Maintenance window scheduled to begin at February 14th 2200 est. until 0400 est. February 15th


Forgot Password?

    Or login with Facebook

    Virtual Orientation Keeps Undersea Warfare Center’s Hiring Practices Open for Business



    Story by Nathanael T. Miller 

    Naval Undersea Warfare Center Division Keyport

    The Naval Undersea Warfare Center (NUWC) Division, Keyport’s Onboarding and New Employee Orientation programs have remained open for business during the Coronavirus pandemic by going virtual.

    The Onboarding and New Employee Orientation (NEO) programs bring newly hired personnel onto the NUWC Keyport team by completing all the necessary security and employment paperwork and then educating them on all appropriate programs, policies, and benefits.

    Taking the process into the virtual world during the pandemic required a number of rapid changes involving several parts of Human Resources (HR), as well as the Keyport Security Office.

    Jackie Hoffman, Personnel Security Program Manager, said her office had to invent many new procedures to ensure NUWC Keyport could bring the new team members on board.

    “The biggest challenge has been getting fingerprinting completed, which is part of the security screening requirement,” said Hoffman. “Current world conditions have made it difficult for individuals to find locations available to complete this requirement. The command was able to set up a contract to get electronic prints completed quickly and efficiently. Individuals now have more options for locations and it is at no cost to them. In addition, the biggest reward is getting the results in days instead of weeks. This is a huge win for the command.”

    While the Security office is doing their part, Amber Miravalle, an Onboarding Specialist said the administrative portion of the process is underway with the Staffing & Classification branch onboarding team processing the potential new employee’s file.

    “Essentially, once the applicant accepts a tentative job offer from the HR Advisor, the file then moves to us,” said Miravalle. “We cover the life of the action by setting up the onboarding profile, assisting the selectee during the process, ensuring they get the final job offer from the servicing center, and finally by sending the reporting instructions – which is where the virtual NEO process begins.”

    This was already a heavily electronic process, but it was conducted by the team working together in the office. The pandemic prevents the team from doing something as simple as walking over to another person’s desk to take care of a minor issue, so new procedures had to be developed. The successful effort was the result of an intensive collaboration between Miravalle and her fellow onboarding specialist, Rachelle Mapanao.

    Mapanao said the team worked hard to develop new lines of communications within the team and with the drug testing and physical exam sites. Mapanao said the team’s efforts created a seamless appearance that doesn’t hint at the work being done behind the scenes.

    “I think the biggest success was creating a virtual onboarding process in a short amount of time,” said Mapanao. “This new workflow simultaneously accommodates the current social distancing requirement and meets the expectations of delivering the same amazing service. From how a new hire's citizenship documents are examined and e-Verified to the way we get them set up with an ID card, it was all revamped to ensure there is no work stoppage.”

    Prior to the Coronavirus pandemic, the newly hired employee reported to NUWC Keyport and attended a two-day long NEO. The NEO is as critical as the behind-the-scenes onboarding process. However, during the pandemic, an in-person NEO is not an option.

    Anna Warford, NEO program manager, said her team did not let the pandemic impede their commitment to fulfilling their responsibilities. The NEO team created a virtual NEO to seamlessly pick up the new employees once the Onboarding Team has completed their initial work.

    “We took this on and immediately put a new process in place so that we wouldn't be derailed or delayed,” said Warford. “We put together the new program in just one week.”

    Warford said the NEO team utilized existing technologies to implement the virtual program.

    “We made unclassified NEO briefings available via YouTube,” said Warford. “We sent emails to the new hires with the necessary training attached for them to complete prior to coming on board. These trainings also included new telework training so the new hires could go straight to work and be confident they know the right policies and best practices for working remotely.”

    Warford said the new NEO program did not only rely on pre-made videos or emails, but also on phone conferencing.

    “We made phone conferencing lines available so we could talk to the new hires,” Warford said. “This also allowed process owners and members of the Keyport leadership to call in and talk with the new hires directly as well.”

    Warford said 32 new hires have been successfully brought on board since the virtual programs were implemented in late March. She said the teams are actively looking at ways to continually improve the process since the social distancing guidelines are going to remain in place for some time.

    Robin Simmons, NUWC Keyport’s Staffing & Classification branch head, said the virtual Onboarding and NEO programs will continue to pay dividends even when the pandemic is over and the traditional, face-to-face NEO program resumes.

    “We have many geographically dispersed positions,” said Simmons. “This will help ensure all new employees are hearing the same briefing regardless of where they are in the world.”

    Warford said the challenges presented by the pandemic only revealed the strength and flexibility of the Onboarding and NEO teams to ensure NUWC Keyport remains a viable employer by keeping the hiring process moving forward.

    “Rising to the occasion in this situation showed us that we have the flexibility to provide the same information and service to employees when they are not able to be physically present,” said Warford. “We will continue to make sure Keyport can bring on board the kind of high-quality talent we need even during the pandemic.”



    Date Taken: 05.18.2020
    Date Posted: 05.18.2020 10:54
    Story ID: 370208
    Location: KEYPORT, WA, US 

    Web Views: 83
    Downloads: 0