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Later in 2020, Navy Recruiting District (NRD) San Diego will transform to Navy Talent Acquisition Group (NTAG) Southwest. For the recruiters and staff, the transition means a new structure and a new way of doing business.
Starting October 1, NRD San Diego began operating under the NTAG model in preparation for the upcoming transition.
According to NRD San Diego’s Chief Recruiter, NCCM Jayson Whalen, the purpose of the transformation is to allow recruiters to operate more efficiently and effectively.
“This started as a way for Navy Recruiting Command to ultimately figure out how to operate within the financial and manpower restraints put on us,” said Whalen. “The need to transform was driven by innovation and focused on how we operate as an enterprise.”
Whalen has a unique insight into the NRD to NTAG transformation because he was a part of the early meetings where it was initially discussed.
“We shared thoughts and ideas on how to make the business better,” said Whalen. “We talked about some of the most successful stations and commands that we have been a part of and what made these successful.”
Whalen said that the group found that there was a recurring theme – the best stations and commands capitalized on an individual recruiter’s skills and talents rather than assuming one person should excel at all aspects of recruiting. Under the NTAG model, leadership will identify a Sailor’s specific strengths and use them primarily in that capacity.
“We have Sailors from all walks of life and all different skillsets coming to recruiting duty,” he said. “Some Sailors are unpolished when it comes to speaking to young men and women but are great at structure and maintaining good order and discipline. This is the recruiter that will mentor Future Sailors, take on that role and thrive.”
Whalen said, others are more extroverted and have an outgoing personality. These Sailors are great at presentations and speaking to potential applicants. Then, there are recruiters who are more proficient at administrative tasks and excel at the record management of applicants and Future Sailors.
“This model allows us to capitalize on a Sailor’s strengths and allows us to use their skillset in one of the three pillars in the field – assessors, talent scouts and onboarders,” he said.
Approximately 60 percent of recruiters will be talent scouts, 20 percent will be onboarders, and 20 percent will be assessors.
Talent scouts will use various recruiting methods to identify qualified applicants, create interest in joining the Navy, set appointments with qualified applicants who are interested in joining the Navy and transition qualified and ready applicants to assessing for processing. Talent scouts will use social media, school presentations, career fairs and other methods of prospecting to create Navy awareness.
Talent scouts will hand off applicants to assessors. The primary role of assessors is to process applicants in an efficient and timely manner, ensuring each applicant meets all requirements to process at the Military Entrance Processing Station (MEPS) and enter the Navy. The assessors will also collect and submit all required documents for enlisted kits, schedule candidates for required testing and medical screening, ensure each candidate is properly screened for medical and further processing, submit and track waivers, coordinate and track Central Classification.
Assessors will hand off applicants to onboarders, who will train, mentor, and develop Future Sailors mentally and physically for Recruit Training Command. Onboarders will also maintain frequent contact with Future Sailors and organize Delayed Entry Program (DEP) meetings.
Whalen is optimistic about the changes coming to the command.
“I think that it will be really good,” he said. “The most important thing is for us, as leaders, to take ownership in this process and embrace the change as a positive step forward. Sailors are very resilient, and with our can-do spirit, we can make it work regardless of what the model looks like at the end of the day.”
Established January 1975, NRD San Diego encompasses 210,000 square miles covering Arizona, Nevada, and Southern California. Headquartered at Naval Base Point Loma, NRD San Diego has more than 50 recruiting stations in the tri-state region and employs more than 300 recruiters, support personnel, and civilians.
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