The Marine Corps is offering new surveys asking Marines why they joined the Corps, decided to re-enlist or ultimately decided to leave.
Based on the responses, the Corps can make changes to how it recruits, promotes and retains Marines, officials said.
The surveys include questions for Marines at specific milestones in their careers. For example, Marines at recruit training will be asked, “Do you feel like you were prepared psychologically or mentally for the rigors of boot camp?”
Or, if many respondents indicate on their exit surveys that they did not use the tuition assistance program, the Marine Corps can do more to let Marines know that tuition assistance is available to them, said Yvonne Carlock, a spokeswoman for Manpower & Reserve Affairs.
Although Marines must use their Defense Department identification to take the surveys, no identifying information will be included when responses are sent to the appropriate Corps officials, Carlock said.
Enlisted Marines are encouraged to take the Exit and Milestone Longitudinal Surveys each time they re-enlist and when they separate or retire, said Maj. Kerry Hogan, the Marine Corps’ survey program manager. Officers can take the survey when they receive their career designation and when they are promoted to major and above. The surveys are offered year-round.
“Since we are gathering information from Marines at different points in their career, we are able to see change in attitudes over time, within cohorts, or even compare the responses of Marines who choose to stay to those who choose to leave the Corps,” Hogan told Marine Corps Times. “Is there a difference? We would like to know. The data collected could drive policy and inform decision-makers.”
Hogan’s office will analyze the data from the surveys and send quarterly reports as well as an annual summary to the Manpower Plans and Policy Division; Marine and Family Programs Division; Manpower Management Division; Plans, Policy and Operations; Total Force Structure Division; Training and Education Command; Installations and Logistics; and Marine Corps Recruiting Command, officials said.
About 3,400 Marines have responded to the surveys since they became available on Oct. 1, Hogan said. Next month, the surveys will be offered to Marines attending Officer Candidates School. Then in February, Marines at Parris Island and San Diego will be asked why they joined the Corps.
All of the services were required to conduct exit surveys as part of the Fiscal 2016 National Defense Authorization Act, but the Marine Corps decided to encourage Marines to take several surveys throughout their time in the Corps to find out what is driving them to stay or leave, she said.
While previous retention surveys for enlisted Marines and officers were long and cumbersome, each of the Exit and Milestone Longitudinal Surveys has fewer than 50 questions and takes an average of 10 minutes to complete, Hogan said.
“We wanted to make the survey as short as possible yet still be able to gather usable data,” she said.