1. Educate Your Company
So many organizations want to hire veterans and support our military families but don't know where to start. Like anything else, you don't know what you don't know so businesses interested in hiring veterans must make an investment in education of the executives, front line management and staff.
Most businesses have limited resources and the idea of investing in education outside the "normal" business operations may seem daunting. There are Federal, State and local resources which exist to educate your staff, at no cost, about hiring military personnel for your company. For more information plug into:
· Your state's Department of Labor/ Veteran Employment Programs
· Research and reach out to the ESGR (Employer Support of the Guard and Reserve)
· Tap into local Veteran Service Organizations (VSOs)
· Introduce your business to the American Job Center near you (www.servicelocator.org) and request a meeting with the veteran representative who will work with your company to identify qualified veterans looking for work.
2. Recognize the Value of Military Talent and ROI
Intangibles such as high performance, loyalty, punctuality, respect for systems and processes and continuous improvement are ingrained in the military persona and an absolute value add for business. Coach staff members to realize the positive characteristics hiring veterans will make to the workplace and encourage support. Leadership teams should evaluate the ROI on hiring individuals with a track record of dedication to excellence and continuity, particularly for positions that commonly experience high turnover. The investment extended to hire a veteran will provide a return in multiple ways.
3. Drive Veteran Hiring from the Top Down
Leadership is key in the military and a successful business. Organizations that make the most out of the veteran talent pool do so because the company culture respects and understands the value of what a service member can bring to the workplace. Ensuring that hiring personnel strive to identify this talent, focusing on veterans first, is dictated from above.
4. Become Familiar with Skills Translation
Few skills sets and "jobs" exist in the civilian workforce that do not have a direct military counterpart. The challenge most employers face is understanding the military professions that relate to the organization's needs.
Research military skills translators, and there are many of them available online. Government resources include www.OnetOnline.org from the US Dept. of Labor and Civilian-to-Military Occupation Translator at CareerOneStop’s Business Center.
5. Hire for Aptitude not Experience
Organizations should evaluate candidates on skills vs. number of years of experience. Employers frequently do not realize the experience gained in the military is fast paced and detailed. Individuals with 6 months of exposure in a particular job function in the service may have more "hands on" time with a job task than his or her civilian counterpart with over two years in the role. Avoid hard requirements that mandate tenure and instead, evaluate a service member's qualifications on a skills basis. Teach hiring personnel that the organization will mirror the military and hire for ability and train the rest.