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Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Training during Economically Challenging Times is Even More Critical

There is no argument that there is a direct correlation between quality of on-boarding and agent retention. “Effective onboarding is one of the keys to employee retention,” says Dr. Michael Wesson, Department of Management, Mays Business School, at Texas A&M University. Dr. Wesson emphasized that, “The more quickly employees adapt to your culture and become fully productive, the better chance you have that they will become long-term employees.”

During the past few months it has become easy to get sidetracked regarding some of Extension fundamental needs such as providing high quality onboarding for our new employees.

This systematic approach involves various Extension professionals in the on-boarding process. The involvement of District Extension Administrators, First-Step host agents, mentors, coworkers, Specialists and Regional Program Directors certainly has great advantages in terms of mobilizing resources to address on-boarding needs.

As Texas AgriLife Extension faces challenging times it becomes even more critical that I along with RPD's and most importantly you buy into the process. While there a number of the on-boarding components that our Organizational Development Group provides leadership to, it is important that we serve as the catalyst for all on-boarding functions in District 11.  I will be looking forward to working with our new agents and mentors in addressing our onboarding process again. The following premises are being embraced in making the new on-boarding system successful;

* All members of Regional Teams are responsible for new agent on-boarding.

* New agent on-boarding is a timed learning process where one event establishes the knowledge base for future learning activities that provides progressively more complex training.

* All on-boarding experiences have specific teaching points that are designed to increase knowledge, develop skills, encourage adoption of best practices or lead to the refinement of best practices.

* All on-boarding experiences are designed to give agents “early wins”!

County 4-H Participation Plans
As you know , your county 4-H participation plans are due on August 2nd, 2010. We discussed your expectations at our May 4-H scheduling in La Grange. Some of the plans have already started coming in and they are excellent.  I know that many of you have been giving this process much thought. I look forward to reviewing your plans. It will also be expected for you to incorporate these plans in your plan of work for 2011. If you need a reminder please refer back to my previous post at:

New District 11 and 12 Extension Range Specialist
Dr. Megan Dominguez has accepted the position of Assistant Professor and Extension Range Specialist effective September 1, 2010. Dr. Dominguez will be stationed at the Center in Corpus Christi and will cover most of Districts 11 and 12. I know that you will assit me in welcoming her to her new role. We realize that Dr. Dominguez has some huge shoes to fill but I am confident that she will develop into an excellent Extension Specialist.

Monthly Reports
I want to commend most of your for your commitment to reporting and also for your consistency with conducting your office conferences. Just in case you were wondering, I do read the reports and office conference minuets and do appreciate you sending them in on time.

As a reminder : your monthly Texas reports and county commissioners court reports are due on August 6th, please make sure you complete these reports prior to going to any association meetings and or scheduled leave. Thanks DM