SCOTT AIR FORCE BASE, Ill. -- A central pillar in Military Surface Deployment and Distribution Command's strategic management of human capital is the alignment of human capital strategies with the command's mission, goals and objectives.

The development and implementation of a strategic human capital plan is a key step in SDDC's progress to maintain a highly effective, performance-based organization. The plan, when fully developed and implemented, will serve as the roadmap for continuous improvement and provide a framework for transforming the culture and operations of SDDC as the command moves to meet the challenges of the future operating environment.

Human Resources professionals from SDDC's G1/4 Personnel and Logistics Directorate are forging the necessary strategic partnership by reaching out to senior leaders, managers and employees up, down and across other SDDC organizational functions. According to Virginia King, deputy chief of staff for Personnel and Logistics, for SDDC to remain strategically aligned, key leaders must be involved and actively engaged throughout the human capital planning process.

"Our [Human Resources] experts are currently coordinating with senior leaders, managers and employees to develop a comprehensive, flexible and living Human Capital Plan to help facilitate the achievement of SDDC's mission, goals and organizational objectives, both now and in the future," she said.

Amy O'Connor, Human Resources division chief, and her team, together with other subject matter experts across SDDC, are currently developing a plan of action for implementing ways SDDC can "onboard" new employees in a strategic and comprehensive manner that reflects SDDC's human capital needs.

"SDDC must do more than attract new talent, we must lay the groundwork that will encourage new employees to grow and stay," O'Connor said. "Therefore, one of the first areas we have chosen to focus our efforts in is to invest in an effective onboarding program."

O'Connor explained that onboarding is the process of integrating and acculturating new employees into the organization and providing them with the tools, resources and knowledge to become successful and productive.

"Our HR staff recognized that employee needs for onboarding do not end in the first days or weeks of employment," added O'Connor. "Our hope is to develop a strategic onboarding program that begins when the employee accepts the job offer and continues through their first year of employment. With that goal in mind, we have formed a Strategic Onboarding Program Integrated Project Team to take a look at our current processes and make what we expect to be relatively inexpensive enhancements that will generate a variety of short- and long-term benefits."

King added that the onboarding initiative is just the beginning and will become a part of a much larger retention strategy.

"As the overall human capital plan takes shape, it will lead to a clearer vision of the kind of future workforce needed by framing the desired state of human capital," she said. "From recruitment, retention, talent development and performance management, the plan will touch upon the full spectrum of HR functions, services and capabilities necessary for SDDC to achieve its strategic imperatives."