Every company has a mission. Generally that mission involves providing excellent customer service and superior products, but it can also include hiring great people. If you're looking to hire employees dedicated to your company's goals and continued success, consider hiring military veterans.
"In the military, the mission is paramount. Vets have been trained to adapt to complex tasks. Their sense of duty, respect for authority, responsibility and accountability makes them reliable and diligent employees," says General (Ret.) John Campbell, chairman of NS2 Serves, a nonprofit organization offering free IT training and employment assistance to U.S. veterans.
Hiring Military Veterans Can be Good for Business
Hiring military veterans can be a boon for business, because vets possess three vital traits necessary for business success, adds Aimee Rigler, board vice president of Western Veterans Vitorial, which operates a memorial park and provides veterans "end-to-end resources."
"First, veterans are mission focused. They're comfortable putting the greater goal before their ego or personal desire," says Rigler. "Second, they possess leadership skills and are accustomed to owning their responsibilities. Third, those companies that stay focused on the mission and take care of their veteran employees will earn unmatched loyalty."
Former military personnel also understand the importance of protecting sensitive customer information, adds Bill Cahill, president of Beacon Plumbing, which employs several veterans.
Veterans appreciate that people want to help them, but it means so much more that you value their experience and believe that they will bring value to your organization.
—Tim Best, CEO, Bradley-Morris and RecruitMilitary
"Our veteran employees are able to understand the trust our customers place in them with regards to their personal property, family members and financial information," says Cahill. "Many military personnel have security clearance while they're enlisted, which usually means a spotless criminal record."
Attracting Military Veterans to Your Company
Given the many benefits of hiring military veterans, it's a good idea to develop a strategy for recruiting them.
"Many veterans face a major obstacle when transitioning into civilian careers, because they lack an understanding of how their military backgrounds align with well-paying, and fulfilling, civilian job opportunities," says Dupree.
"To attract veterans to your business, create a seamless application process that enables them to understand how their skill sets can fit into what your company is looking for in a new hire," says Anthony Dupree, chief information officer and chief information security officer at CareerBuilder, which provides AI-powered hiring solutions.
Be vocal about your desires in terms of hiring military veterans, suggests John Bartleman, president of digital trading platform TradeStation.
"Make clear the qualities you see in veterans and express how those qualities lend themselves to succeeding in your company," he says.
A solid recruiting strategy when hiring military veterans also includes reaching out to military organizations, adds Campbell.
"Attend military job fairs and partner with military assistance groups," he advises. "Educate HR staff to understand military resumes, job titles and language."
It's also vital that veterans know you're interested in them because it will be good for your business—not because you're trying to be altruistic, believes U.S. Army veteran Tim Best, CEO of Bradley-Morris and RecruitMilitary. (Both are recruiting firms specializing in military veteran talent.)
"Sure, veterans appreciate that people want to help them," says Best, "but it means so much more that you value their experience and believe that they will bring value to your organization."
Tips for Successfully Onboarding Military Veterans
When welcoming military veterans to your workforce, it helps to slightly alter your onboarding routines, believes Campbell.
"Many vets aren't much older than 18 when they join the military and quickly learn to take on great responsibilities, from serving alongside fellow service members in combat to operating and maintaining complex weapons systems and communications networks," says Campbell.
That being said, Campbell feels that it's good practice when hiring military veterans to welcome them with a new hire packet that includes the basics and available resources to help them succeed in a civilian career.
Veteran employees also greatly appreciate mentors to support and guide them during assimilation into the workforce.
"Veterans may find it difficult to ask for assistance as they assimilate," Dupree agrees. "To make this transition as smooth as possible, consider developing culture programs to make veterans feel welcome. By developing an internal network, ideally populated with other veterans, employers can create an inviting environment for veterans to lean on one another, which helps the transition."
"We'll even transport veterans to and from the job site until they can provide their own transportation," he says.
Given the nature of their former work, it's also a good idea to privately ask veteran employees if there's anything you should know about, suggests Cahill.
"Some veterans have Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), because they were in combat, and this is important to know."
How to Retain Military Veterans
Of course, when hiring military veterans, the goal is to develop long-term employees who continue to support your company's mission. Try these tips for retaining military veterans.
1. Be transparent about advancement opportunities.
"Like anyone, veterans want to know what it takes to advance their careers," says Bartleman. "Motivate them by clearly articulating what the benchmarks are."
"Let vets know how they can shape their own futures and growth at your company," Cahill agrees. "Not just financial growth, but also management duties and responsibilities."
2. Provide opportunities for continued learning.
"I find that veterans are interested in evolving their skill sets," says Pedram Amini, CTO of InQuest, a network security company. "Our company offers an annual training budget that can be applied to a variety of programs. Many of our veteran employees choose programs that result in certificates of completion they can add to their resumes. We also hold weekly lunch-and-learns."
3. Build partnerships with military programs.
"Veterans appreciate a company culture that gives back to the veteran's community," says Joe Pusz, president of the PMO Squad.
His company also founded the Veterans Project Management Mentoring Program with partners Vets2PM and Veterans2Work.
"Our experience is that building partnerships with other veterans-based organizations has been very helpful to encouraging retention," he adds.
Read more articles on hiring & HR.
Photo: Getty Images