New employee sponsors take stress out of first day

Published Aug. 15, 2018

Starting a new job can be exciting and nerve-racking. While first-day jitters may be unavoidable, one might also be confused about what to expect, scared at the idea of starting something new, or overwhelmed at figuring out how to be productive from day one. That is where a sponsor comes in.


The Louisville District sponsorship program was created in spring 2017 to ensure new employees have a smooth transition and integration into their jobs at the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.  


“Effective sponsorship is an important part of an individual’s first impression of his or her organization,” said Kim Haddox, Louisville District Knowledge and Quality Management officer.


Louisville District new civilian employees are assigned sponsors who will reach out to them before their official start dates. The sponsor is there to provide the new employee with realistic expectations, basic guidance and answer any questions to ease the transition into a new job since relocation or changing employers can be overwhelming.


“I had a really good experience as a new employee,” said Mark Palmisano, Engineering Student Trainee. “I only worked directly with my sponsor, Corey Knox, my first two weeks, but after that, I was still able to ask him questions and receive help even when he wasn’t working on the same project.”


Employees that started at USACE within the last few years make the best sponsors. Knox, who joined the Louisville District in 2017, also has a positive sponsorship experience. 


“I didn’t feel like an elephant in the room when I first started at the Corps,” said Knox, Louisville District Environmental Chemist. “It was nice to come in and have my sponsor meet me at the door and take me to my new office. Having gone through this program as a new employee a year ago, I felt confident in taking on the roles of being a sponsor to Mark.”


Each assigned sponsor is trained to ensure he or she is able to perform the tasks related to sponsorship. First day obstacles such as parking, having the correct in-processing documents and knowing where to go are less stressful when someone has already discussed them with you. It also provides a familiar face for that new employee to help make the first weeks at a job more enjoyable.


“I think the sponsor program is important because of the transition process,” said Knox. “USACE has a lot of different processes and there is a better chance of success if you have someone to help guide you in that understanding.”