Some of our readers have requested information on Reception and Integration Counseling. Let’s take a few moments to outline the process. I hope this information is useful and provides you with a firm foundation. Remember, as leaders, you set the attitude and tone for all things. Your attitude and your tone determine the motivation level of your Soldiers.
Reception and Integration Counseling is perhaps the most important counseling you will conduct with a Soldier, as it helps develop the Soldier’s initial impression of the unit and its leadership. The purpose of this counseling is to:
- Identify any problems or issues the Soldier or their family members may have and develop a course of action to alleviate these problems.
- Familiarize new members with the organization’s mission and how they contribute to the success of that mission.
- Introduce them to the services and facilities at the new location.
Some of the points covered in this counseling should include:
- Who the assigned sponsor is
- How to contact the sponsor and chain of command
- Chain of command familiarization
- Local national policies and procedures
- Support activities
- Off-limit areas
- Security and Safety issues
- Personal introductions as appropriate
- Command policies and procedures
- Job description
- Duty rosters
- Rating Chain
Once the Soldier has been properly received, follow-up is critical. The chain of command should follow up with the Soldier on a weekly basis to ensure all issues have been resolved. These follow-ups should be more than the Squad leader asking “is everything okay?” Some Soldiers may be apprehensive to share their problems or concerns. Your questions should be thought-provoking and designed to solicit a response. For example:
- Are your lodging arrangements satisfactory?
- Do you have any problems with your lodging accommodations?
- Are the arrangements for your pet adequate?
- Has the boarding location of your pet been adequate?
- How is your family doing?
- Did we resolve the issues with __________ to your satisfaction?
- Are you experiencing any problems with_________?
- Can we be of assistance with ____________?
Do not accept simple Yes or No answers.
Schedule an appointment with the Soldier and the platoon sergeant or 1SG. This appointment will be a detailed review of the reception and integration process. During this interview the Soldier should discuss what went well, what needs improvement, and he should offer any comments or suggestions he may have. It is important to rectify any issues immediately and incorporate changes quickly. If a change is made as a result of the Soldier’s feedback the Soldier should be informed. This lets the Soldier know that the chain of command cares and will implement their recommendations when appropriate. Fill the assessment portion of the Initial and Reception Counseling once the review is completed.
You can find an example of a reception and integration counseling in Counsel Quick Volume 1 along with initial counselings for Specialist and below and an initial NCO counseling. Let us know if you have any other subjects you would like to discuss!