NAVSEA program lets new hires dive into careers

Tuesday - 4/3/2012, 12:19pm EDT

Emily Grauwiler, manager of the onboarding program, Naval Sea Systems Command

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By Gillian Brockell
Federal News Radio

We have all heard that the first impression is the most important one; and now one component of the Navy, the Naval Sea Systems Command, is getting kudos for staying true to that adage. NAVSEA's year-long onboarding program offers seminars and tours to employees and has earned it a Human Capital Management Defense Award at the organization's recent conference.

Onboarding-program manager Emily Grauwiler told the Federal Drive with Tom Temin and Emily Kopp the program started several years ago when NAVSEA decided to focus on giving new hires, regardless of their job function, a full understanding of what the ship-building and maintenance section does.

"It was more than just, 'Here's your cubicle, here's a computer, here's a phone and some manuals and correspondence you should read,'" she said.

After a two-day introduction to NAVSEA's mission, structure and ethics, first-year employees can attend business-etiquette training, panels with subject-matter experts and even tours of ships and submarines at the Norfolk Naval Station in Norfolk, Va.

"Whether they're a logistician, they're a financial person, if they're an engineer, every little bit counts. So by bringing them down to meet the fleet we hope they have that 'a-ha moment' of what they do matters to the Navy," she said.

All new hires are welcome to attend the modules throughout their first year, but the program is particularly helpful to civilians who may be unfamiliar with military protocol.

"We talk about what it means 'at oh-dark thirty,' or why they wear different uniforms during the summer, or why you can't just go up to an admiral's office—trying to mesh the civilian-military interface within the NAVSEA organization," she said.

The program's success has allowed NAVSEA to hire "non-stop for four years" and retain and promote its employees, Grauwiler said. NAVSEA employs more than 3,500 people in the Washington, D.C., area.

This story is part of Federal News Radio's daily DoD Report. For more defense news, click here.