Navy Initiatives Focus on Work-Life Balance for Sailors

Story Number: NNS110617-02Release Date: 6/17/2011 5:19:00 AM
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By Chief Mass Communication Specialist (SW/AW) W. Scott Mishley, Chief of Naval Personnel - Diversity Directorate Public Affairs

NEW YORK (NNS) -- The chief of naval personnel visited New York City June 13 to participate in a panel discussion at the Families and Work Institute's annual Work Life Legacy Award Dinner.

Vice Adm. Mark Ferguson discussed various aspects of life-work initiatives in the Navy and the various roles women have in today's force at the event, which was attended by more 200 corporate and non-profit leaders and human resource professionals.

Ferguson said a key aspect of the Navy's life-work integration efforts involves providing workforce options that assist in the retention of the Navy's top talent.

"Our social contract with our people is more important than the financial one," said Ferguson. "We need to continue to weave both professional development and the importance of family needs in developing the careers and lives of all our Sailors to ensure we're retaining our best and brightest."

Ferguson gave examples of how the ever-growing diversity of people in uniform and their varying family needs are also taken into account when planning life-work initiatives.

"We have 30 women ready to command warships in the coming year," Ferguson said. "Single fathers outnumber single mothers in the Navy. To ensure our Sailors are ready to meet the mission, we must have a robust family support program."

The Navy's commitment to providing Sailors access to a balance of home and work life has led to a number of initiatives, including paternity and adoptive leave, a one year deferment of sea duty for new mothers, the Career Intermission Pilot Program and telework programs.

In addition to receiving Families and Work Institute's Work Life Legacy Award in 2008, the Navy's initiatives have been recognized nationally with the Alfred P. Sloan Award for Business Excellence in Workplace Flexibility, the Optimas Award for General Excellence from Workforce Management Magazine, the Work-Life Innovative Excellence Award from the Alliance for Work-Life Progress and by the Telework Exchange.

Many of these initiatives are of great interest to a specific segment of the workforce that is rapidly growing in both size and influence. Commonly referred to as "Millennials," members of this generation are described as "digital natives" having known and grown up with cell phones, computers, and the internet for much of their lives.

Incorporating more digital and social media can be more than just a matter of keeping up with the latest technology. And that is not lost on the Navy.

Ferguson said the proper use of social networks like Facebook allow for much quicker information sharing than standard methods of the past.

"Social media is important in the future of communications," Ferguson said before explaining how vital it was during recent storms and flooding at military facilities in Tennessee and family evacuations in Japan.

Details on the Navy's life-work integrations programs can be found at

For more news from Chief of Naval Personnel - Diversity Directorate, visit

Vice Adm. Mark Ferguson, Chief of Naval Personnel, addresses more than 200 business leaders and human resource professionals while taking part in a panel discussion at the 2011
110613-N-YZ943-004 NEW YORK (June 13, 2011) Vice Adm. Mark Ferguson, Chief of Naval Personnel, addresses more than 200 business leaders and human resource professionals while taking part in a panel discussion at the 2011 Families and Work Institute's Work-Life Legacy Dinner in New York City. Ferguson discussed the Navy's current and future life-work initiatives at the awards program, which recognized leaders who have made extraordinary contributions to the work life movement. (U.S. Navy photo by Chief Mass Communication Specialist W. Scott Mishley/Released)
June 17, 2011
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