An official website of the United States government
Here's how you know
A .mil website belongs to an official U.S. Department of Defense organization in the United States.
A lock (lock ) or https:// means you’ve safely connected to the .mil website. Share sensitive information only on official, secure websites.

My Coast Guard
Commentary | July 7, 2021

From the Civil Rights Directorate: Improved Organizational Climate Surveys

By Courtesy of the Civil Rights Directorate 

Office of Civil Rights has just updated the organizational climate survey to provide new commands a better understanding of unit climate. The redesigned Defense Organizational Climate Survey (DEOCS) 5.0 includes new and improved questions that measure verified protective and risk factors to provide commanders the information they need to understand unit-level problems and implement real solutions.

Fostering a work environment with a positive command climate is critical to the Coast Guard’s readiness and mission success. An encouraging work environment not only motivates and inspires the workforce, but also creates an inclusive workplace that supports the values and needs of our Coast Guard team. Using the Defense Organizational Climate Survey (DEOCS), a confidential management tool that measures climate factors related to readiness, can help commands identify issues of equal opportunity and organization effectiveness and in turn, establish an inclusive workplace.  

DEOCS version 5.0 was released in January 2021 and contains approximately 100 questions designed to assess 19 protective and risk factors that can impact an organization’s command climate. The objective is to assist commands with collecting data that reflects workforce perceptions of their organization’s equal opportunity climate. 

A protective factor is an attitude, belief, and behavior associated with positive outcomes for organizations. Examples of these protective factors include cohesion, fairness, morale, and work-life balance. On the opposite end of the spectrum, a risk factor is an attitude, belief, and behavior associated with negative outcomes. Risk factors can include stress, toxic leadership, and workplace hostility. 

Four new risk factors, also known as problematic behaviors, were introduced in DEOCS version 5.0: racially harassing behaviors, sexist behaviors, sexually harassing behaviors, and workplace hostility.  

These new risk factors provide unit commanders an indicator of the behaviors present in the organization. The questions within these factors ask if specific behaviors are experienced at the unit or organization and can provide commanders the information needed to understand unit-level problems and implement solutions. 

DEOCS version 5.0 results are provided in a dashboard new to this version. The simple and interactive dashboard provides commanders with an analysis of the questions and the survey results report which will help them understand organizational successes or areas for improvement. This helps isolate specific behaviors that can then be dealt with in the unit action plan for command climate improvement.  

Coast Guard units, directorates, and offices, are required to administer a DEOCS survey within 180 calendar days of a change-of-command or change in directorate or office chief, and at least annually thereafter or at the request of the commanding officer/officer in charge.   

You can find resources and more information about DEOCS version 5.0, the implementation process, results, and post survey actions here. For detailed information on survey strategies, how the measures are calculated, and to access a host of DEOCS guidance and tools compiled by the Civil Rights Directorate, visit the Coast Guard portal

Civil Rights Service Providers are also available to provide guidance for DEOCS strategies, administering the survey, interpreting results, or providing assistance with focus groups to further identify command climate concerns.  

For more Civil Rights news, features, and content, subscribe to the Civil Rights “On Deck” newsletter. You can view June’s edition and archived copies of the newsletter in the Civil Rights Directorate’s newsroom.