Everyone wants to have a good experience moving to a new place. On Kwajalein, it is amplified because of the remote location. It is ultimately the hiring managers responsibility to ensure the new hire has a pleasant experience transitioning to island. As a former hiring manager, I was excited to welcome new hires to our tropical oasis because I enjoy being a host. This blog is to help sponsors, regardless of their interest in hosting, to provide the best experience possible for new kwaj residents.
If you are a hiring manager, don't feel that you need to be the sponsor for all your new hires. You can appoint someone in your department to assist in the process. On Kwajalein, the most important thing about being a sponsor is that you WANT to be a sponsor. You are the first impression a new hire will experience, so be sure you are giving a positive one. Even if you are not a fan of living on Kwaj, don’t push your negative opinion on to someone else. Set your new employee up for success by getting them excited about the new opportunities awaiting them in their new home.
Each company is a little different as to how they bring people out, however everyone who comes to Kwajalein should feel like they are being welcomed into the family. Your company will probably give you a checklist of the administrative and HR tasks. For those of you who love to host, you don’t need a blog like this. But for those of you who are daunted by the task, this is a good checklist for you to go from.
Tips for sponsors:
Once you know what room or house the new hire is getting, take photos and send it to them so they know what to expect when they arrive. This will also help them with their pack out.
Assuming they have kids, make sure you have helped them get set up with the School and Child & Youth Services. They both have different paperwork and the Child & Youth Services paperwork is extensive. Nanny options are also available.
If they have a pet, make sure they have all the info from the Veterinarian.
You should prepare the house or BQ room prior to their arrival. This means actually making the bed and put the shower curtain up and try to make it look homie. You can pick the keys up the day before assuming the BQ or house is ready.
If you agree to be a sponsor, be prepared to not only spend time speaking to the new hire, but also spending a little money. When I say a little, I mean like $100-$300. This is usually not reimbursable.
Suggestions for a BQ:
Snacks, waters or drinks
Paper and Pen
Trash can or paper bag for trash
Paper plates and utensils
A temporary bike
A short list of phone numbers if they need anything
Any extras that you have like a sponge, air freshener, blankets, laundry detergent, dryer sheets etc.
It could be months before their pack out arrives, so make sure they have a few essentials
Additional suggestions for a house:
If their arrival time and date don't match up with the grocery store, I would purchase a shopping list of what they need for the week (the family would reimburse you)
Because they don't have access to a meal plan, you'll want to make sure they at least have enough food for a couple of meals.
Temporary bikes for the entire family
If they have kids, you may want to find a few toys to borrow from the neighbors.
If you can request a Saturday arrival, that is ideal for an easier transition, especially if you have a family
1pm-ish arrival on United
Meet them at the airport with waters, welcome Marshallese handicraft necklaces or leis are a bonus
Hopefully you have a cart to pick up their luggage, if not, you can utilize the airport vans
Drop stuff off at the room or house
Take them for a bite to eat
Do the work stuff...HR...badging...post office...etc.
Give a tour of the island. Be sure to share with them how we take care of the island and where you can and cannot go (example, don’t go in to the water off Oceanside).
Let them decompress for a few hours
Host a welcome bbq at the beach for them to meet their co-workers and whoever else (same day or within the week)
The goal is to keep them up until around 9pm and to have them eat on Kwajalien time
It's so much more enjoyable when you arrive to a place that has been thoughtfully prepared in advance. Not only will this benefit the new community members, but it is also a positive reflection on your company and department.