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									                                                     Maximizing New-Hire Orientations   1


Running Head: MAXIMIZING NEW-HIRE ORIENTATIONS




                                Executive Development




                    Maximizing Fire Service New-Hire Orientations:

  Identifying Universal Components to Effectively Communicate Agency Mission, Vision,

                     Guiding Principles, and Policies and Procedures

                                   Ingrid L. Anderson

                     Eastside Fire & Rescue, Issaquah, Washington




                                    September 2005
                                                           Maximizing New-Hire Orientations           2




                                CERTIFICATION STATEMENT



I hereby certify that this paper constitutes my own product, that where the language of others is

set forth, quotation marks so indicate, and that appropriate credit is given where I have used this

language, ideas, expressions, or writings of another.




                                      Signed:_________________________________

                                                        Ingrid L. Anderson
                                                          Maximizing New-Hire Orientations       3


                                             Abstract

To date, Eastside Fire & Rescue (EF&R) has not established a comprehensive, thorough Human

Resource (HR) new-hire orientation process. As a result, new (career) employees have reported

they lack essential department information that would facilitate assimilation into fire department

culture. The purpose of this research was to identify what essential employment practices needed

to be communicated to new employees. A literature review was conducted and four surveys

were created, distributed, and analyzed in an attempt to address this problem. The Descriptive

Method of Research was utilized for this Applied Research Project (ARP). Three questions were

identified toward this end: (a) What is the current practice of providing information to new

employees through EF&R’s HR new-hire orientation? (b) What information about EF&R do new

employees need during their HR new-hire orientation? and (c) What are other comparable fire

service and public agencies using as a tool to communicate sources of information to their

employees? Surveys were distributed to EF&R’s employees and Training Division (TD) staff, 16

comparable fire service agencies, and other partner municipalities’ administrators for their

feedback. This resulted in the identification of communication tools and what relevant

information should be included to inform new hires about the agency’s mission, vision, guiding

principles, and policies and procedures. An employee handbook, which would consolidate

pertinent employment information was determined to be the most effective means of

dissemination.
                                                           Maximizing New-Hire Orientations       4


                                     TABLE OF CONTENTS

Abstract                                                                                      3

Table of Contents                                                                             4

List of Tables                                                                                5

Introduction                                                                                  6

Background and Significance                                                                   7

Literature Review                                                                             9

Procedures                                                                                    16

Results                                                                                       20

Discussion                                                                                    23

Recommendations                                                                               26

References                                                                                    29

Appendix A: EF&R Mission, Vision, and Guiding Principles                                      33

Appendix B: EF&R Code of Conduct                                                              34

Appendix C: Women in the Fire Service Pledge                                                  35

Appendix D: Employee Cover Memo and Survey                                                    36

Appendix E: Reminder Email on Employee Survey                                                 38

Appendix F: Comparable Agency Survey                                                          39

Appendix G: Reminder Email on Comparable Agency Survey                                        42

Appendix H: EF&R Partner City Survey                                                          43

Appendix I: Reminder Email on EF&R Partner City Survey                                        45

Appendix J: EF&R Training Division Survey                                                     46

Appendix K: Reminder Email on Training Division Survey                                        49
                                                           Maximizing New-Hire Orientations    5




                                            LIST OF TABLES

Table 1: EF&R Employee Responses                                                          50

Table 2: Comparable Depts/Dist and Partner City Response                                  51

Table 3: EF&R Training Division Responses                                                 52
                                                           Maximizing New-Hire Orientations       6


                                           Introduction

       To date, a comprehensive Human Resource (HR) new-hire orientation for new (career)

employees of Eastside Fire & Rescue (EF&R) does not exist. However, a well-planned, thorough

new-hire orientation program has been found to be beneficial for both the new employee and the

organization (Morfeld, 2004). In addition to the HR new-hire orientation, the department’s

Training Division (TD) staff performs a two-week orientation for new firefighting employees.

Consequently, the organizational function of human resource management in the fire service is

more important today than ever (Bingham, 1997).

       Eastside Fire & Rescue currently has no identifiable format by which new employees

receive essential information from the HR division about the agency’s history, mission, guiding

principles, and policies and procedures. This results in miscommunication, misinterpretation, and

lack of accurate information to new employees. Although it has been assumed that new hires

bear responsibility in the agency assimilation process, the HR division plays a vital role in

providing a strong foundation and connection between the agency and the new employee. This

may be accomplished through new-hire orientations, which has been demonstrated to improve

productivity, longevity, and positive morale (Taguchi, 2005).

       The purpose of this research project was to identify what is needed to communicate

information regarding employment practices to new employees.

       The Descriptive Method of Research was used to address the following research

questions:

             1. What is the current practice of providing information to new employees through

                EF&R’s HR new-hire orientation?
                                                            Maximizing New-Hire Orientations       7


           2. What information about EF&R do new employees need during their HR new-hire

               orientation?

           3. What are other comparable fire service and public agencies using as a tool to

               communicate sources of information to their employees?

                                   Background and Significance

       On January 1, 1999, a consolidation of several agencies (i.e., King County, Washington

Fire Districts 10 and 38, and the cities of Issaquah and North Bend) was formed. This created a

new consolidated and combination fire and emergency medical services (EMS) agency, EF&R.

In January of 2000, an additional neighboring city, Sammamish, Washington also joined the

consolidation. Altogether, four cities would be served by EF&R as the result of this

consolidation effort including Issaquah, Sammamish, North Bend, and Carnation (the city of

Carnation lies within King County Fire District 10 jurisdiction). The headquarters (HQ) for

EF&R is 16.5 miles directly east of Seattle, located in the City of Issaquah. Consequently, to

service four cities and two fire districts, the department designated an administrative office (HQ),

nine career stations, and six volunteer stations. It is estimated that over 100,000 citizens are

served within a geography of 212 square miles.

       When the concept of consolidation was initiated, it became apparent to the new agency’s

Administration that a dedicated HR division needed to be established to provide effective service

to the public and agency personnel given the size of this new agency. The new agency’s regional

board of directors, the fire district commissioners, and the management team determined the

necessity of specifying an HR manager to serve the employment needs of all EF&R personnel.

       As of May 22, 2005, EF&R employed 141 full-time career employees, 118 of which

were firefighting personnel, and 23 support personnel. Additionally, the department utilized 101
                                                          Maximizing New-Hire Orientations       8


volunteer firefighters. At the time of consolidation, 105 existing full-time employees of the

merging agencies were unified to establish the core base of the new EF&R agency. A total of 37

full-time career employees have been hired and have maintained their employment status with

the agency since the consolidation.


       Historically, the HR new-hire orientation process for EF&R has never been formalized.

This has been an on-going problem primarily because the largest of the agencies—prior to

consolidation—was King County Fire Protection District 10. District 10 had been operating

without a designated HR division even as it employed over 100 individuals.


       Since consolidation and the institution of a dedicated EF&R HR manager, the orientation

process for new employees has been brief (approximately one hour). In addition to completing

all required forms, the orientation process focused primarily on the benefit package. Although

completing required paperwork is an important and necessary process for new employees, it

should not be the only focus (Morfeld, 2004). Communicating the department’s history, mission,

guiding principles, and policies and procedures had not yet been attempted by EF&R’s HR

manager because of workload and time constraints.


       In a Bureau of National Affairs survey and in conjunction with the Society for Human

Resource Management (SHRM), employers reported a national average of one full-time HR

professional for every 100 employees in the workforce (SHRM, 2005). The HR division of

EF&R operates with one full-time HR professional in an agency of 242 employees.


       As set forth in the United States Fire Administration’s (USFA) mission statement, the fire

service has a “commitment to excellence” (USFA, 2005, p. 1) and “responds appropriately in a
                                                          Maximizing New-Hire Orientations          9


timely manner to emerging issues” (Executive Development [ED] Self-Study Guide [SSG],

2004, p. 4). Furthermore, one of the goals of the ED course is to “lead effectively and efficiently

within a dynamic and complex organization by facilitating the development of teams and the

application of research findings” (ED Student Manual, 2004, p. 0-3). These declarations were

meant to enhance services by individual fire departments and fire districts across the country,

and as such are relative to EF&R’s guiding principles. These include “professionalism through

strong personal leadership, competence, and compassion, and striving to maintain the highest

possible level of financial and operational efficiency and effectiveness” (see Appendix A).


       To reach a positive resolution to the problem of interest, this research examined the best

method(s) of communicating essential department information to new employees and identified

what information should be included. Information was gathered from EF&R employees who

were hired and maintained their employment since January 1, 1999. The research also included

feedback from 16 various Washington State public entities (i.e., fire districts and municipalities)

and that of an internal division of EF&R. The resulting data is meant to guide future new-hire

orientation initiatives for EF&R staff. Toward this end, the Descriptive Research Method as

defined in Module 2 of the ED SSG was implemented.


                                        Literature Review


       A literature review was conducted to enhance an understanding of what other researchers

addressed regarding standard practice for new-hire orientations in the private and public sector,

including the fire service industry. Additionally, the literature was examined to identify what

information new employees need during their orientations and what means were used to

communicate sources of information to employees.
                                                          Maximizing New-Hire Orientations         10


       Regardless of the lack of a formal new-hire protocol, it was assumed the agency’s

mission, vision, and guiding principles were not unduly compromised by the lack of a formal

new-hire orientation policy. However, it could be argued that by addressing this deficit, an

upfront understanding of EF&R’s policies and procedures, which ultimately affects the day-to-

day operations of the agency, could be enhanced. Gibson (2002, p.3) explained that employers

have the responsibility to communicate to employees that department policies are “fully

supported from the top down” and will be enforced across the board. A concrete solution in the

form of a new-hire manual would be important because having a comprehensive, well-planned

HR new-hire orientation would optimize new employees’ understanding of departmental

procedures, increase their immediate productivity, and facilitate their compliance with

department policies. Moreover, job satisfaction and employee retention would improve and thus

promote interdepartmental communication (Morfeld, 2004).


       The Department of Human Resources for Fairfax County (Virginia) Government

distributes an employee handbook to all employees. The January, 2005 edition of the agency’s

70-page handbook clearly stated the intent of a handbook is to serve as a source of employment

information, for “informational purposes only,” and that it is not a contract between Fairfax

County and its employees. It was the intent of this handbook to include all pertinent employment

information about the job (e.g., pay, policies, benefits, health and safety, rights and

responsibilities, etc.), and also outlined the County’s vision, values, history, code of ethics, and

standards of conduct.


       Fleischer (2004) stated that while there is no obligation for employers to have an

employee handbook, many employers find them to be a valuable management tool. Additionally,
                                                         Maximizing New-Hire Orientations          11


Fleischer reported an advantage to handbooks is the promotion of “uniformity in the treatment of

employees,” (pg. 30) primarily seen in larger organizations with several layers of management,

which results in higher employee morale. Another advantage to providing employees with a

handbook is that it is a convenient source of information for existing employees, as well as new-

hires. Handbooks often include rules for workplace behavior (e.g., employee conduct, ethics, and

work place privacy issues, etc). Furthermore, handbooks provide evidence that the employer is in

compliance with law (e.g., workers’ compensation, equal opportunity/harassment policies).

Fleischer further advised each employee should sign an acknowledgment form that he or she has

received, has read, and understands the policies outlined in the handbook. This acknowledgment

would help the employer if a claim is made that an employee was unaware of a particular policy

contained in the handbook.


       The disadvantage, according to Fleischer (2004, 30-31) is that the handbook might be

considered a “unilateral contract,” wherein one party—the employer—makes a promise to the

employee (e.g., if you come to work, I will pay you). In other words, the unilateral contract is a

one-sided offer by the employer to abide by the provisions of the handbook, which the employee

accepts simply by working for the employer. To avoid the possibility of this occurring and the

risk of contractual liability, Fleischer advised that employers should note the following in the

handbook: (a) a prominent disclaimer that the handbook is not a contract of employment, (b)

state that the handbook is intended as a convenient source of information about the organization

and its current practice, (c) avoid any statement that might include promises or guarantees in

certain circumstances, and (d) avoid a requirement that employees sign an agreement (this is

unlike the acknowledgement form mentioned above) to comply with or be bound by the

handbook.
                                                        Maximizing New-Hire Orientations         12


       According to directives set forth by the SHRM Employee and Labor Relations Module 5,

(2003), employers may use different methods to communicate policies, procedures, and work

rules, and employee handbooks are usually the most popular format. Furthermore, the intent of

the handbook is to explain major HR and employee policies and procedures in addition to the

organization’s strategic plan and the philosophy. The SHRM guidelines offered an outline for

developing an employee handbook that would include the following: “keep it simple, keep it

current, pay heed to necessary legalities, distinguish between company-wide policies and job

specifics, accommodate multilingual requirements, control the distribution of the handbook, and

pay attention to the look.” (pp 84-86)


       Although SHRM (2003) endorses the implementation of employee handbooks, it advised

that there are other tangible methods to communicate with employees (e.g., employee

newsletters, bulletin boards, the organization’s web site, intranet communications, and annual

reports, etc). Other sources of communication include the “immediate supervisor, small and large

group meetings, unions, and informally, the grapevine.” (p. 88) The SHRM literature also stated

that “organizations are successful when using electronic mechanisms” for employee

communication.


       Nelson (2004) stated “orientations are a good start, but even excellent ones can still leave

new employees on their own once they leave the HR office with only the supervisor to train them

or answer their questions.” (pg. 1) Also, according to Morfeld (2004), a well-planned, thorough

orientation is beneficial for the new employee and the organization by shortening the employee’s

learning curve, facilitating compliance with policies and procedures, improving job satisfaction

and retention, and promoting communication for all employees.
                                                          Maximizing New-Hire Orientations          13


       Jay (2005) stated communication takes effort. Establishing a more productive work

setting allows employees to feel valued because their ideas can be shared openly, thus building

trust. Gamse (2003, p. 3) stressed a good organization has “good stress managers” who

communicate well, listen actively, and encourage two-way communication. In the SHRM

literature, Organizational Change: Good News from the Front Lines (2002), leaving

communication for others to figure out, leads to misinformation. Communication can be “open to

varying interpretations by the employee population,” and credibility is established and

misperceptions are manageable when the “leaders drive the conversations from the outset.” (pg.

1)


       The International Association of Fire Chiefs (IAFC) developed a code of ethics with 18

specific components. Two of these relate directly to this research including “orient[ing] new

employees to the organization’s ethics program during new employee orientations” and

“conduct[ing] training at the local level to inform and educate local personnel about ethical

conduct and policies and procedures” (IAFC, 2004, p. 7).


       Fox (2003, p. 1) stated HR personnel should “envision, deliver, and oversee the

organization’s ethics policy.” Fox further stated that the executive vice president and chief ethics

officer at the New York Stock Exchange presented parameters of communicating ethics to

employees by defining these in the organization’s code of conduct policy. The executive vice

president and chief ethics officer stated that it is the role of the HR officer to communicate an

ethics program through employee orientations and training. He proposed that optimally

employees should view HR as neutral and that these departments deal with ethical issues and

violations sensitively and neutrally.
                                                         Maximizing New-Hire Orientations         14


       At the Women in the Fire Service (WFS) 1989 conference, in Asheville, North Carolina,

a pledge to uphold an identified code of ethics was adopted. The WFS pledge speaks to “respect,

understanding, acceptance, strength in unity, differences, and sharing the common goal of being

the best in the profession for fellow firefighters” (see Appendix C).


       Deputy Chief Morgan (2002, p. 1) of the San Diego Fire Department stated the fire

service can gain “valuable insight to influence organizations by setting the framework to make

decisions, champion values, and spark imagination with a clear sense of purpose and direction.”

Morgan further stated that having a “strong vision and core values” becomes important in

developing leadership behavior.


       Fire service leaders may assume that new employees know the purpose of the fire service

industry. However, new employees are concerned about where the organization is going and how

it intends to get there. Day (2002) stated that it is the organization’s mission to help answer

these questions. The degree to which new employees understand, accept, and embrace the basic

strategy of the organization is dependent upon these factors.


       Further information on effective employee orientations was summarized in the

Manager’s Legal Bulletin (1999), which explained that new employee orientations should

include more than introductions and exposure to policies and procedures. The article further

stated that this is the best time for management to explain the organization’s values and

standards, and to make new employees feel welcomed.


       According to Galbreath (2002, p. 1), organizations “miss a great opportunity to increase

productivity, quality, and worker retention by failing to effectively welcome new employees.”
                                                          Maximizing New-Hire Orientations          15


He stated that numerous managers doubt the orientation value and can become resentful of the

time spent on the orientation process for new employees. It was his opinion that HR should listen

to their concerns and commit to improving the orientation program so that its impact on

employees obtains results.


       The intent of the SHRM organizational doctrine was to provide HR professionals with a

chronicle orientation checklist to utilize for new employees. The Introduction is the first section

to complete, which includes the organization’s function, culture, mission, and literature. After

concluding the introduction, the following is also necessary: (a) new employee paperwork (i.e.,

W-4, I-9, health insurance forms, employee handbook), (b) benefits and compensation (e.g.,

health insurance, employee assistance program, pay procedures, paid and unpaid leave, etc.), (c)

training (e.g., computer system including software and email, telephone, voice mail, etc.), and

(d) other miscellaneous information deemed necessary to communicate.


       According to Grensing-Pophal (2002), first impressions count and are a critical point in

an employment process during the first few days the employee spends at the organization.

Throughout the new-hire process, the information new employees need and want to know is

often different than the organization’s focus. Grensing-Pophal further stated that the new-hire

orientation should be viewed as a three-step process. First, new employees have stated that they

are interested in the things that affect them personally, (e.g., where should I report?). Second,

new employees may be interested in things that affect them as a member of their division or

department, (e.g., how does my work fit in with what the department does and with the

organization’s goals?). Third, new employees may be interested in things that affect them as a

member of the organization as a whole, (e.g., what are the organization’s mission, vision, and
                                                         Maximizing New-Hire Orientations         16


values?). The third consideration appears to have affected them most personally because the new

employee may consider their role within the interests of the organization.


       According to Gamse (2003), employees on all levels need to know and understand where

the organization is, where it wants to be, and learn how to get there. Gamse continued to

emphasize that employees understand their roles in the organization, which would help the

organization reach its goals. However, in order for this to occur, employees need the tools and

resources necessary to succeed. Work environments should be based on communication and

achievement, and managers need to recognize the organization’s attributes and find a functional

solution. The organization’s culture, for example, should be open and participatory. The

organization’s goals should be clear and quantifiable.


       For recruit training, it was noted by WFS (1999) that during a firefighter recruit academy,

the point of contact between new employees and fire department staff was essential, while

communicating its “philosophy, values, and standards to the new employee” (p. 2). Furthermore,

progressive departments may be productive in approaching and teaching new firefighters what

they need to know while in an environment that is supported by learning.


                                           Procedures


       By utilizing the Descriptive Research Method for this ARP, the focus was to determine

and report the status of current and new-hire practices and what changes may improve and

facilitate a more effective transition for new-hires at EF&R. This information was garnered from

employee and employer feedback.
                                                       Maximizing New-Hire Orientations         17


       Formulating the research questions to gain employee feedback (a) What is the current

practice of providing information to new employees through EF&R’s HR new-hire orientation?

and (b) What information about EF&R do new employees need during their HR new-hire

orientation? was based on current practices and what employees reported they needed during

their HR new-hire orientation. Developing the research question to gain employer feedback (c)

What are other comparable fire service and public agencies using as a tool to communicate

sources of information to their employees? was based on the inquiry of what tools should be

utilized to communicate essential information to employees.


       Once the research questions were identified, the survey questions were generated for both

employee and employer opinions and comments. The closed-ended question method (forced

yes/no answers) was used to ensure “uniformity of results and ease of analysis” (ED-R123 SSG,

2004, p. 37) when creating the employee surveys; however, the employer surveys included both

closed and open-ended questions. It was necessary to receive professional opinions and

comments from the employers to answer Research Question 3. The TD survey also included both

closed and open-ended questions.


       On May 23, 2005, a cover memorandum and six-question survey (see Appendix D) were

mailed from the HR office to 37 EF&R full-time employees that were hired between January 1,

1999, and May 23, 2005. The employee group surveyed included 28 firefighters and 9 support

staff. The purpose of this survey was to address Research Questions 1 and 2. An email reminder

was sent on June 13, 2005 (see Appendix E). The six survey questions asked pertained to the

employee’s knowledge about the department’s history, mission, guiding principles, policies and
                                                        Maximizing New-Hire Orientations        18


procedures, benefit information, and information needed that was not included in the HR

orientation.


       On June 28, 2005, a cover memorandum and eight-question survey (see Appendix F) was

emailed from the HR office to 16 comparable Washington State fire agency offices. Nine of

these were municipality fire departments and seven were fire protection districts. These were

commonly referred to at EF&R as the “Sweet 16” and all are located within King, Pierce, and

Snohomish counties. Historically, these agencies were often used for comparison purposes when

EF&R administrators compared wages and benefits for contract and non-contract employees. It

is interesting to note that these comparable agencies are cited in two Collective Bargaining

Agreements (CBA) for EF&R firefighters and battalion chiefs. A reminder email (see Appendix

G) was sent on July 7, 2005. This survey was intended to address Research Question 3. The eight

survey questions asked pertained to the dissemination of information during new-hire

orientations.


       On June 30, 2005, a cover memorandum and the same eight-question survey (see

Appendix H) was emailed from the HR office to the administrators of EF&R’s four partner cities

included in the consolidation (i.e., Issaquah, Sammamish, North Bend, and Carnation). Two

reminder emails to elicit survey responses (see Appendix I) were sent on July 7 and July 14,

2005. Again, this survey was directed toward Research Question 3 and pertained to the

dissemination of information during new-hire orientations.


       Additionally, on July 2, 2005, a cover memorandum and the previously referenced eight

survey questions (see Appendix J) were distributed to all EF&R TD staff within the specified

time period for their feedback. A reminder email (see Appendix K) was sent on July 7, 2005.
                                                        Maximizing New-Hire Orientations          19


Feedback from these surveys would not only address the dissemination of information during

new-hire orientations for Research Question 3, but would also identify the source of any

disseminated information—whether from HR or TD staff.


       The firefighters’ surveys were mailed directly to their residences via the United States

Postal Service, and a self-addressed, stamped envelope was enclosed to be returned to the data

clerk for EF&R. Eastside Fire & Rescue’s 24-hour shift schedule for firefighters was patterned

after the Modified Detroit schedule. As such, each employee should then work 120 shifts per

year. However, 14 Kelly days equating to 2576 annual hours must be deducted from the average

work week during each 27-day work cycle to meet the requirements of the Fair Labor Standards

Act, and scheduled vacation time must also be considered. This results in approximately 96 shifts

worked per year instead of 120, or approximately eight shifts worked per month per employee.

Therefore, mailing the surveys to firefighters’ residences was the most expeditious means of

distributing surveys. Moreover, anonymity and confidentiality of each employee was ensured.


       Because the nine support staff surveyed report directly to HQ, their surveys were placed

in their mailboxes at HQ, and these included a self-addressed, stamped envelope to the data

clerk. Again, this was meant to maintain anonymity and confidentiality.


       As mentioned previously, the municipal fire departments, the fire districts, the partner

cities, and EF&R’s TD surveys were delivered and responded to by email as opposed to other

means of communication (e.g., telephone) because “establishing legitimacy, which is harder over

the phone than by mail, is important when performing surveys” (Wiggins, 1998, p. 4).

Anonymity and confidentially were not considerations for these individuals because their

surveys were not about their own experiences. Rather, the purpose of these surveys was to
                                                          Maximizing New-Hire Orientations          20


discover answers to existing problems related to the HR new-hire process, to improve internal

procedures if needed, and if justified, to find solutions in order to move toward a well-planned,

organized, thorough new-hire orientation originating in the HR division.


       The sample size was limited to those employees hired from January 1, 1999, forward

because the consolidated agency did not exist previously. Furthermore, all new-hires underwent

their orientation delivered by the same HR manager and thus it was assumed that all received

like information.


                                              Results


       Twenty-two of the 37 surveyed EF&R new-hires responded as shown in Table 1.

Approximately half of these 22 employees reported they received information about the

department’s history, mission, guiding principles, and policies and procedures from other sources

outside of the HR division. The employees who reported they obtained the history, mission,

guiding principles, and policies and procedures received this information from the TD staff. Of

these, one employee out of 22 replied that he or she did not receive any benefit information

during the orientation.


       As it is not possible to differentiate responses between the two employee groups because

of anonymity and confidentiality reasons, it was assumed that the majority of the support staff

returned their surveys because they report to HQ as their home office, so it would be convenient

and practical for them to return their surveys directly to the data clerk in a timely manner.


        The remainder of the employee survey answers related to information that was needed

by the employee during the orientation but was not received. Data reflected that an average of 7
                                                         Maximizing New-Hire Orientations          21


people reported they would have liked to have received the history, mission, guiding principles,

and department policies and procedures. Five responded receiving the organization chart would

have been useful. Two responded receiving budget information would have been useful. Six

responded receiving a list of employee names and ranks would have been useful.


       Eastside Fire & Rescue’s comparable municipality fire departments and districts (Sweet

16), and EF&R’s partner city surveys, provided feedback on what they were using as means to

communicate sources of information to their employees (Research Question 3). All four partner

city surveys were returned.


       Of the “Sweet 16” comparable departments, five of nine municipality surveys were

returned and five of seven fire district surveys were returned as shown in Table 2. The five

responding comparable fire departments were City of Redmond, City of Everett, City of

Puyallup, City of Auburn, and City of Bellevue. The five responding fire districts were Federal

Way Fire District 39, Woodinville Fire & Life Safety District 36, Central Pierce Fire & Rescue

District 6, Snohomish County Fire District 1, and Shoreline Fire District 4. These responses

addressed Research Question 3.


       Three municipalities and three fire districts reported distributing department histories,

missions, guiding principles (some were noted as “vision” and “values”) and policies and

procedures during the new-hire process. The remaining agencies disseminate this information to

employees by referring them to department internet sites. These agencies also reported that HR

information dissemination was limited to HR policies (e.g., code of conduct/ethics, wage and

benefit, whistleblower, etc.) and operational policies (e.g., safety-related, emergency-related,

hose handling, etc).
                                                          Maximizing New-Hire Orientations        22


       It appeared by examining the responses noted in Table 2 that several agencies, while

communicating employment information to new employees, relied on their training personnel

and/or supervisors to participate in new-hire orientations. It was also noted that the tools used to

communicate information included (a) electronic sources (i.e., email, internet, intranet,

telephone), (b) employee handbook, (c) orientations from other staff members, (d) training

academy, (e) informational bulletins and newsletters, (f) safety talks, (g) alpha pagers, (h)

workbooks on policies, (i) division meetings, and (j) hose handling.


       The data collected from the training staff surveys, as shown in Table 3, demonstrated

why some new employees were receiving the history, mission, guiding principles, and policies

and procedures for the department. It was apparent that the TD staff was responsible for

providing this information rather than receiving it as the result of contact with HR. Policies and

procedures distributed to new employees by the TD staff included HR policies (e.g., code of

conduct, harassment) and operational policies (e.g., safety-related, emergency-related, and

accountability-related). One training lieutenant reported he specifically distributed benefit

information including the CBA and that of EF&R’s post medical retirement plan. It has been

standard departmental practice that the union president meets with every new contract employee

to review their CBA, and in this case, the training lieutenant was the union president which

accounts for his response. Furthermore, it has not been the duty of the HR manager to explain

post medical retirement benefits to new employees as historically this has been within the

purview of the firefighters’ union. The survey data also reflected the training staffs’ use of

special training orientation handbooks as tools to communicate information to new employees.

Five of the nine responding TD staff reported utilizing handbooks in addition to other forms of

communication such as email, internet training, intranet, textbooks, and manuals. Moreover, the
                                                         Maximizing New-Hire Orientations        23


data clearly reflected two primary means of communicating employment information—the

development of an employee handbook and verbal communication.


                                            Discussion


       After examining the survey responses, and regardless of which identified subgroup any

one respondent represented, it was apparent that the majority of individuals surveyed want and

expect information specific to their agency. This may include such items as the organization’s

history, mission, guiding principles/vision/values, code of ethics, code/standard of conduct,

philosophy, culture, goals, policies and procedures, and benefit information as all of these items

were identified in the survey process. This expectation is promoted and encouraged in the

literature as well (Gibson, 2002; Fleischer, 2004; SHRM, 2003; IAFC, 2004; Fox, 2003;

Morgan, 2002; Day, 2002; Manager’s Legal Bulletin, 1999; WFS, 1999).


       Three miscellaneous categories were cited by employees needing further explanation,

including union requirements, operational information for firefighting personnel, and maps (see

Table 1).

       For example, one respondent reported needing information on “union requirements.” It

was not clear from the survey answer what was meant by the term “union requirements.” It has

been the experience of the HR manager that new employees, specifically support staff

employees, often inquire about union dues; are these optional or mandatory, and if mandatory,

what are the costs? These employees may also have questions regarding union membership in

general. Further confusion may exist as the result of ambiguity about the correct conduit of

information. To date, because of a lack of knowing specifically where to go for information,

employees often find themselves bouncing between union officials and department
                                                        Maximizing New-Hire Orientations       24


administrators. For instance, although union employees’ CBA is thoroughly explained to them

by the union president during their first week of employment, the HR manager also directs them

to the CBA. This may be complicated by the fact that in Washington State employees may be

exempted from paying union dues due to their religious tenets that justify non-association status.

This protection was provided in the state of Washington under the Revised Code of Washington

(RCW), specifically RCW 41.56.122 statutes. Conversely, it has been the HR manager’s

experience that new firefighting personnel generally understand specifics regarding their union

but lack understanding of agency-specific employment practices and procedures.

       The category of “operational information for firefighting personnel” is equally

ambiguous. For example, a mandatory operational program for firefighters is scheduled in the

first three years of employment and results in the completion of the department’s Joint

Apprenticeship Training Committee (JATC) certification. The JATC program involves the

completion of the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) Firefighter 1 requirements in

new-hires’ first years of employment. In their second and third years of employment, they must

complete the NFPA Firefighter 2 program and all driver-operator requirements. All objectives

must be met in order to realize pay increases or to proceed to the next level of the program. The

employee may not advance without passing the hourly and educational requirements and must

successfully pass the written and practical skills examination. The ambiguity arises when

considering what is meant by the term “operational information for firefighting personnel” as it

could be one of any number of things as previously noted. Furthermore, again employees receive

information    from    multiple    sources    which    also    exacerbates    miscommunication.

Misunderstandings and communication failures are detrimental to effective assimilation and

productivity within agency culture (SHRM, 2002).
                                                        Maximizing New-Hire Orientations         25


       The third category noted cited the term “maps.” Because maps are reviewed thoroughly

in the firefighter’s first year of employment and handled through the TD, no discussion about

map use is covered during the new-hire process. However, because this presented as a concern, it

may be assumed that some mention of departmental training objectives may need to be roughly

defined as part of the new-hire orientation process and included in employees’ new-hire packets.


       Although one employee reported he or she did not receive benefit information during his

or her orientation, it has been standard practice for any new or existing employee to be enrolled

in a medical and/or dental plan provided by the department. This belies his or her response

because of the department’s 100% participation; to date all career employees receive a benefit

package from EF&R.


       As noted previously, the TD staff data identified two essential means of communication

between the agency and the new-hire—an employee handbook and verbal communication.

Eastside Fire & Rescue has never synthesized orientation materials into a handbook/manual to be

distributed to new-hires at the time of employment. This research project has demonstrated the

need for such a formalized communication tool. Furthermore, EF&R administrators have

expressed an interest in not only the development of a handbook/manual, but in distribution of

one to all existing employees. Society for Human Resource Management’s Employee and Labor

Relations Module 5 (2003, p. 85) literature stated that a handbook may serve a “vital role by

providing employees the information necessary to be conscientious and productive members of

the organization.” Moreover, Scharinger (2002) maintained that an employee handbook would

serve as a “guideline” to impart agency-specific information and would be an effective tool in
                                                        Maximizing New-Hire Orientations          26


communicating with employees. Handbooks reduce the ambiguity about employment practices

and procedures and promotes consistency across the department and employee subgroups.


       Verbal communication was also noted as essential by the training staff. Eastside Fire &

Rescue has communicated to new and existing employees by utilizing weekly news bulletins,

general notices, and distributing written copies of policies and procedures. However, these are

disseminated electronically. Because employees appear to be satisfied with this method of

communication, and because numerous discussions between supervisors and their subordinates

occur, it was assumed that this was an effective means of imparting on-going inter-departmental

information. Again, according to SHRM (2003), organizations are successful when using

electronic mechanisms for employee communication.


       Overall, the most salient finding of this ARP was the need for a formalized employment

handbook/manual to be distributed to all new-hires at the time of employment. Because this ARP

has generated interest and discussion among existing employees as well as new-hires, a

formalized handbook/manual would benefit all EF&R employees. Furthermore, this finding is

supported by the literature as noted previously in this report (Fairfax County Government, 2005;

Fleischer, 2004; SHRM, 2003; Scharinger, 2002).


                                       Recommendations


        As a result of this ARP, EF&R’s administration should consider developing a

comprehensive, formalized handbook/manual for distribution to new employees. The intent

would be to eliminate misinterpretation of policies and procedures and improve communication

and awareness, all of which were identified as the problem addressed by this research project.
                                                        Maximizing New-Hire Orientations         27


This may be accomplished by inviting the participation of EF&R administrators and the union

representation of its employees. Furthermore, it is apparent that new-hire information should be

generated from one designated source to eliminate the confusion that currently exists within the

department. Because the HR manager is most often the new employee’s first contact with the

agency, ideally he or she should be the one to supply the new-hire with the handbook/manual.

Although it is evident that the TD is often an essential link between the new-hire and the

department and a source of relative departmental information, the focus of that division would be

to reinforce the supplied new-hire by the HR manager.


       By consolidating the essential information into one source, this would not only benefit

the new-hire, it would also benefit the other EF&R employees across the board because

behaviors, procedures, and policies would be defined in a consistent manner. Furthermore, it

would streamline what has become a random and haphazard means of communicating essential

information as practiced currently.


       To create an effective handbook/manual as the primary means to impart essential

information to new-hires, other agency handbooks and written media should be procured and

examined. This may also include questions to other department HR managers to assess the

effectiveness of their use of handbooks/manuals. Furthermore, employees may offer important

feedback about what information they perceive as essential. Because they are in the best position

to know what they want/need, they, too, should be surveyed to aid in the developmental process

of a handbook/manual that would be primarily intended for their use.


       Because the fire district is ever evolving, the usefulness of the handbook/manual should

be assessed periodically to continue to meet the needs of EF&R employees. This may be
                                                         Maximizing New-Hire Orientations       28


accomplished by regular communication between the HR division and fire department personnel.

A standardized method of eliciting employee feedback should be created to facilitate this

process. In this manner, the goal of this ARP was not to merely identify and correct an existing

problem, but to create a venue by which communication is optimized across EF&R employment

groups for now and in the future. It is expected that other questions may present leading to future

research projects that would benefit EF&R employees, administrators, and the community at

large.
                                                        Maximizing New-Hire Orientations    29


                                           References


Bingham, W. (1997). Participation in the pursuit of excellence. Fire Engineering. Retrieved May

       8, 2005, from

       http://fe.pennnet.com/articles/article_display.cfm?Section=ARCHI&C=Feat&ARTICLE

       _ID=58394&KEYWORDS=Participation%20in%20the%20Pursuit%20of%20Excellence

       &p=25


Day, M. (2002). Organizational Clarity. Society for Human Resource Management Information

       Center. Retrieved June 12, 2005, from

       http://www.shrm.org/hrresources/whitepapers_published/CMS_000299.asp


Fleischer, C.H. Employer’s rights. Naperville, IL: Sphinx Publishing, 2004.


Fox, A. (2003). Effective ethics policies require courage, credibility. Society for Human

       Resource Management Home. Retrieved July 19, 2005, from

       http://www.shrm.org/hrnews_published/archives/CMS_004864.asp


Galbreath, R. (2002). Profiting through employee orientation. Society for Human Resource

       Management Information Center. Retrieved May 6, 2005, from

       http://shrm.org/hrresources/whitepapers_published/CMS_000456.asp


Gamse, P. (2003). Stress for success. Management tools, Vol. 48, No 7. Society for Human

       Resource Management. Retrieved August 6, 2005, from

       http://www.shrm.org/hrmagazine/articles/0703/0703gamse.asp
                                                        Maximizing New-Hire Orientations          30


Gibson, C. (2002). Employee relations 101. Society for Human Resource Management

       Information Center. Retrieved June 4, 2005, from

       http://www.shrm.org/hrresources/whitepapers_published/CMS_000387.asp


Grensing-Pophal, L. (2002). What new employees really need to know. Society for Human

       Resource Management Information Center. Retrieved May 6, 2005, from

       http://www.shrm.org/hrresources/whitepapers_published/CMS_000395.asp


International Association of Fire Chiefs. (2004). Fire chief’s code of ethics. Retrieved May 7,

       2005, from http://www.iafc.org/faq/index.asp


Jay, J. (2005). On communicating cell.” Management Tools, Vol. 50, No 1. Society for Human

       Resource Management. Retrieved July 16, 2005, from

       http://www.shrm.org/hrmagazine/articles/0105/0105jay.asp


Manager’s Legal Bulletin, Vol. 13, No. 15, February 1, 1999.


Morfeld, C. (2004). Focus remains on new hires during effective employee orientations. Society

       for Human Resource Management. Retrieved May 6, 2005, from

       http://www.shrm.org/ema/library_published/nonIC/CMS_009584.asp


Morgan, M. (2002). A more effective mix. Fire Chief. Retrieved May 8, 2005, from

       http://firechief.com/mag/firefighting_effective_mix/index.html


National Fire Academy. (2004). Executive development self-study guide. Emmitsburg, MD:

       Author.
                                                       Maximizing New-Hire Orientations        31


National Fire Academy. (2004). Executive development student manual. Emmitsburg, MD:

       Author.


Nelson, N. (2004). The buddy system and new hire orientation. Society for Human Resource

       Management Information Center. Retrieved May 6, 2005, from

       http://www.shrm.org/hrresources/whitepapers_published/CMS_009146.asp


Scharinger, D. (2002). Preparation of the employee handbook. Society for Human Resource

       Management Information Center. Retrieved April 23, 2005, from

       http://www.shrm.org/hrresources/whitepapers_published/CMS_000252.asp


Society for Human Resource Management. (2003). Employee and labor relations, Module 5.


Society for Human Resource Management: Management Practices. (2005). What is the typical

       ratio of HR people to employees in an organization? Retrieved May 14, 2005, from

       http://www.shrm.org/hrresources/faq_published/Management%20Practices.asp


Society for Human Resource Management. (2002). Organizational change: Good news from the

       front lines. Retrieved August 22, 2005, from

       http://www.shrm.org/technet/library_published/nonIC/CMS_006334.asp


Taguchi, S. (2005). New hire orientations: Getting set for success. Society for Human Resource

       Management. Retrieved May 5, 2005, from

       http://shrm.org/ema/library_published/nonIC/CMS_006257.asp


U.S. Fire Administration. (2005). About the U.S. fire administration. Retrieved May 7, 2005,

       from http://www.usfa.fema.gov/about/
                                                       Maximizing New-Hire Orientations   32


Wiggins, B. (1998). Designing survey questions. Retrieved July 15, 2005, from

       http://www.irss.unc.edu/irss/bwiggins/shortcourses/designingquestions.pdf


Women in the Fire Service, Inc. (1999). Recruit training. Retrieved July 15, 2005, from

       http://www.wfsi.org/resources/archive/article_archive.php?article=21
                                                         Maximizing New-Hire Orientations          33


                                           Appendix A


                        EF&R’s Mission, Vision, and Guiding Principles




                                            MISSION

To deliver fire prevention, protection, education, investigation and emergency medical/rescue
services; and to assist our customers in protecting their environment and maintaining their
quality of life.
                                              VISION

To be recognized as the model organization providing regional services in response to the needs
of the customers.
                                  GUIDING PRINCIPLES



•   Always look out for the long term interests and needs of our customers.
•   Remain aware of the needs of each partner agency.
•   Maintain open and honest communications with each other and the customers we serve.
•   Conduct ourselves to ensure that Eastside Fire & Rescue is worthy of the trust of our
    customers.
•   Demonstrate professionalism through strong personal leadership, competence and
    compassion.
•   Strive to maintain the highest possible level of financial and operational efficiency and
    effectiveness.
•   Maintain an organization that treats others fairly and with dignity and respect, recognizing
    our employees are our most valuable asset.
•   Continue to apply innovative technology to all aspects of the organization.
•   Recognize the importance of balancing individual, family and organizational needs.
                                     Maximizing New-Hire Orientations   34


                        Appendix B

                   EF&R’s Code of Conduct




                CODE OF CONDUCT

                    Lead by example

               Be proficient in your craft

Promote a positive environment; Deal with issues directly

           Empower others to solve problems

     Know, promote, and support department goals,
                 ideals, and policies

         Treat others as equals and with respect

                     Expect the best

                 Share your knowledge
                                                          Maximizing New-Hire Orientations         35


                                            Appendix C


                                 Women in the Fire Service Pledge




WFS Pledge

I pledge to respect my fellow firefighters, female and male, regardless of their ethnicity, sexual
orientation, religion or creed. I recognize that I have a responsibility to my fellow firefighters as
comrades and as human beings. I promise from this day forth to try to understand them and accept
them, regardless of the differences that exist between us. I promise never to defame or make a
derogatory remark about another member of the fire service, or to be party to such practices, and I
will stop them from occurring whenever possible. We recognize that there is strength in our unity and
that while our differences make us unique, we do share the common goal of being the best we can in
our chosen career.
                                                                     Maximizing New-Hire Orientations                36



                                                   Appendix D


                                           EF&R Employee Survey


TO:               All EF&R Employees Hired After January 1, 1999

FROM:             Ingrid Anderson, HR Manager

RE:               EFOP Applied Research Project Survey Questions

DATE:             May 23, 2005



Last fall, I was very fortunate to be accepted into the National Fire Academy’s Executive Fire Officer Program
(EFOP) through the United States Fire Administration.

I have completed the first of four courses, Executive Development, and am now writing a post-course Applied
Research Project (ARP). The objective of the paper is to develop applied research findings that will be advantageous
to our organization.

I have chosen to write my ARP on the Human Resources component of the employee new-hire orientation process.
Although your participation is voluntary, your feedback combined with my own original work will allow me to
discover existing problems, improve procedures, and find solutions to better our agency.

It should take one or two minutes to complete the attached survey.

Your input is appreciated. Please complete it by June 3, 2005, seal it, and return it to Debbie Gober-Beneze, Data
Clerk, in the self-addressed, stamped envelope provided. This will ensure anonymity and confidentiality.

Thank you very much for your time and effort put towards my research paper.

Attachment
                                                             Maximizing New-Hire Orientations               37


                                               Appendix D

                                      Employee Survey Questions

                            Please answer YES or NO to the following questions:

1. During your HR new-hire orientation, did you receive the history of Eastside Fire & Rescue?

    Yes___ No___

2. During your HR new-hire orientation, did you receive Eastside Fire & Rescue’s mission statement?

    Yes___ No___

3. During your HR new-hire orientation, did you receive Eastside Fire & Rescue’s guiding principles?

    Yes___ No___


4. During your HR new-hire orientation, did you receive Eastside Fire & Rescue’s policies and procedures?

    Yes___ No___

5. During your HR new-hire orientation, did you receive Eastside Fire & Rescue’s benefit information?

    Yes___ No___

6. In your opinion, was the department information you needed included in the HR new-hire orientation
process?

    Yes___ No___

    If No, please check what was needed:

    ___ History of EF&R
    ___ Mission statement
    ___ Guiding principles
    ___ Policies and procedures
    ___ Benefit information
    ___ Organization chart
    ___ Budget information
    ___ Personnel names/rank
    ___ Other

Thank you for completing this survey. The results will reflect in my research paper, and you may also phone me
after August 11, 2005, to inquire.
                                                                    Maximizing New-Hire Orientations            38



                                                  Appendix E


                                   Reminder Email on Employee Survey

From: Ingrid Anderson
Sent: Monday, June 13, 2005 1:50 PM
To: Steve Johnson; Mike Enselman; Scott DePuy; Tom Craig; Jamee Mahoney; Ryan Thaut; Ryan O'Cain; Mark
Vetter; Walden Corpuz; Ryan Hendricks; Thomas Tull; Andrew Vieth; Jordan Simmonds; Danny Evanger; Rudy
Case; Mark Eastwood; Steve Oltman; Joseph Lindsay; Nick Parker; Cody Ramstad; Kyle Houston; Bryan Hill;
Jonathan Wiseman; Kyle Wood; Mark Harper; Peter Wilson; Mike O'Brien; Ryan Anderson; Dave Gray; Mark
Lawrence; Merrilee Carty; Mary Hillier; Gina Pearson; Rona Harris; Debbie Gober-Beneze; Harold Morrill; Doug
McConkey
Cc: Debbie Gober-Beneze
Subject: Friendly reminder....
Importance: High

Hi everyone - on May 23 I sent you survey questions to complete to help me with my EFOP project.

To date, Debbie has received 11 and we are now past the deadline.

For those of you who have not yet returned it, I am sincerely hoping you can complete the attached survey and
submit it to Debbie Gober-Beneze within a few days.

Thank you so much for your help with my research.

Sincerely,

Ingrid Anderson, PHR
Human Resources Manager
Eastside Fire & Rescue
425-313-3302
                                                              Maximizing New-Hire Orientations              39



                                              Appendix F


                                    Comparables Agency Survey


TO:          Auburn Fire Department
             Bellevue Fire Department
             Everett Fire Department
             Kent Fire Department
             Kirkland Fire Department
             Puyallup Fire Department
             Lakewood Fire Department
             Redmond Fire Department
             Renton Fire Department
             King County Fire District 4
             King County Fire District 11
             King County Fire District 36
             King County Fire District 39
             King County Fire District 43
             Pierce County Fire District 6
             Snohomish County Fire District 1

FROM:        Ingrid Anderson, PHR
             HR Manager for Eastside Fire & Rescue

RE:          New-Hire Orientation Process Questions

DATE:        June 27, 2005


Last fall, I was very fortunate to be accepted into the National Fire Academy’s Executive Fire Officer Program
(EFOP) through the United States Fire Administration.

I have completed Executive Development, the first of four courses, and am now writing a post-course Applied
Research Project (ARP). The objective of the paper is to develop applied research findings that will be
advantageous to our organization.

I have chosen to write my ARP on the Human Resources component of the employee new-hire orientation
process. Although your participation is voluntary, your feedback combined with my own original work will
allow me to discover existing problems, improve procedures, and find solutions to better Eastside Fire &
Rescue.

I appreciate the completion of this survey. Please forward back to ianderson@esf-r.org by July 7, 2005. Thank
you.


1. During your HR new-hire orientation, do you distribute the history of your agency?

      Yes___ No___
                                                              Maximizing New-Hire Orientations              40


                                                APPENDIX F

                                        Comparables Agency Survey


2. During your HR new-hire orientation, do you distribute your mission statement?

    Yes___ No___

3. During your HR new-hire orientation, do you distribute your guiding principles?

    Yes___ No___

4. During your HR new-hire orientation, do you distribute policies and procedures?

    Yes___ No___

    If yes, please list the top five:
    a.
    b.
    c.
    d.
    e.

5. During your HR new-hire orientation, do you distribute benefit information?

    Yes___ No___

6. In your opinion, is there department information you do not include in the HR new-hire orientation process?

    Yes___ No___

    If yes, please check what is not distributed:
    ___ History of the agency
    ___ Mission statement
    ___ Guiding principles
    ___ Policies and procedures
    ___ Benefit information
    ___ Organization chart
    ___ Budget information
    ___ Personnel names/rank
    ___ Other (please list below):
              a.
              b.
              c.
              d.
              e.

7. What tool(s) do you use as an agency to communicate sources of information to your new employees?
             a.
             b.
             c.
             d.
             e.
                                                            Maximizing New-Hire Orientations          41


                                             APPENDIX F

                                  Comparables Agency Survey

8. In your opinion, what is needed to communicate information regarding employment practices to new
employees?
                                                               Maximizing New-Hire Orientations           42



                                              APPENDIX G

                          Reminder Email on Comparables Agency Survey

From: Ingrid Anderson
Sent: Thursday, July 7, 2005 4:38 PM
To: 'jherold@ci.auburn.wa.us'; 'ghill@ci.bellevue.wa.us'; 'Murray Gordon'; 'fire@ci.kent.wa.us';
'jblake@ci.kirkland.wa.us'; 'merle@ci.puyallup.wa.us'; 'pwebb@piercefire.org'; 'acarlson@redmond.gov';
'lwheeler@ci.renton.wa.us'; 'rmehlert@shorelinefire.com'; 'office@northhighlinefd.org'; 'Larson, Arlene';
'Conner, Donna'; 'Chief@maplevalleyfire.org'; 'Karen Johnson'; 'Ellen Ransford'
Subject: Agency survey questions
Importance: High

Just a reminder that if you could please try to answer this brief survey, I would sure appreciate it. Thank
you so much.

Ingrid Anderson, PHR
Human Resources Manager
Eastside Fire & Rescue
425-313-3302




From: Ingrid Anderson
Sent: Tuesday, June 28, 2005 9:25 AM
To: 'jherold@ci.auburn.wa.us'; 'ghill@ci.bellevue.wa.us'; 'Murray Gordon'; 'fire@ci.kent.wa.us';
'jblake@ci.kirkland.wa.us'; 'merle@ci.puyallup.wa.us'; 'pwebb@piercefire.org'; 'acarlson@redmond.gov';
'lwheeler@ci.renton.wa.us'; 'rmehlert@shorelinefire.com'; 'office@northhighlinefd.org'; 'Larson, Arlene';
'Conner, Donna'; 'Chief@maplevalleyfire.org'; 'Karen Johnson'; 'Ellen Ransford'
Subject: Agency survey questions
Importance: High

Please see attached. Any help is greatly appreciated.

Sincerely,

Ingrid Anderson, PHR
Human Resources Manager
Eastside Fire & Rescue
425-313-3302
                                                              Maximizing New-Hire Orientations              43



                                            APPENDIX H

                                     EF&R Partner City Survey

TO:          City of Issaquah
             City of Sammamish
             City of North Bend
             City of Carnation

FROM:        Ingrid Anderson, PHR
             HR Manager for Eastside Fire & Rescue

RE:          New-Hire Orientation Process Questions

DATE:        June 30, 2005

Last fall, I was very fortunate to be accepted into the National Fire Academy’s Executive Fire Officer Program
(EFOP) through the United States Fire Administration.

I have completed Executive Development, the first of four courses, and am now writing a post-course Applied
Research Project (ARP). The objective of the paper is to develop applied research findings that will be
advantageous to our organization.

I have chosen to write my ARP on the Human Resources component of the employee new-hire orientation
process. Although your participation is voluntary, your feedback combined with my own original work will
allow me to discover existing problems, improve procedures, and find solutions to better Eastside Fire &
Rescue.

I appreciate the completion of this survey. Please forward back to ianderson@esf-r.org by July 7, 2005. Thank
you.

1. During your HR new-hire orientation, do you distribute the history of your municipality?

      Yes___ No___

2. During your HR new-hire orientation, do you distribute your mission of your municipality?

      Yes___ No___

3. During your HR new-hire orientation, do you distribute your guiding principles?

      Yes___ No___

4. During your HR new-hire orientation, do you distribute policies and procedures?
    Yes___ No___
    If yes, please list the top five:
    a.
    b.
    c.
    d.
    e.

5. During your HR new-hire orientation, do you distribute benefit information?
    Yes___ No___
                                                              Maximizing New-Hire Orientations             44


                                               Appendix H

                                      EF&R Partner City Survey


6. In your opinion, is there City information you do not include in the HR new-hire orientation process?

    Yes___ No___

    If yes, please check what is not distributed:

    ___ History of the City
    ___ Mission statement
    ___ Guiding principles
    ___ Policies and procedures
    ___ Benefit information
    ___ Organization chart
    ___ Budget information
    ___ Personnel
    ___ Other (please list below):
             a.
             b.
             c.
             d.
             e.

7. What tool(s) do you use as a City to communicate sources of information to your new employees?
             a.
             b.
             c.
             d.
             e.

8. In your opinion, what is needed to communicate information regarding employment practices to new
employees?
                                                                  Maximizing New-Hire Orientations             45



                                                    Appendix I

                             Reminder Emails on EF&R Partner City Survey

From: Ingrid Anderson
Sent: Thursday, July 14, 2005 7:46 AM
To: 'mary@ci.carnation.wa.us'
Subject: FW: Agency Survey Questions
Importance: High

Hi Mary - is there any way you could please complete this brief survey today and forward back to me? I would sure
appreciate it.

Thank you so much.

Ingrid Anderson, PHR
Human Resources Manager
Eastside Fire & Rescue
425-313-3302

From: Ingrid Anderson
Sent: Thursday, July 7, 2005 4:41 PM
To: rubenn@ci.issaquah.wa.us; georgem@ci.north-bend.wa.us; mary@ci.carnation.wa.us;
ltawney@ci.sammamish.wa.us
Subject: Agency Survey Questions
Importance: High

George and Mary: If you could please try to answer this brief survey and forward back to me, I would sure
appreciate it. Thank you so much for your time on this.

Ingrid Anderson, PHR
Human Resources Manager
Eastside Fire & Rescue
425-313-3302

From: Ingrid Anderson
Sent: Thursday, June 30, 2005 11:36 AM
To: rubenn@ci.issaquah.wa.us; georgem@ci.north-bend.wa.us; mary@ci.carnation.wa.us;
ltawney@ci.sammamish.wa.us
Subject: Agency Survey Questions
Importance: High

Please see attached. Any help is greatly appreciated.

Sincerely,

Ingrid Anderson, PHR
Human Resources Manager
Eastside Fire & Rescue
ianderson@esf-r.org
425-313-3302
                                                               Maximizing New-Hire Orientations               46



                                               Appendix J

                                           EF&R TD Survey


TO:          Captain Sandford
             Battalion Chief McMahan
             Captain Tryon
             Firefighter Dotson
             Lieutenant Hooper
             EMS Coordinator Schaff
             Deputy Chief Collins
             Deputy Chief Fallstrom
             Deputy Chief Murphy

FROM:        Ingrid Anderson, PHR
             HR Manager for Eastside Fire & Rescue

RE:          New-Hire Orientation Process Questions

DATE:        July 2, 2005

Last fall, I was very fortunate to be accepted into the National Fire Academy’s Executive Fire Officer Program
(EFOP) through the United States Fire Administration.

I have completed Executive Development, the first of four courses, and am now writing a post-course Applied
Research Project (ARP). The objective of the paper is to develop applied research findings that will be
advantageous to our organization.

I have chosen to write my ARP on the Human Resources component of the employee new-hire orientation
process. Although your participation is voluntary, your feedback combined with my own original work will
allow me to discover existing problems, improve procedures, and find solutions to better Eastside Fire &
Rescue.

I have specifically targeted those of you who have, or are currently working in the EF&R Training Division
since the time of consolidation (January 1, 1999).

I appreciate the completion of this survey. Please forward back to ianderson@esf-r.org by July 7, 2005. If you
should be interested in the results of this survey, please contact me after the due date of this ARP, which is
August 11, 2005. Thank you.

1. During a Training division new-hire orientation, did or do you distribute the history of the department?

      Yes___ No___

2. During a Training division new-hire orientation, did or do you distribute the mission of the department?

      Yes___ No___
                                                               Maximizing New-Hire Orientations               47


                                                Appendix J

                                            EF&R TD Survey

3. During a Training division new-hire orientation, did or do you distribute the guiding principles?

    Yes___ No___


4. During a Training division new-hire orientation, did or do you distribute policies and procedures?

    Yes___ No___

    If yes, please list the top five:
    a.
    b.
    c.
    d.
    e.

5. During a Training division new-hire orientation, did or do you distribute benefit information?

    Yes___ No___

    If yes, please list what was distributed:
    a.
    b.
    c.
    d.
    e.

6. In your opinion, is there department information you did or do not include in the Training division new-hire
orientation process?

    Yes___ No___

    If yes, please check what is not distributed:

    ___ History of the department
    ___ Mission statement
    ___ Guiding principles
    ___ Policies and procedures
    ___ Benefit information
    ___ Organization chart
    ___ Budget information
    ___ Personnel names/ranks
    ___ Other (please list below):
             a.
             b.
             c.
             d.
             e.
                                                             Maximizing New-Hire Orientations               48


                                             APPENDIX J

                                          EF&R TD Survey

7. What tool(s) did or do you use as a Training division to communicate sources of information to the new
employee(s)?
             a.
             b.
             c.
             d.
             e.

8. In your opinion, what is needed to communicate information regarding employment practices to new
employees?
                                                            Maximizing New-Hire Orientations         49


                                              Appendix K


                                   Reminder Emails on TD Survey


From: Ingrid Anderson
Sent: Thursday, July 07, 2005 4:40 PM
To: Peter Sandford; Brian McMahan; Greg Tryon; Brian Dotson; Craig Hooper; Elenjo Schaff; Wesley
Collins; Jon Fallstrom; John Murphy
Subject: EFOP survey questions
Importance: High

Please, please.....can you try to answer this brief survey? Thank you so much.

Pete, I know you will get me yours this Saturday. Thanks.

Ingrid Anderson, PHR
Human Resources Manager
Eastside Fire & Rescue
425-313-3302




From: Ingrid Anderson
Sent: Saturday, July 02, 2005 1:05 PM
To: Peter Sandford; Brian McMahan; Greg Tryon; Brian Dotson; Craig Hooper; Elenjo Schaff; Wesley
Collins; Jon Fallstrom; John Murphy
Subject: EFOP survey questions
Importance: High

Please see attached and thank you in advance for completing this brief survey. Your feedback is valuable
for my research.

Sincerely,

Ingrid Anderson, PHR
HR Manager
Eastside Fire & Rescue
                                                               Maximizing New-Hire Orientations   50



Table 1

                                                                    Received?       Received?
          Dissemination of information during orientation:            Yes              No
          History of department received                               10              12
          Mission statement received                                   13               9
          Guiding principles received                                  10              12
          Policies and procedures received                              8              14
          Benefit information received                                 21               1

          Information needed but not disseminated:
                  History                                              7
                  Mission statement                                    6
                  Guiding principles                                   8
                  Policies and procedures                              8
                  Benefit information                                  2
                  Organization chart                                   5
                  Budget information                                   2
                  Personnel names/rank                                 6
                  Other:
                           Union Requirements                          1
                           Operational information regarding           1
                           firefighting personnel
                           Maps                                        1
                                                               Maximizing New-Hire Orientations          51


Table 2

                                                       Distributed?    Distributed?     Distributed?
     Dissemination of information during              Municipal Fire   Fire Districts      EF&R
     orientation:                                     Departments                       partner cities
                                                        Yes / No           Yes / No       Yes / No
     History of department, district, or city          3         2     3          2      2         2
     Mission statement                                 4         1     3          2      3         1
     Guiding principles, vision, or values             5         0     4          1      2         2
     Policies and procedures:                          3         2     3          2      4         0
              Safety                                   2         0     1          0      1         0
              Code of Conduct/Harassment/Ethics        1         0     2          0      1         0
              Whistle Blower                           1         0     0          0      1         0
              Email/Internet usage                     1         0     0          0      2         0
              COBRA                                    0         0     1          0      1         0
              Personnel Guidelines and/or CBA          1         0     2          0      3         0
              Wages and benefits                       1         0     2          0      1         0
              Accident reporting                       1         0     0          0      0         0
              Hose handling and ladders                1         0     1          0      0         0
              Equal Employment Opportunity             0         0     1          0      0         0
              Employee handbook                        0         0     0          0      1         0
     Benefit information                               5         0     5          0      4         0

     Information not included in orientation:
              History                                  1        2      0         2       0        2
              Mission statement                        0        1      0         2       0        1
              Guiding principles, vision, or values    0        1      0         1       0        2
              Policies and procedures                  0        1      0         1       0        0
              Benefit information                      1        0      0         0       0        0
              Organization chart                       0        1      0         2       0        0
              Budget information                       1        3      0         3       0        2
              Personnel names/rank                     0        1      0         1       0        0
     Tools used to communicate information:
              Email/Internet/Intranet/Phone            4        0      4         0       3        0
              Employee handbook                        0        0      0         0       1        0
              Orientations from other staff            1        0      6         0       4        0
              Training Academy                         1        0      2         0       0        0
              Information bulletins/newsletters        3        0      4         0       2        0
              Safety Talks                             1        0      1         0       0        0
              Alpha pagers                             0        0      1         0       0        0
              Work books on policies                   1        0      1         0       0        0
              Division meetings                        1        0      1         0       1        0
              Hose handling                            1        0      0         0       0        0
     What is needed to communicate employment
     information?
              Supervisor input on practices            2        0      3         0       1        0
              Utilization of Training personnel        3        0      3         0       0        0
              Intranet, email                          0        0      1         0       1        0
              Employee handbook                        1        0      1         0       1        0
              CBA                                      0        0      1         0       0        0
              Orientation night                        0        0      1         0       0        0
                                                              Maximizing New-Hire Orientations   52


Table 3

                                                                Distributed?   Distributed?
      TD dissemination of information for orientations:               Yes               No
      History of department                                            3                 5
      Mission statement                                                4                 4
      Guiding principles                                               3                 5
      Policies and procedures:                                         5                 3
               Probationary standards                                  1
               Code of Conduct/Harassment/Ethics                       2
               Accountability/Incident Management System               3
               Chain of command                                        1
               Radio use                                               1
               Emergency related policies                              4
               Safety related policies                                 4
      Benefit information                                              1                7

      Information not included in orientation:
               History                                                1                 1
               Mission Statement                                      1
               Guiding Principles                                     1
               Policies and Procedures
               Benefit Information                                    2                 1
               Organization Chart                                     1
               Budget Information                                     2                 3
               Personnel names/rank                                   1
               Other: Picture IDs                                                       1
      Tools used to communicate information:
               Orientation handbook                                   5
               Policies                                               4
               Email/Internet/Intranet                                5
               Verbal                                                 3
               Utilization of key personnel                           2
               Check off sheets and handouts                          3
               Presentation on practices                              2
               CBA                                                    2
               Union handbook                                         1
               Textbooks and manuals                                  1
      What is needed to communicate employment information?
               Employee handbook                                      5
               Policies                                               2
               Email/Internet/Intranet                                1
               Verbal communication/expectations                      5
               History of department as a resource                    1
               Disability handbook                                    1
               JATC manual                                            1
               CBA                                                    1

								
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