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New-Employee Liaison
December 10, 2008

At her desk in building 4839, Lisa Mattox has a smile and a welcoming word for all new employees at Dryden.At her desk in building 4839, Lisa Mattox has a smile and a welcoming word for all new employees at Dryden. Mattox's goal in her new post is to ease the transition into work at the center and daily life on Edwards Air Force Base for incoming new hires. (NASA Photo by Tom Tschida)

When a new employee starts work at Dryden, figuring everything out can be a bit overwhelming. To ease that transition, Lisa Mattox, Dryden's New Employee Liaison, is ready to help.

Mattox's goal is to make new employees feel welcomed, help them transition efficiently and feel they have a friend they can turn to with questions and for advice.

"Most important is that we want people to know they're not alone and they have help to transition as a new employee," she said.

Challenged by the recent addition of so many new employees and concerned with employee retention, the center decided to conduct interviews with a wide sampling of new hires, asking what they thought would help them adjust to their new surroundings. The result: respondents were highly enthusiastic about the suggestion of a new-employee liaison, dedicated to helping the most recent hires make the transition to life at Dryden.

A new employee's first contact with Dryden is through the Human Resources and Development Office. A Human Resources Office representative then identifies the newcomer to Mattox, advising her which Dryden code he or she will work for and who the person's supervisor will be.

Before the new employee actually arrives at Dryden, Mattox talks with them about their interests and needs and puts together a customized package of materials for their use. The idea is for the employee to get a head start in relocating to his or her new environment at work and in a new residence. The welcome package includes a letter and contact information as well as information about housing, area schools for those with school-age children, educational opportunities and general information about the center and Edwards Air Force Base. The package also might include information about leisure opportunities and available transportation.

Mattox contacts the person's supervisor to learn about workstation requirements and asks the employee about available preferences at his or her workspace. A key component of this step is to communicate with Dryden's information technology point of contact to ensure a smooth set-up.

As the liaison, Mattox also helps identify what the employee's needs might be upon arrival, such as a telephone, or the location of essential services at the center (like the credit union) or at Edwards (like base dining facilities). If the employee has physical challenges, those needs also may be added to the "To Do" list prior to the employee's arrival, to reduce hassles and improve the employee's experience.

In addition, Mattox assists with the badging process, escorts the new employee to human resources upon arrival and then takes him or her to meet their new supervisor. Depending on the situation, she might also take the employee to his or her new workstation and make introductions. During the first week, Mattox gives new employees a general facilities tour of Dryden and Edwards Air Force Base.

"We'll let them know what's available on base concerning gas, food and everyday needs," she said.

While civil servants make up the bulk of the program as it is currently structured, a pilot program has begun to assist new contract employees.

"We want to help all new employees transition efficiently into their new jobs and feel as if they have a friend," said Mattox, who is a Tybrin Corp. employee.

For further information about the New Employee Liaison program, contact Mattox at 661-276-7075, or by email at lisa.m.mattox@nasa.gov.

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