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Leaders must be able to evaluate and assess the skills of newly assigned personnel and quickly integrate them into the team where they can bring the most value and be successful. The formation stage has two steps: reception and orientation.

As stated earlier, leaders do generally not have the ability to select members for their team based on skill set or personality.

Reception. Ideally, reception starts right after a Soldier is added to the gains roster and assigned to a position. The leader selects a team member as a sponsor and contacts the new Soldier to welcome them to the team. When selecting a sponsor, the leader should choose someone fully committed to the team and who exemplifies the organization’s values. The sponsor should be required to complete either the sponsorship training requirements in the Army Learning Management System (ALMS) or the Electronic Sponsorship Application Training (eSAT). “Ensure like-gender, marital status, grade, and leadership positions are taken into consideration when assigning sponsors to the fullest extent possible.”

With new collaboration tools available on government systems, consider using video chat tools to meet with incoming Soldiers. This will expedite their integration into the team and shorten the orientation process.

Orientation. Orientation begins when the newly assigned Soldier arrives at the new duty station and meets the other team members, learns the layout and schedule of the workplace, and generally understands conditions. If the Soldier has dependents, include them as much as possible when meeting the team. Remember, the Army reenlists Soldiers but retains families.

Leaders should assess the incoming Soldier to determine their skills and best fit within the team. Candid discussions are the most effective way to accomplish this critical step. Soldier expectations and goals must also be a part of this discussion and will help determine specific assignments and roles for the Soldier and the norms for the team.

Though not required, having lunch or dinner, or another social outing such as hail and farewell with the Soldier and their family, helps integrate them into the team faster and on a richer level. Orienting them to the area on and off the installation helps them acclimate more quickly to their new assignment.

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