With large numbers of veterans returning from service and looking to start new careers in a challenging economic environment, employers may help veterans transition into civilian careers. Veterans offer a unique set of skills, experiences and leadership abilities developed and honed during their years in the military. Unfortunately, unemployment rates highlight the difficulties returning veterans are facing in their search for new careers. We support the goal of putting veterans on the path to employment so our nation may continue to benefit from all that service members have to offer in their new careers.
There are many programs available to encourage hiring veterans and supplementing your costs during the training phase. These programs are expected to continue because of the large numbers of service men and women that continue to return home from active duty. Today we want to talk about why you might want to consider hiring veterans outside of the direct financial gain through these types of programs. Once engaged in your culture and workplace, veterans can have significant positive impacts on your business.
In general, veterans are known to be:
• Very technical because of accelerated high levels of training/education – these high levels aren’t easily translated into the civilian educational system so it might be easy to underestimate their knowledge and skills.
• Highly disciplined – they are trained to follow regimented schedules and work rules and expect others to do the same.
• Sincerely committed – many veterans look at the workplace with the same level of commitment they made when enlisting in the armed services.
• Able to look at the big picture – when they are serving, they have to be able to rely on themselves to understand the whole situation/piece of equipment and be able to act accordingly.
• Able to work well under pressure and have solid troubleshooting skills – this comes as a result of their training. They are able to take care of many problems themselves because they have no choice in the field.
• Hardworking – they like to dig in and get things done rather than waiting around for others. They may prefer to work alone. They focus on the task at hand and the deadline by which it must be completed. Veterans who are managers are not afraid to step in and help out. They would rather finish early than miss a deadline.
• Quality minded – the military focuses on process improvement all the time. Veterans can be good trainers because they understand the process and strive to make sure others do too. Often times, they understand (or make sure to learn) the manual process of an automated system so they can keep it running if the system that supports it goes down.
• Skilled at driving – in the service, veterans are often called upon to drive heavy equipment and have similar skills to those needed for CDL licenses. For these individuals, less training will be needed to obtain the license necessary to drive heavy equipment and transportation vehicles.
• Attentive to safety – sometimes to the point where they are concerned about doing a task because of fear of injury to themselves or others. They might be the ones to approach management about unsafe conditions that others overlook.
• Highly aware of their surroundings – so they may request to have their workspace changed so they can better evaluate their environment (i.e. they might not like having their back to a doorway). A simple change of work space can improve their comfort level and productivity on the job.
When evaluating a resume from a Veteran, you may want to ask them to explain various acronyms and how they translate into the civilian workplace. You can also cross reference their skills and find matching civilian positions on http://www.Onetonline.org
Employers may be concerned that veterans suffer from Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) as this can be common among veterans. It doesn’t have to be a deterrent to hiring. This is where you might find individuals who prefer to work alone and stay out of office politics/gossip. Many prefer to do a hard day’s work and then go home to their “safety zone”. They have a heightened awareness of what is going on around them. Someone might drop and roll if they hear a firecracker. On their way back up, they are fully assessing their surroundings and identifying the nearest exit. This type of reaction doesn’t have to be a barrier to employment and with the ongoing threat of workplace violence in our society today, perhaps this keen awareness and quick response could be an asset to an organization.
If your organization is interested in finding and hiring qualified veterans, contact your local Workforce Development Center or Job Service office to locate your Veteran’s Services Representative. They will explain programs/funding available for On the Job Training and help you connect to veterans who are actively seeking jobs. There are also programs available for veterans with troubled pasts that are ready to join the workforce.
Tim Flatley, Employer Support of the Guard and Reserve http://www.esgr.mil
Anthony First, Division of Employment & Training/Office of Veterans Services http://www.jobcenterofwi.com
Prudential Insurance – Veterans’ Employment Challenges – Perceptions and experiences of transitioning from military to civilian life http://www.prudential.com/veterans
Syracuse University Institute for Veterans and their Families – The Business Case for Hiring a Veteran Beyond the Clichés https://ivmf.syracuse.edu/article/the-business-case-for-hiring-a-veteran-beyond-the-cliches/
-From SRKA SHRM Chapter