so on. Dahlgren leadership will see and understand the themes, ideas, and answers that our workforce recommends and believes are the most important.”

Waggle is not a survey tool – it’s a communication system that enables enhanced conversations as employees answer, vote, and instantly view the ranked results of their collective answers to NSWCDD leadership questions.

“We’ll use Waggl to pulse the workforce for their input on a variety of topics that affect them, including the strategic plan we’re going to work on for fiscal year 2021,” said Clifford. “Command leadership would like to know what the workforce thinks should be our strategic focus areas.”

“This ability to contribute, vet, absorb, and learn, gives an organization the ability to massively tap into what everyone in the group knows and believes about nearly anything,” according to a Waggle brief.

There is no limit for the crowdsourcing software program’s potential at Dahlgren.

“Waggl lets organizations ask any question they want to any audience they like,” according to the company’s publications. “Respondents answer questions and then vote on each other’s answers, typically in three minutes or less. Pairwise voting vets crowdsourced answers and lifts the best answers to the top to produce ranked, actionable results.”

Answers are scored in real-time providing NSWCDD and employee participants with results that build interest and alignment around action.

“For example, let’s say that the technical director has an upcoming branch meeting or leadership forum and would like to know what topics the workforce wants to hear about – we can put out a pulse,” said Clifford.

A pulse can take the form of three questions. It can be a yes or no question; agree or disagree; or it can be an open ended question.

“The open ended questions are the true value of the tool because it allows the workforce to report what they think are the focus areas,” said Clifford, pointing out that 4,500 licenses were purchased so all NSWCDD government employees can respond. “A few days will be given to submit answers, then pair-wise voting kicks in. You pick the best answer – a or b – and you can go in and vote as many times as you want.”

Moreover, the pulse can be tailored for release to all hands or a specific audience. It can go to a specific department if command wants to know what that department thinks about anything. “So you can slice the organization in any different way – just leadership, just a department or branch, all branch heads, or if you want branches working on a particular program,” explained Clifford.

NSWCDD is joining Naval Information Warfare Center (NIWC) Atlantic and a host of Fortune 500 companies that are using the software to become more agile, responsive, and able to operate smoothly in a dynamic environment.

In his interview with the Dahlgren Innovator, Clifford emphasized that the command is looking to make the outcomes of Waggl’s implementation as stated by the company a reality at Dahlgren, especially in terms of a deeper workforce engagement.

“A positively engaged, productively connected workforce is the 'Holy Grail' of any organization,” according to a Waggl brief on its key highlights and differentiators. “By its very nature, Waggl promotes diversity of thought, and facilitates broad inclusion of ideas. It also builds trust between colleagues and in leadership by enabling real transparency and open collaboration around topics that matter.”

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