Acculturation Initiative Leads to Better Talent Management > Air Force > Article Display
WRIGHT-PATTERSON AIR FORCE BASE, Ohio (AFNS) —
It is often said that you never get a second chance to make a good first impression.
For the Air Force Materiel CommandEnsuring new hires receive a great first impression is key to talent management and driving the continued success of the company’s acculturation initiative.
Launched at the end of 2019, the AFMC Acculturation Effort focuses directly on the experiences of new employees from first contact through the first two years of employment. The intent is to ensure new hires have the tools, knowledge and resources available to support them as they begin contributing to assignments across the spectrum and throughout their two-year probationary period.
“Through this program, we help new employees become familiar with the organization, our people and the AFMC and Air Force culture. This is a holistic approach that includes all aspects of integrating a new employee into the Air Force team,” said Amanda Smith-Nethercott, AFMC Career Development Manager. “We’ve standardized procedures across the command and created a toolkit of resources to help new recruits and their supervisors ensure a great employee experience as they immerse themselves in the AFMC culture. and in their work team. The response has been overwhelmingly positive at all levels. »
A 2018 review of AFMC civilian onboarding found a lack of consistency in processes and training for new recruits across the command. Employees often experienced long wait times to gain access to base and Air Force network systems, training delays and more, limiting their ability to be fully productive members of the team. of the AFMC. Many employees also lacked a full understanding of the command’s missions and the impacts of the AFMC on the success of the entire Air Force enterprise.
By leveraging technology and standardizing new-hire procedures across the command, the acculturation initiative has reduced lead times to the newcomer base and system; increased access to information on assignments, training and benefits; improving the preparation of supervisors and work teams to welcome new employees; and increased satisfaction with the integration process at all levels. Virtual new employee orientation programs have been implemented at every AFMC location, ensuring that new employees receive the information and support they need to work in command, despite many jobs starting in non-standard environments due to the COVID-19[female[feminine pandemic.
“COVID-19 has presented us with challenges, but at the same time, it has forced us to look for new ways to reach our staff. Many of these new technology-based practices will continue for the long term,” Smith-Nethercott said.
While a number of initiatives impacted the success of the acculturation effort, the team attributes much to their novel Newcomer feature on USAF Connect mobile app. As job offers are accepted, new employees are encouraged to download the app to access information ranging from pre-employment documents to benefits information, facility maps, videos order information, etc. The new feature continues to rank as the most used on USAF Connect’s AFMC instance, and the team has received multiple requests from the Air Force as well as external government agencies wanting to duplicate it for their own use.
“The app has probably had the biggest impact on our efforts to reach new hires and ensure they can track and complete the required paperwork prior to orientation day,” said Lindsay McNeely, Development Specialist at the AFMC workforce. “The checklists keep them on track and the ability to contact support directly through the app has really made the new hire process a lot smoother across the board.”
To augment current efforts, the Acculturation Team has published a new employee handbook which provides comprehensive information on command and all aspects of Air Force civilian service, laying the foundation for a successful career. A new assessment is also in the final phase of development and will be sent to employees at the end of their two-year trial period.
“We are currently collecting data from new hires and their supervisors after 30 days to gauge satisfaction with onboarding processes and timelines. We continue to receive high marks in categories ranging from job satisfaction to customer service and more,” said Smith-Nethercott. “The two-year assessment will help us identify areas where we need to focus more as we support our new hires through the acculturation process.”
The AFMC Acculturation Team also created an external working group with representatives from across the mission to help identify gaps in efforts and develop and implement new processes to meet command needs. . Additionally, the team works with the Head of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion developing a training video for new employees on diversity and inclusion and continues to work with the Air Education and Training Command to leverage best practices and improve the new hire experience across the company.
“The bottom line is that talent management is important. An employee’s first experience with an organization sets the stage for future success, and we want to do everything we can to ensure our civilians have the foundation necessary to thrive and be successful at AFMC,” said Bill Snodgrass, AFMC Manpower, Director of People and Services. “This is an ongoing and essential effort for AFMC that we need. We need to prepare our people and our mission for success, and that starts on day one. »