VICENZA, Italy – For the second year in a row, U.S. Army Garrison Italy’s Directorate of Human Resources was recognized with “Excellence in DHR Award-Medium Garrison” by Installation Management Command. The directorate was notified a few months ago of their win.
The IMCOM award recognizes exceptional effort in the human resources field for garrisons supporting the command's service culture initiative and become a more innovative and efficient organization.
“I was amazed that we were selected two years in a row for this prestigious award,” said Monika Bunch, the garrison’s human resources director. “It is a reflection of how adaptive my team has proven themselves to be.”
The areas of evaluation involved major program achievements, including customer service qualities, innovative actions, information sharing and emerging initiatives; demonstration of technical competence in the human resources field followed significant highlights from garrison assessments.
USAG Italy’s DHR team oversees everything from passports to postal services. They process personnel actions a variety of other critical paperwork. They help the command with hiring and personnel management. The team continually seeks improvement through innovation and careful management of their limited resources, Bunch said.
“This was especially evident in our response to COVID-19 when we were one of the first garrisons to be impacted and we developed and implemented key mitigations that allowed us to continue to meet the mission while protecting our staff and our customers,” she said.
As part of their major program achievements, DHR expanded delivery of services during COVID-19 and taught the Small Business Administration on how to create and deliver first ever Boot to Business classes virtually – now a national reoccurring event for overseas personnel. Staff from Military Personnel Services completed more than 2,100 different types of actions or orders for the past year – fielding about 16,000 phone calls and emails from members of the local military community.
During the pandemic, they also created and streamlined the virtual installation in-processing procedure for all incoming Soldiers, DA civilians, and contractors with a total of 1,487 personnel in-processed, 1,177 personnel out-processed, while providing ID card service to 9,629 community members and assisting 5,964 customers with the Soggiorno process.
“I am extremely proud of my team and how they go above and beyond every day to take care of our community,” Bunch said.
Amid the pandemic one DHR program helped prepare sponsors to properly care for newcomers and their families. Giulio Rigodanzo, the Installation Sponsorship liaison, led the Total Army Sponsorship Program, offering him a chance to come up with solutions to mitigate issues related to the PCS experience, he said. Weekly sponsor training certified more than 300 sponsors to help Soldiers, civilian employees and their families during their transition.
“During the pandemic we have rediscovered the importance of having a reactionary sponsor to go the extra mile to assist newcomers beginning their journey,” Rigodanzo said.
Michela Martinello, USAG Italy Central Processing Facility manager, also saw the adaptability of the DHR Team firsthand. The CPF Team were flexible and resilient, to maintain services, she said.
“At the beginning of the pandemic, when newcomers were forced to quarantine, CPF put in place a virtual In-processing method, so that they didn’t waste 14 days and they could attend all mandatory in-processing briefings in the meantime, guaranteeing their readiness as soon as out of quarantine,” she said.
The CPF is a welcome wagon for newcomers, offering information and directions they need as soon as they arrive.
“I always say that we are the garrison’s business card,” Martinello said. “We all strive to do the best we can.”