Army launches ‘app’ to increase engagement with recruits

By Lt. Col. Kamil SztalkoperJune 6, 2023

(Photo Credit: U.S. Army) VIEW ORIGINAL

WASHINGTON - U.S. Army Recruiting Command and the Army Recruiting and Retention Task Force (ARTF) have partnered to launch a new program, the Prep for Success Digital Engagement Experience. This program aims to enhance the recruit-recruiter experience by helping future soldiers prepare for basic training while streamlining the recruitment process. Applications designed to serve as training aides and information guides are easily downloaded directly onto the cell phones of recruits at no cost. At the same time, Recruiters get a new tool making it easier for them to do their mission.

Late in the Fall of 2022, the ARTF held a design-thinking workshop which included Army recruiters, Army Reserve officers, other members of the Army’s accessions enterprise and even some members of the Air Force. During the workshop the need for an enhanced engagement experience between recruiters and prospective recruits became glaringly obvious.

Several of the Army Reserve officers with civilian careers in recruiting or in technology and design, brought innovative ideas to enhance employee and customer experience. The Prep for Success Digital Engagement Experience creates a connection between the recruit and the Army through an immersive digital environment which offers a range of resources to prepare them for a successful start by first meeting the demands of basic training.

The program has helpful information such as: Practice the ASVAB; Basic Training Life; Military Time; the Army’s Mission; and what things to bring to basic training.

"This digital engagement experience intends to be a valuable tool for anyone entering the U.S. Army and for the hardworking recruiters making that happen," said Maj. Gen. Deborah L. Kotulich, Director of the Army Recruiting and Retention Task Force.

"Basic training is a new and unknown event at the beginning of an Army enlistment, but with the right preparation, future Soldiers succeed and thrive. Our goal with this program is to ensure that every future Soldier has access to tools and resources that take the unknown out of the equation, provide coaching and learning, and set every one up to succeed in basic training and beyond,” said Kotulich.

The launch of the Prep for Success Digital Engagement program comes at a critical time for the U.S. Army, which has faced a challenging recruiting environment. The Army has put pressure on itself at all echelons to find new, out-of-the-box ways to attract and retain high-quality Soldiers. Generation Z is most comfortable with resources available through their personal cell phones and the Army is meeting them where they are with this innovative approach to engagement.

“The app has been really beneficial to me and our recruiting office,” said Sgt. Trawn Smith, a recruiter assigned to Clifton Park, NY.

“It is easily accessible and better than social media. I can take my barcode, print it out, post it around my recruiting table at a high school or event, and allow anyone to quickly start learning about the Army. And the best part is that interested applicants love the app because it is easy to use and they are learning the many things the Army offers, especially how many different jobs exist,” said Trawn.

Being able to select and see what was in the Army’s list of jobs and ease of use led an applicant to begin the application process following his interaction with Sgt. Smith and the program.

“Seeing each and every portion of how the Army recruitment process works, and the many jobs available and how they would fit me as a person,” said Christian, a future Soldier from Clifton Park, NY helped in making his decision to enlist.

The Prep for Success Digital Engagement program represents a significant step forward for the U.S. Army in its mission to recruit and retain the best possible candidates. By enhancing the recruit – recruiter experience and increasing the ability for recruiters to make every contact count, the program has the potential to have a lasting impact on the Army's ability to meet its recruitment goals with high quality candidates ready to be part of a highly skilled, well-trained force.

“This app is a possible game changer for our organization,” said Maj. Gen. Johnny Davis, U.S. Army Recruiting Command Commanding General. “Not only does it help prepare future Soldiers for the Army; it bridges the gap between the public and the Army and gives our recruiters the capability to identify and attract future talent.”

The Prep for Success Digital Engagement Experience program uses the Sandboxx app, which was founded in 2012 and has been known as a mobile platform designed to facilitate communication between military service members and their families and friends. The app aims to simplify the process of sending letters, photos, and support to military personnel during basic training or deployment. Recently, Sandboxx added additional features and services, including the launch of Muster, to connect more of the military community and assist military recruiting commands meet their respective missions.