Hawaii Talent Onboarding Program (HITOP)

Brain drain is a serious challenge in Hawaii, driving some companies to recruit from the mainland. However, when new hires fail to acculturate to Hawaii, businesses suffer costly churn, stunted strategic momentum, reduced productivity and PR / community relations challenges. Movers and Shakas’ Hawaii Talent Onboarding Program (HITOP) will help newcomers learn about Hawaii, increase work effectiveness and life satisfaction, build a social network and become better community members.

Many businesses have a company orientation, but very few have a community orientation. Our place-based immersion program aims to help local employers retain key talent who have recently relocated – or returned – to Hawai’i by participating in cultural education, community service and networking.

This program is primarily directed to top employers (to sponsor their newly relocated employees). Program price is $5000 per person with special discounts for partners/spouses and multiple participants. Participants MUST BE HAWAII RESIDENTS.

HITOP is impactful for:

  • People your org wants to retain in Hawaii for a long time
  • People who moved in the last 6-24 months (given the pandemic)
  • People who frequently interact with local people in their day-to-day jobs
  • Either returning kama’aina or new transplants (and their partners)
  • People who have already expressed interest in learning more about Hawaii
  • Leaders who help shape company culture

An excerpt from a Jan. 5th, 2022 Civil Beat article highlighting M&S’s focus on brain gain:

Movers and Shakas soon will launch another initiative called the Hawaii Talent Onboarding Program. The goal is to help talented newcomers adapt to Hawaii’s unique culture and avoid leaving after a few years. As Lim describes it, in part this is practical, to avoid the employee churn that’s costly and frustrating for businesses needing to recruit talent from elsewhere. But Lim’s vision runs deeper.

“The overall goal is really brain gain,” she said. “How to tie people into Hawaii for the good of Hawaii.”

The May/June pilot is now closed, but if you believe your team may benefit from a social-cultural-professional acculturation program like this, please contact [email protected] to learn about the Fall 2022 cohort.


  • Wk 1 – Kickoff: Cultural Education 
  • Wk 2 – Pau Hana #1: Talk Story about Local Culture
  • Wk 3 – Community Service #1: Fishpond 
  • Wk 4 – Pau hana #2: Networking Mixer
  • Wk 5 – Community service #2: Lo’i
  • Wk 6 – Pau hana #3: Leadership Workshop
  • Wk 7 – Community service #3: Houselessness Community Efforts
  • Wk 8 – Closing Pau Hana: Celebration with Employers