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PYEONGTAEK, South Korea — Employees of a U.S. Army unit in southeastern South Korea are taking part in the Army’s first test of a system to measure organizational strengths and weaknesses solely by having personnel provide anonymous feedback via the Internet.

The Area IV Support Activity, headquartered at Camp Henry in Daegu, was chosen as the first unit in the Army to use the system, called OSA for Organizational Self Assessment.

Officials say it could give leaders the truest possible picture of what employees think of their unit because responses are processed by computer and sent directly to the commander, unfiltered by any intermediaries.

“It’s completely and totally anonymous,” said David Lachman, a plans specialist with the Area IV Support Activity’s plans, analysis and integration office.

“It’s not precise. It’s not an exact science. But it … will probably identify the categories where the work force feels we’re strong and where the work force feels we’re most in need of improvement.”

Area IV randomly chose about 190 of its personnel — soldiers, Defense Department civilians, Korean national employees and civilian contractors. The number represents roughly a third of Area IV’s 610 employees in its Daegu enclave and at Camp Carroll in Waegwan.

In Daegu, 123 were selected to take the survey from Monday through Thursday. Another 67 at Camp Carroll were selected to take it Nov. 14 and 15.

Once online, participants answer 49 questions covering six areas, by which the Army evaluates its organizations: leadership; strategic planning; customer and market focus; measurements, analysis and knowledge management; human resource focus; and process management.

Employees are asked, for example, what they find satisfactory or unsatisfactory about services the unit provides or whether they believe the unit delivers effective training and education to employees.

Participants also can offer comments and suggestions.

In the past, unit self-assessments drew largely on internal documents, including statistical and other records, and only partly on employee comments, said Lachman.

“The organizational assessment is now going to be completely and solely based on the feedback from the workforce,” he said. “Now this is the only tool. We’ve thrown out the wrenches and screwdrivers and we’re left with the hammers, so to speak.”

The responses go straight to the National Council for Performance Excellence, said John Di Genio, lead management analyst for the Installation Management Agency Korea Region Office in Seoul. There, he said, computers are to collate the material under various categories and produce a feedback report simultaneously transmitted electronically to the Area IV Support Activity and KORO, its parent organization.

“Within 30 days the command will receive feedback reports based on the results, said Lachman. The feedback reports “will [be used] as an aid to organizational assessment,” he said, “It’ll give them a good overview.”

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